Rwanda's Contact FM Reports on Genocide Suspects

Sep 172008

In August, the arrest of two Rwandan genocide suspects in France was welcomed in Kigali as a belated but important step towards normalizing relations. Rwanda broke off diplomatic ties with France late last year after a French judge called for the prosecution of senior Rwandan officials, including the president, on charges of involvement in the plane attack that killed then Rwandan President Habyarimana. However, even as the new French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner spoke of visiting Rwanda in the near future, a French appeals court ordered the release of the two men, arguing the arrest warrants issued by the International criminal tribunal for Rwanda could not be executed because it was an infringement of the right to be presumed innocent.

Predictably, this raised a storm of protest in Rwanda, which recently abolished the death penalty to great international acclaim and an appeal by the UN Commission on Human Rights for all genocide suspects to be transferred to Rwanda.