France turns down extradition request
A few days after Rwanda and France had a standoff over the role of the latter in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, France has turned down the extradition request of a Genocide suspect accused of Genocide crimes.
A court in Aix-en-Prevence turned down the extradition of Pierre Tegera, who is accused for killing 349 people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Citing a ruling by a higher court, (Cour de Cassation), this February, the court said extradition ruling could not be passed on the basis of laws passed after the alleged offences were committed.
This comes as a twist in France’s position on collaborating with Rwanda to bring to justice some of the suspects who are roaming freely in the French cities. France had at the beginning of the year tried and sentenced two major suspects who included Capt. Pascal Simbikangwa and Another Rwandan genocide suspect, Charles Twagira.
Twagira’s case was the second following a landmark trial of captain Pascal Simbikangwa, an ex intelligence chief who was sentenced by a French court to 25 years in prison over the 1994 Genocide.
Scholars, lawmakers and world leaders at the international conference on Genocide, held in Kigali prior to the 20th genocide commemoration, said that the international community needs to act on the issue of bringing to justice Genocide suspects at large.
The case of Tegera may come as a shock to Rwanda, especially after Rwanda’s Justice Minister, Johnston Busingye called for cooperation in arresting and bringing the suspects to justice; saying that Rwanda will not rest but continue searching for suspect with the support of everyone.
Rwanda Prosecutor General, Richard Muhumuza said the latest decision was disappointing but not surprising since it is one of many extradition requests involving Genocide suspects that the French courts have turned down.
Rwanda called on France to face up to the “difficult truth” of its role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, sparking off a diplomatic spat ahead of commemorations marking the 20th anniversary of the killings.
All eyes were on France this year to see what the French would do in response to the Rwandan plea of acting on the genocide suspects, after confirmed that such cases will be extradited to Rwanda.
Some of the French cases include – Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan intelligence officer, Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who is practicing in the Gisors parish of northern France, plus the awaited ruling on the extradition appeal to Rwanda of two men of Rwandan origin- Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana.
In 2011, The French Supreme court turned down the request to extradite key Genocide suspect Dominique Ntawukuriryayo to the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
While in September 2011, a Paris Appeals court ordered the release of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, a former government official and the rejected the extradition of Agathe Habyarimana, widow of ex-President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose are known of having spearheaded the 1994 Genocide.