•Temporarily released, put under judicial control
FRANCE - The former First Lady, and one of the most prominent Genocide fugitives living in France, was arrested by French authorities yesterday, but later released and put under judicial control.
Sources in the French capital – Paris, confirmed the development to The New Times, noting that Habyarimana was arrested in the morning by French police and immediately taken for questioning over her alleged involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda.
France-based activists – “Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda” (CPCR), filed a lawsuit against her and CPCR’s Dafrose Mukarumongi noted that it was “certainly an arrest” and that they were waiting to see what comes out of her interrogation.
Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, was the first to express delight yesterday, although he remained cautious.
“We can only say that the long arm of the law is taking its due course and, we are encouraged by that development,” Karugarama said.
“We are trying to put the pieces together – she was summoned by the judicial police to respond to the charges – you know Rwanda has already issued an international arrest warrant against her to the French authorities. We are waiting to see what is going to happen”.
During a press conference yesterday, Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, reminded the media that her arrest was a result of an arrest warrant, and after French judges had visited Rwanda to investigate.
“It is all these (recent developments) that have resulted into her arrest today and, what we can say is that we appreciate the development,” Ngoga noted.
“We don’t question why it was not done earlier. Now that she has been arrested, it is good,” he added, noting that government, as ever, is ready to cooperate with the French justice system.
Habyarimana’s battle for refugee status came to an end last October, when the Conseil d’Etat, the top most court of appeal in France, threw out her quest, a decision that cannot be appealed.
Before going to France in 1998, she had crisscrossed Africa, especially the former Zaire (now DRC) and Gabon, using a Gabonese passport.