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France appeals court rejects extradition of Rwanda ex-president's widow

The Court of Appeal of Paris [official website, in French] on Wednesday rejected a request from Rwandan officials to extradite Agathe Habyarimana, widow of assassinated Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana [Britannica profile], to Rwanda to face trial on genocide charges. Habyarimana has been accused of helping to plan the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder] between Hutus and Tutsis in which more than 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, were killed in the span of 100 days. After her husband's assassination, which led to an escalation of violence that sparked the genocide, Habyarimana was transported from Rwanda by the French military [BBC report] and has since been living outside Paris, although she was arrested [JURIST report] briefly in March 2010 by French police complying with an international arrest warrant issued by the Rwandan government [official website]. Rwanda's chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga said that Rwanda has never extradited a suspect from France and that the court's decision was not based on the merit of the accusations [AFP report] against Habyarimana. Ngoga also said that Rwandan officials would accept the option of Habyarimana facing trial in France [New Times report].

Individuals accused of participating in the Rwandan genocide continue to face trial, both in Rwandan courts and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website]. Earlier this week, the Appeals Chamber for the ICTR heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in the case of Aloys Ntabakuze [HJP profile], a former Rwandan army officer convicted of genocide and related crimes.The Trial Chamber of the ICTR charged and convicted [judgment, PDF] Ntabakuze in a case known as "Military I" that joined two other former army officers. The same day, the ICTR also heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in the appeal of Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, the former Sub-Prefect of the southern region of Gisagara. Ntawukulilyayo was indicted [case materials] in 2005 on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide and public incitement to commit genocide for falsely promising protection to ethnic minority Tutsi refugees, all of which occurred during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In June, the ICTR transferred the case [JURIST report] of former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [Hague Justice profile] to Rwanda to be tried in the Rwandan national court system. Last year, the ICTR transferred the cases of 25 suspects [JURIST report], who had been investigated but not yet indicted by the ICTR and who were believed to be in hiding abroad, to Rwandan authorities.

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