KIGALI - The Government of Rwanda has welcomed Wednesday’s ruling by a Paris court to transfer Genocide suspect Dominique Ntawukuriryayo to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
The Paris Appeals Court verdict overturns an earlier judgment by the French Court of Cessation, which had ruled that Ntawukuriryayo could not be sent to the ICTR because of a technical flaw in the case.
“The ruling is welcome though it has been long overdue; we highly appreciate the move because the ICTR is the only international court of competence to try cases of the Genocide,” Rwanda’s representative at the ICTR, Alloys Mutabingwa, said by telephone from Tanzania, yesterday.
He argued that this should set precedence to similar cases in French courts.
He cited the case of Fr Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a priest and Laurent Bucyibaruta, who was a prefet of the former Gikongoro prefecture (now in the Southern Province).
“All fugitives living there should be apprehended,” Mutabingwa said.
A former sous-prefet of Gisagara in the former Butare prefecture, Ntawukuriryayo is accused of co-ordinating the killing of up to 25,000 people at Kabuye Hill near Gisagara over a five-day period in April, 1994.
He was arrested last October in the southern French town of Carcassonne in reaction to an Interpol Red Notice and CTR indictment.
The Spokesperson of the Office of the Prosecutor at ICTR Dr Tim Gallimore declined to give a comment yesterday, saying that they had not yet received any official notification from French authorities.
Ntawukuriryayo is one of the three Rwandan suspects currently in French custody who are accused of having played a significant role in the 1994 Genocide.
Others are Munyeshyaka, who was a Parish Priest of St Famille Church in Kigali, where hundreds of people were killed, with the other is Bucyibaruta.
The backlogged ICTR, which is expected to close business in December, has requested that the duo be tried in French courts.
And last month, the French Supreme Court ruled that the two men can be tried in France. That decision overturned an earlier ruling by a lower court, which had averred that French courts lacked jurisdiction to try the suspects.
Munyeshyaka was tried and convicted in absentia to life imprisonment by Rwanda’s Military Tribunal in a case in which he was jointly accused with Maj. Gen. Laurent Munyakazi.