Legal action speeds up as April memorial approaches

21 February 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

Every year, the run-up to the annual commemoration of the Rwandan genocide that began on April 1994, generates a flurry of legal activity. This year is no different, with a number of complaints lodged last year continuing or being repeated in 2005. Last week in Spain and France, NGOs from opposing political camps announced they were filing new complaints, while in Rwanda, the start of the gacaca trials is now set for March.

In France, six complaints were filed to a military court on 16 February against French soldiers serving in Rwanda in 1994 as part of Operation Turquoise. Lodged in the name of six Rwandans and backed by French NGOs including 'Survie', it accuses the soldiers of complicity in genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity. The accusations, based on testimony from Rwanda, including that of prisoners, concern two distinct sites. The first, cited in three complaints, is the mountainous region of Bisesero in western Rwanda, where tens of thousands of Tutsis sought shelter before being exterminated in repeated attacks between April and June 1994. Operation Turquoise soldiers arrived in the region towards the end of June 1994. Although French peacekeepers saw survivors emerge from their hiding places, they withdrew and did not return until three days later, leaving the Hutu militias more time to continue their killing. The second site is the Murambi camp where survivors of the massacres had gathered.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.