France reopens its Rwandan files

23 July 2007 by Frank Petit

The July 20th arrest of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta confirmed that France is indeed reopening certain forgotten Rwandan judicial files, albeit somewhat reluctantly. It has been pushed to do so in part by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has issued warrants for the arrest of three Rwandans living in France and accused of having participated in the 1994 genocide. Their files should be transferred from Arusha to Paris shortly.

Interpol set the ball rolling at the end of June, when it provoked the first arrest of a Rwandan suspect attempting to enter the United States with a French passport. Kigali is asking for his extradition. Observant customs officers at the Philadelphia Internatonal Airport made Isaac Kamali the first in a recent series of Rwandan genocide suspects to be imprisoned in France. According to Reuters, he is accused in Rwanda of having participated in a series of killings, pillages, and property destruction of Tutsis not far from Gitarama, in southern Rwanda. Kamali was granted French citizenship in 2002. The Rwandan minister of foreign affairs, interviewed by the IJT, stated that he would like to see Kamali extradited to Rwanda, despite the rupture in diplomatic relations with Paris, in November 2006. Charles Murigande declares, "France cannot offer indefinite protection to perpetrators of genocide, including Kamali."

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