Rwandan envoy regrets French court's decision to overturn Genocide extraditions

Rwanda regrets a decision by France's Cour de Cassation to reject a previous ruling that had approved the extradition of two Genocide suspects to Rwanda, the country’s envoy to Paris has said.

Rwanda regrets a decision by France’s Cour de Cassation to reject a previous ruling that had approved the extradition of two Genocide suspects to Rwanda, the country’s envoy to Paris has said.

In an interview with Radio France Internationale, earlier today, Amb. Jacques Kabale, said the decision was “regrettable” but expressed hope that not all is lost with regard to bringing the suspects to book.

In a verdict delivered on Wednesday, the court ruled that Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana could not be extradited to Rwanda because genocide had not been legally defined as a crime in 1994.

The same court also upheld an earlier ruling by a lower court that rejected the extradition to Rwanda of Laurent Serubuga, a former Colonel in the genocidal army.

“But it's also never too late for justice to be rendered,” said Amb. Kabale.

He added: “We hope that the historic step taken by France to bring Pascal Simbikangwa to justice will be followed by others”.

He said Simbikangwa isn't the only Genocide suspect on French soil. “There's unfortunately a relatively big number (of Genocide suspects) in France.”

The envoy pointed to previous extraditions to Rwanda by the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and several African countries as a demonstration of the international community’s confidence in the country’s judicial system.

He also cited the transfer of Genocide suspects to Kigali by the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

“I suppose France is still shy of taking the first step for reasons best known to themselves, but we hope the suspects will eventually be extradited to Rwanda.”

On the diplomatic rapprochement between Rwanda and France, Amb. Kabale said it was restored in 2010 when the two countries decided to reopen their embassies. “It's more than a rapprochement; it's a rekindled friendly relationship between the two countries,” he said.

France has widely been accused of aiding the regime that planned and executed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed the lives of at least a million people in a space of 100 days.

This year Rwanda marks the 20th anniversary of that genocide.

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