France may finally effect its first extradition of Genocide suspects if a recent decision by the appeal court in Paris, to handover two Rwandan suspects to face trial at home, is not overturned by the Court of Cassation.
In the French judicial system, the Court of Cassation is the court of last resort for civil and criminal matters.
On Wednesday last week, the appeals court in Paris ruled that Claude Muhayimana, 52, and Innocent Musabyimana, 41, accused of taking part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, be extradited to Rwanda.
Muhayimana and Musabyimana are accused of taking part in the massacre Tutsis in the former Kibuye and Gisenyi prefectures respectively.
However, the suspects still have one last card to play; which is to appeal in the Court of Cassation. The court has up to four months to announce its decision from the day an appeal is filed.
Alain Mukuralinda, the spokesperson of the Rwandan Prosecution, told The New Times that the decision by the appeals court proves that Rwandan judiciary has matured and can be trusted by any country.
“If we prepare the files and send them to France, and the judges grants us our request, then it’s a vote of confidence. The two suspects now remain with one step which is appealing in the Court of Cassation. If they lose that final appeal, then France will have made history,” said Mukuralinda.
The head of a French activist association, Collectif des Parties Civiles Pour le Rwanda (CPCR), Alain Gauthier, issued a statement expressing hope for an extradition.
“This is the first time that the Paris Court of Appeal rules for an extradition…The President was however careful after announcing that it was a favorable part , thereby excluding “ordinary crimes” that the defense could of course turn to the Court of Cassation to annul such a decision.” Said Gauthier.
The Court of Appeals based on the crime of Genocide and complicity to Genocide to rule in favour of extradition.
“It is difficult to know what the Court of Cassation will decide, but until now, we must content ourselves with the positive decision and greet the evolution of judges of the Court of Appeal of Paris,” reads the statement.