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France court orders trial for Rwanda genocide suspect

A court in France on Tuesday ordered Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan Army Captain, to stand trial for crimes against humanity committed during the 1994 genocide in that country. Simbikangawa was arrested [AFP report] pursuant to an international arrest warrant. He was the head of Central Intelligence under the Hutu Rwandan government during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder] that killed an estimated 800,000 people. He has ten days to appeal the court's decision. The French government has refused to extradite prisoners to Rwanda, fearing they will not receive a fair trial. Sumbikangawa has been held by the French government sine 2009.

Courts in many parts of the world have attempted to try those responsible for the genocide. In January, Rwandan genocide suspect Innocent Musabyimana was arrested [JURIST report] in France on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In December, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware [case materials], sentencing him to 35 years in prison and concluding the tribunal's final trial. Ngirabatware was found guilty on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity. Also in December, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution [JURIST report] to extend the term of office of five judges of the ICTR. Since its founding in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide, the ICTR has indicted 91 individuals and, thus far, finished 50 trials with 29 convictions.

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