France court rejects request to extradite former Rwanda colonel

[JURIST] A court in France [official website, in French] on Thursday rejected Rwanda's request for the extradition of a Hutu ex-colonel wanted in connection with the country's 1994 genocide [CNN backgrounder] and ordered his release. Laurent Serubuga, now 77-years old, had been arrested in France in July on an international arrest warrant issued by Rwanda. The court stated that because the crimes of which Serabuga was accused occurred more than 10 years ago, the claims were barred by the statute of limitations [BBC report]. Additionally, the court held that at the time when the crimes were committed, genocide and crimes against humanity were not against the laws of Rwanda.

After the Rwandan genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people, international and domestic courts have attempted to try those responsible. In June Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow [WJP profile], prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] reiterated the UN Security Council's request for member states to help bring to justice [JURIST report] nine fugitives allegedly responsible for war crimes during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In July, a New Hampshire woman was sentenced to 10 years [JURIST report] in prison her her role in the genocide. In April French law enforcement officials arrested [JURIST report] former Rwandan leader Tite Barahira for conspiracy to commit genocide. In March a Dutch court convicted [JURIST report] Yvonne Basebya of inciting genocide after finding that she led meetings of a radical Hutu party and sang a song that called for the murder of all Tutsis. Basebya was sentenced to six years in prison. In February a court in Norway convicted [JURIST report] a Rwandan man living in Oslo for acting as an accomplice to the genocide. The court sentenced him to 21 years in prison.

 

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