Mystery Genocide case file

It mysteriously disappeared in the corridors of the French justice and has resurfaced in equally unexplained circumstances.

It mysteriously disappeared in the corridors of the French justice and has resurfaced in equally unexplained circumstances.

A Genocide case file that has been missing for months has been recovered but the development only seems to have raised more questions than it answers.

The dossier concerning the extradition request of Genocide fugitive Hyacinthe Rafiki Nsengiyumva had disappeared at the hands of a French court, late last year.

The disappearance, which first became public during a January 11 hearing in the Chambre d'instruction of the Paris appeals court, had stalled the extradition process.

And as a result, last month, a French court suspended judicial control over the fugitive who is accused of playing an active role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“I can confirm that the lost file was found, but I am not informed about the circumstances in which it disappeared or was retrieved,” Gilles Paruelle, the Rwanda Government lawyer working on the case, told The Sunday Times on Saturday.

“I was told that this was a consequence of an error by the registrar office of the court. The case will certainly be called in a coming session of the court; the precise date will be set later. We only have to wait for the new schedule,” Paruelle adds.

Earlier, French lobby groups Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR) and Survie –were outraged that a file of an alleged Génocidaire can get lost in the maze of French justice.

The civic groups pointed to what they said was ‘indifference’ with which the investigating chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris handled the disappearance.

Following the vanishing of the file, Rwanda’s prosecution authorities served France with another extradition file.

In his response to the latest development, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, said: “We don’t know the circumstances (under which it was found), but what is important to us is that the file is now available.”

“It was pathetic it went missing in the first place and it remains interesting to know what had happened,” he added.

Nsengiyumva, a founder member of the DRC-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, is accused of actively participating in genocide crimes in his home region of Gisenyi (now Rubavu District) in 1994.

He was minister of public works in a regime that oversaw the execution of the swiftest and one of the most brutal genocides the world has ever seen – the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The fugitive was arrested in August 2011, in Créteil, a commune in the south-eastern suburbs of the French capital of Paris, and later placed under judicial control.

Rwanda issued an international arrest warrant for him in 2008.

The suspect allegedly often participated in Genocide preparatory meetings with the likes of Genocide convict Col. Theoneste Bagosora, who was recently jailed for 35 years by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

According to the CPCR, Nsengiyumva supplied weapons to killers and formed an extremist militia allied to a PSD party extremist faction, Abakombozi, and is said to be responsible for the slaughter of Tutsi refugees who had fled to Nyundo church, a few kilometres from Gisenyi town.

In a related development, a French court this week approved the extradition of a Genocide suspect to Rwanda. The court in the city of Rouen ruled that Claude Muhayimana, can be sent to Rwanda to answer charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The fugitive appealed the decision.

France, which had close ties with the genocidal regime, has yet to extradite a Genocide suspect to Rwanda despite being home to tens of Genocide fugitives.

Ngoga accuses the French judiciary of ignoring the gravity of these charges even as Paris has sent investigative teams to Rwanda more times than any other country.

And, as a sign of protesting that attitude, the country’s chief prosecutor recently turned away another French investigative team, arguing they needed to first carry out self-assessment as to the result of the more than 30 similar missions undertaken previously, and determine whether they were genuine with their investigations.

Among key Genocide fugitives who remain in France include Dr Eugene Rwamucyo; Agathe Kanziga, widow of former president Juvenal Habyarimana; and Manasse Bigwenzare.

In the meantime, in the US, reports indicate that Beatrice Munyenyezi, the New Hampshire Rwandan woman accused of lying about her role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, will face a second trial on immigration fraud charges following an earlier mistrial.

Federal prosecutors on Friday notified a court in Concord that they would not drop charges against Munyenyezi, 41, who they accuse of helping to organise mass killings and rapes in Butare in 1994, according to Reuters.

A jury deadlocked in the case earlier this month, and now the new trial will begin in September.

Munyenyezi's husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobari, and mother-in-law, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, were arrested more than a decade ago and later sentenced to life in prison on genocide charges at the Tanzania-based ICTR.

The US granted Munyenyezi asylum in 1998 after she swore that she had never been involved in Genocide, a lie that later resulted in what prosecutors call immigration fraud.

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