France judiciary compromised —French activist

HUYE – A French human rights activist has blamed his country’s judges, saying that they failed to overcome political pressure and try Genocide suspects on French territory. Alain Gauthier, the President of Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR) made the comments last week during a public lecture at the National University of Rwanda (NUR). His lecture was about justice after the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.

BY EUGENE KWIBUKA

SOUTHERN PROVINCE

HUYE – A French human rights activist has blamed his country’s judges, saying that they failed to overcome political pressure and try Genocide suspects on French territory.

Alain Gauthier, the President of Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR) made the comments last week during a public lecture at the National University of Rwanda (NUR). His lecture was about justice after the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.

He accused French lawyers of failing to exercise their independence as lawyers.

“In France, theoretically, the justice is independent. This means French justice is theoretically supposed to try all Genocide suspects whose cases were filed in line with the law of universal competence that is already in place in France,” he said

“But this is purely in principle; there is no reason why the French justice is not doing so. Now what is astonishing is the way rendering justice is being delayed. And that is where one can suspect some political pressure where it is possible that justice remains under the influence of a certain number of politicians,” he said.

He said a number of former collaborators of the defeated Rwandan government of Juvenal Habyarimana may be the people behind the lack of justice action against Genocidaires living in France.

He referred to them as “Negationnistes” of the Genocide.

Gauthier said many cases filed in France were not being objectively handled citing the example of those cases his organization has itself brought to France’s attention.

He mentioned the likes of former Gikongoro Prefet Dominique Ntawukuliryayo and Ex-Far officers Laurent Serubuga and Cyprien Kayumba, all of whom live in France. “We are demanding for justice; the French justice should do its work,” Gauthier said.

Bucyibaruta and Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka were last month arrested and released a week after, with a Paris Appeals court citing irregularities in formulation of their arrest warrants.

The time-barred Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) issued to warrants and said it is studying the releases of the two men.

Gauthier said CPCR, which is made up of 150 members most of them in French, was particularly disappointed by the release of Bucyibaruta and Munyeshyaka.

He however said he expects the new French government under Nicholas Sarkozy would rise to the occasion and apprehend Genocide suspects.

“Let’s give them the benefit of doubt,” he said.

But he warned that the more France delayed in recognising its role in the Genocide, the more things will be difficult. “The non-recognition of one’s culpability is very dangerous,” Gauthier said.

 

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