Rwandans protest French arrest warrants for officials

Rwandans protest French arrest warrants for officials

[JURIST] Some 25,000 Rwandans gathered in a sports stadium in the capital Kigale Thursday to protest a French judge's issuance of arrest warrants for nine top Rwandan officials on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 downing of the plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyariman [Wikipedia profile], whose death triggered a genocide that killed over 800,000 people. The protestors sang anti-French songs and burned French flags. Reuters has more.

French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere [BBC profile] has issued the warrants against the officials. He also recommended that current Rwandan President Paul Kagame [official website] face trial [JURIST report] in connection with the case, but no warrant for Kagame's arrest has been issued as he enjoys diplomatic immunity under French law. Kagame has denied any involvement in the downing of the plane and has derided Bruguiere's tactics [JURIST report] as "bullying and arrogant." Sources say Bruguiere has written to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] asking that Kagame be tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive].