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Rwanda says Spain genocide warrants for military officers based on lies

[JURIST] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Rwanda [official website] Monday urged the international community and Interpol [official website] to ignore arrest warrants [JURIST report] issued last week for 40 Rwandan military officers by Spanish National Court Judge Fernando Andreu, saying the warrants were based on "falsehoods" from "well-known detractors of Rwanda." Last Wednesday, Andreu indicted the officers on genocide and terrorism charges stemming from crimes allegedly committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; BBC backgrounder] that claimed some 800,000 lives. Andreu indicated that he could have also indicted Rwandan President Paul Kagame [BBC profile] on similar charges if he were not protected by immunity as sitting head of state.

Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front [HRW backgrounder] is widely credited with ending the 1994 genocide, but is also suspected of having killed thousands of noncombatants during its campaign to establish control. In 2005, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled [text, in Spanish; JURIST report] that Spanish courts can exercise universal jurisdiction over war crimes. BBC News has more.

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