KIGALI - Following a petition to French President Nicolas Sarkozy by pressure groups calling upon France to act on Genocide fugitives in France, a senior official in the French Presidency has acknowledged that Sarkozy received the letter.
According to Alain Gauthier, the president of CPCR, one of the groups, they received a response from Sarkozy’s top aide, Simon Babre, who said that his President was sensitive to the suffering of Genocide survivors in Rwanda.
Gauthier added that it was the first time they had received a response from Champs-Elysées, Sarkozy’s office, after several of their petitions went unanswered, adding that this was a positive step.
Babre’s reply to CPCR, dated December 27, notes that Sarkozy entrusted him to assure the CPCR president that “he has read your thoughts on the proposed creation of a unit specifically charged with investigating such cases within the ‘Tribunal de Grande Instance’ of Paris.”
He also informed Gauthier that, the creation of this specialized unit is actually provided for under a bill which French Parliament will very soon look into. The government official promised to keep the CPCR informed.
A few days after President Sarkozy named a new cabinet, CPCR, African Rights and REDRESS, on November 19, wrote to the new French Minister of Justice, Michel Mercier, drawing his attention on suspected Genocidaires living in France.
The three groups also copied the letter to the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and new Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, where they underlined that they previously tried to alert Mercier’s predecessors on the presence in France of suspects linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda.
In the petition, they were “particularly concerned by the delay in proceedings of suspects present in France and the lack of resources for judges so that they could conduct investigations.”
On October 28, 2009, Mercier’s predecessor, Michele Alliot-Marie, announced plans to create a unit of specialist investigators for the crimes of Genocide and crimes against humanity.