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France court rejects Rwanda extradition request for war crimes suspect

A French court on Wednesday declined to extradite Dr. Eugene Rwamucyo [personal website, in French] to Rwanda to face charges for his alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The court also granted his release [AFP report]. The ruling is due to suspicions that Rwamucyo would not receive a fair trial in Rwanda, and is consistent with France's handling of previous Rwandan extradition requests. Rwamucyo was arrested in May by French authorities acting on an international warrant [INTERPOL warrant], which his family claimed was politically motivated [press release].

French authorities also arrested [JURIST report] the widow of assassinated Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana [Britannica profile], Agathe Habyarimana, in March on suspicions of complicity in genocide. That arrest came only days after French President Nicolas Sarkozy [official profile; JURIST news archive] visited Rwanda and said that he would cooperate [JURIST report] in finding those accused of genocide. Rwanda continues to try those involved in the genocide, as does the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive]. The ICTR was established for the prosecution of high-level officials responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law during the Rwandan genocide. As of May 2009, it has rendered judgments or has trials underway [completion strategy report, PDF] for 68 suspects, with six suspects awaiting trials, one retrial and 13 fugitives.

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