Karugarama meets French officials over Genocide cases

KIGALI - Rwanda’s concerns on the delay and manner in which Genocide related cases have progressed in France, were discussed when Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, met top French officials in Paris, last week.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama

KIGALI - Rwanda’s concerns on the delay and manner in which Genocide related cases have progressed in France, were discussed when Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, met top French officials in Paris, last week.
 
Meeting his French counterpart, Michel Mercier, Karugarama, highlighted Rwanda’s concerns about the delays in France, so far, in comparison with other European countries, to pursue genocide cases.

Despite some arrests in France, there have been complaints mainly from genocide survivors’ groups of delays in trying these cases, and at times releasing them under unclear circumstances.
 
In an interview, yesterday, Karugarama said: “When you look at the rest of Europe and elsewhere – if you compare [France with] Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada – there are trials everywhere and some countries have made efforts, yet we have seen nothing in France, which has the biggest number of cases.”
 
“There have been lots of positive movements between the two countries, particularly in the justice related cases. However, we noted some problems in France.”
 
Karugarama said that some very important files such as that of catholic priest Wenceslas Munyeshyaka were transferred from the ICTR, in Arusha, to France for trial but they have not been tried, saying that it is a matter of concern.
 
 Munyeshyaka is a Roman Catholic priest and a former parish priest at St Famille church in Kigali City, where thousands of Tutsis were killed.
 
 “There is also the case of Eugene Rwamucyo and Sosthene Munyemana, who are both connected to the FDLR. These too have not been tried. We put it to their attention that despite the other improvements, this is a concern.”
 
 The two doctors allegedly directly participated in the Genocide.
 
 Rwamucyo is wanted for allegedly planning and participating in atrocities in the former Butare region of the country.
 
The minister, however, appreciated a proposed Draft Law on establishment of a Special Unit in the French Legal system to try Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity voted by the Senate on April 14.
 
 French authorities informed the minister that the unit would be fully functional before the end of this year.
 
 The minister’s delegation included officials from Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor General’s Office and Rwandan Embassy officials.
 
 John Bosco Siboyintore, the acting head of the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU), who accompanied the minister said: “We had a good development on this trip. We have a bright future on apprehension of genocide fugitives.”
 
18 cases of genocide-suspects are under investigation at the Parisian lower court but none have started yet.

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