• France to set up a new panel to try cases of genocide
KIGALI - French Foreign Affairs, Minister Bernard Kouchner, yesterday arrived in the country and is expected to meet top government officials and the leadership of IBUKA, the umbrella organization of survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Kouchner, who is visiting the country for the third time, will meet Ibuka officials during a visit he will make to the Nyanza Genocide Memorial in Kicukiro District.
In an interview yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said that the French minister’s visit is aimed at registering his sympathy with the survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
“The visit will be about paying tribute to victims and survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis,” Mushikiwabo said.
She said that Kouchner will thereafter meet with officials at the Ministry of Foreign affairs and talks she said will “centre on the way forward on the normalization of relations between the two countries.”
The French Minister is thereafter expected to meet President Paul Kagame.
Meanwhile, just before Kouchner’s visit to Rwanda, his country announced that there were plans to set up a new panel to try cases of Genocide and crimes against humanity.
Kouchner and his counterpart, the Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, said a bill will be presented to parliament in the coming six months to create the new unit within the Paris High Court.
The Genocide and Crimes against Humanity unit will be given special powers to try cases of genocide and crimes against humanity that have occurred outside France’s borders and involve many jurisdictions.
“The move will allow the cases to come to court more quickly and provide ways to address many of the complications that arise from the serious cases”, the ministers argued in a column published in Le Monde on Wednesday.
“France, the founding nation of human rights, will never be a sanctuary for perpetrators of genocide,” the ministers wrote.