French Court Backs Extradition of Rwandan Genocide Suspect

Posted March 30th, 2012 at 2:30 pm (UTC-5)
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For the first time, a French court has approved the extradition of a suspect to Rwanda to face charges in that country's 1994 genocide.

The court in the city of Rouen ruled that Claude Muhayimana can be sent to Rwanda, where is he accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Muhayimana's lawyer, Geraldine Boitieux, told VOA that she appealed the decision.

“Rwanda authorities accuse him of taking part in genocide and crime against humanity. And obviously he did not do it because he's from a mixed family, half Hutu and half Tutsi.”

The lawyer says Muhayimana could not have been active during the massacres because he was not in the region and got malaria.

Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates during the 1994 genocide.

France has previously sent Rwandan citizens to Tanzania to face trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. But it has never extradited anyone to Rwanda, citing concerns whether the suspects will receive a fair trial.

Rwanda has committed to ensuring suspects will be treated fairly and also abolished the death penalty.