French court releases Genocide suspect

Hours after blocking the extradition, to Rwanda, of Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana, the French Appeals Court freed Hyacinthe Rafiki Nsengiyumva, the former Minister of Public Works, who like Mrs. Habyarimana, is wanted for Genocide crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hours after blocking the extradition, to Rwanda, of Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana, the French Appeals Court freed Hyacinthe Rafiki Nsengiyumva, the former Minister of Public Works, who like Mrs. Habyarimana, is wanted for Genocide crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kanziga is the wife of former president Juvenal Habyarimana and one of the key members of the inner circle (Akazu) that was at the forefront of planning and supervising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Nsengiyumva, who has been in detention since August 9, was released under legal restrictions after being remanded for 51 days in Paris. Rwanda filed an extradition request for him in 2008 and another one last month.

French Judge Edith Boizette, the same judge who ruled against Mrs. Habyarimana’s extradition, ruled that Nsengiyumva be released and the formal hearing of his case will resume on November 9.

According to the Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, the case is one of the many which French Judiciary have handled lightly.

“Genocide cases are handled in France as if they were just traffic offences and we are possibly missing a point by not treating the matter in the proportions it requires,” Ngoga said.

“Let us wait and see where we are heading with this case. On a wider thinking, and beyond just this particular case, I think we need to revisit our dealings with the French justice system with regard to genocide cases”.

Despite France promising to crackdown on Genocide fugitives, Ngoga said that the recent developments suggest the contrary.

“We need to discuss this situation from a policy perspective before we can discuss individual cases. There is a need to work on the framework that can turn around what is happening, that appears to be indifference in alarming proportions,” he added.

The arrest warrants indicate that Nsengiyumva participated in the killing and coordination of militias in Kigali, Gitarama and later in Gisenyi-Nyundo area.

After the Genocide, Nsengiyumva lived in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, while his wife and children lived in France and acquired French citizenship.

He joined them in December 2008, and was issued a residence permit.

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