“Madame Agathe” arrested

10 March 2010 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Sixteen years after the assassination of former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana, his widow Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana is facing seven counts of genocide and the possibility of being extradited to Rwanda. She was arrested on March 2nd in the Parisian suburb of Courcouronnes, where she had been living for the last twelve years.

Rwandans call her Madame Agathe. She’s generally perceived as a dominant behind-the-scenes figure
and the vital leader of the clique of Hutu extremists who masterminded and orchestrated the massacre of over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis in 1994.

Three days into the massslaughter, French authorities - who were close allies of Habyarimana’s regime - flew Agathe out of the country. She moved to France in 1998 where she has lived peacefully ever since.
However, France never granted her political asylum because of allegations she had played an active role in Rwanda’s genocidal regime.

But it was Kigali that finally acted against Agathe. In October last year, it issued an international arrest warrant against her. The charge sheet is long and includes genocide, creation of a criminal gang and public incitement to commit genocide.

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