France high court blocks extradition of Rwandan genocide suspect

[JURIST] The French Court of Cassation [official website, in French] on Thursday blocked [decision, in French] plans to extradite three men to stand trial in Rwanda for alleged crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide [UN backgrounder]. The court overturned a November decision [JURIST report] by the Court of Appeal of Paris to allow the extradition of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana. The court also rejected [decision, in French] an appeal of a September ruling blocking extradition of Laurent Serubuga, who was Rwanda's deputy army chief-of-staff at the time of the Genocide. The court found that all three men could not be tried for genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 1994 because Rwandan law punishing such offenses did not exist until 1996. All three men fled [BBC report] to France in the wake of the Genocide.

Earlier this week the trial of the first suspect to be transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] to the Rwandan national court system began [JURIST report]. The Tanzanian-based UN tribunal transferred [JURIST report] Jean Bosco Uwinkindi [ICTR indictment, PDF] in April 2012 to stand trial for his role in the 1994 Genocide. Last week a court in Frankfurt, Germany, sentenced [JURIST report] former Rwandan mayor Onesphore Rwabukombe to 14 years in prison for his role in the Genocide. Earlier this month the ICTR announced [JURIST report] that Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former chief of staff of the Rwandan parliamentary police, and Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, the former commander of a military reconnaissance battalion, had been acquitted on appeal. Also in February a French court opened the trial [JURIST report] against former Rwandan intelligence chief Pascal Simbikangwa in the country's first trial of a suspect related to the genocide.

 

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