PARIS - Rose Kabuye Thursday morning overcame the first hurdle in her battle with the French judiciary when she was given a conditional release at her first appearance before the Palais de Justice in Paris.
Kabuye was released after more than ten hours waiting for a judge’s decision after being extradited from Germany.
The chief of State Protocol was arrested in the German city of Frankfurt where she had gone to prepare President Paul Kagame’s visit.
Her arrest raised global condemnation, including the African Union and the Pan African Parliament among many, who termed it an abuse of Universal Jurisdiction by both Germany and France.
After facing a French investigative judge, the Rwandan diplomat was freed on condition that she will not leave France without a judge’s permission and that she will be reporting to police every fifteen days.
Many Rwandans resident in the French city braved the cold as they awaited Kabuye’s fate and jumped with joy when news came that she would not spend the night in jail.
“I’m not so scared because I am very innocent,” Kabuye was quoted on the France24 television, as she was mobbed and hugged by well wishers some of whom could not hold back their tears of joy.
“I know that when I get a chance to explain what happened everything will be okay, so I am not scared,” she added.
“I think she is really happy. Freedom is something important for everybody,” her lawyer, Bernard Maingain, told BBC.
Rose Kabuye and eight top Rwandan officials were indicted in 2006 by French investigative judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière for the alleged shooting down of a plane carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994.
“It is such a shame that someone who stopped the genocide should be charged with genocide,” said Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Rosemary Museminali, reacting to the news of Kabuye conditional release.
She demanded that Kabuye be released immediately because the report on which the arrest was based was ‘politically motivated’.
Her detention led o many protests across Rwanda and in other parts of the world, claiming that she is innocent and that the downing of a plane is not the cause of the genocide.
Kabuye’s case in Paris is being examined by French judges Marc Trévidic and Philippe Coirre.