France to take on first Rwandan genocide case
For a very long time Rwanda has been waiting to see French judiciary show its active faith in prosecuting genocide fugitives who have been living in France after committing crimes against humanity during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Twenty years down the road, France has finally set February, 4th, 2014 as the first hearing of the trial of genocide suspect Pascal Simbikangwa, who will be the first Rwandan suspect to be tried for genocide crimes by French justice system.
He is accused of supplying arms to the Interahamwe militias and masterminding the massacre of Tutsis in the former Gisenyi prefecture – now Rubavu District, in the western province
At the end of 2013, the French government made it clear that it would look into the trail and extradition of cases of genocide suspects living in France.
The French cases include – Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan intelligence officer, Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who was a priest in the Gisoro parish of Northern Rwanda.
And in the meantime France’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, is expected to decide on an appeal against a decision to extradite two men of Rwandan origin, Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana to Rwanda.
The umbrella associations for Genocide survivors (IBUKA) have welcomed the France- Rwanda efforts to bring to justice the suspects in a long awaited act that has been pushed by the survivors countrywide.
In a related development, Rwanda’s Chief Justice Sam Rugege has asked the UK to either extradite to Rwanda or prosecute the five men arrested in May last year accused of participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The five men who were arrested by the British police’s extradition unit include: Emmanuel Ntezirayo, Charles Munyaneza and Celestine Ugirashebuja- (all former bourgmestres-mayor); plus Celestin Mutabaruka-former head of an agricultural project) and Vincent Bajinya (former medic), who have been living in London, UK.