France should arrest Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo immediately!

Press release
en fr

On 20 June, Hassan Jallow, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) asked the French government to seek and arrest Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, and keep them under detention until the ICTR consents to the request to transfer their cases to France, within the framework of the completion strategy of the ICTR mandate.

The ICTR charges again Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo were made public more than two years after being lodged, despite the extreme gravity of the acts. W. Munyeshyaka is accused of genocide, rape, murder and exterminations constituting a crime against humanity. L. Bucyibaruta is accused of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, genocide, complicity to extermination, murders constituting crimes against humanity. D. Ntawukuriryayo is accused of genocide, complicity to extermination and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

On 19 July 2006, the French government, in a letter from the Ministry of Justice, agreed to try Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo in France, on the basis of the universal jurisdiction of its courts.

The request from the ICTR was sent even though the legal proceedings against Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta had been started 12 and 8 years earlier. Both persons were staying in France. An investigating magistrate opened a criminal investigation against them for genocide and crimes against humanity in respond to complaints from Rwandan victims and their signatory associations.

More than two weeks after the two arrest warrants have been delivered, France has still not arrested Messrs Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta, although they are being kept under judicial supervision.

Although France has all the legal tools needed to cooperate fully with the ICTR and, if necessary, engage legal proceedings against any person, on French territory, allegedly responsible for serious crimes, the fact is that despite the claims lodged by families of the victims and their associations, up to the present France has not tried any of the persons residing in France and allegedly guilty of genocide.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the French League for Human Rights (Ligue des droits de l’Homme - LDH), Survie and the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda CPCR) hereby request France, ­which has already been rebuked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for failing to deal swiftly with cases against W. Munyeshyaka first lodged in 1995, to render justice, at last, to the victims of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.

FIDH, LDH, Survie, and CPCR,

 referring to Article 9 of the 1996 law to adapt French legislation to the Statutes of the ICTR, stating that "requests by the international tribunal or by its prosecutor for arrests for the purpose of transferral of person(s) shall be addressed (original version together with all documentary evidence) to the Minister of Justice who, after being assured of their authenticity, shall transmit them to the Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Appeals of Paris and, at the same time, shall order their application throughout the territory of the Republic."
 urgently requests France to fulfil its international commitments to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTR in seeking and remanding Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta, and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo.

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