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Paris, February 14 2007 (FH) - The Association of Plaintiff Parties for Rwanda registered a complaint last Tuesday at the tribunal of Evry, near Paris, France, against Agathe Kanziga, wife of the late president Juvénal Habyarimana, for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. It is the third complaint lodged in France against the wife of the former President of Rwanda, who died on April 6 1994 in an attempt against his plane that sparked the genocide which made 800.000 victims according to the United Nations. At the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the name of the ex-First Lady appears in several indictments and experts’ testimonies. The office of the prosecutor of the ICTR, which keeps three indictments under seal, has always refused to confirm or infirm the indictment of Agathe Kanziga. Unofficial sources have revealed that legal proceedings had been taken at the time the ICTR was set up and eventually dropped due to the absence of evidence. Timothy Gallimore, the prosecutor’s spokesman, declared that he had no comment to make on that topic. In France, the Association of Plaintiff Parties leans on the decision issued on January 4th by the French Office for Refugees and Stateless People. The OFPRA had rejected the demand for asylum Agathe Kanziga filed in July 2004, officially because there were « serious reasons to think » that the applicant had « been one of the initiators or (…) accomplices of the genocide ». On January 25th, the wife of the late Rwandan president was heard for two hours by the Appeals Board of the OFPRA. The filing of the new complaint occurs two days before the Appeals Board’s decision scheduled for Thursday. The president of the Association, Alain Gauthier, explains that they « had been preparing to lodge the complaint for several weeks. So far, priority has been given to the victims in the association by filing lawsuits against the primary leaders who live in exile in France such as Wenceslas Munyeshyaka or Sostène Muhimana. Agathe Habyarimana’s case is more complicated ». Whether at the ICTR, in France or even in Rwanda, there are not enough tangible or direct evidences to carry potential lawsuits. The testimony before the ICTR of Michel Bagaragza, a repentant criminal, is presented in Paris as a key element. The complaint is based on many reports, books, testimonies and reports of experts which led the OFPRA to reject Mrs. Kanziga’s demand for asylum. According to the plaintiffs, Agathe Kanziga had a « predominant influence on President Habyarimana »; moreover, « her role as a behind-the-scenes coordinator in various political, economic or media-related rings before the genocide contributed to its planning ». Mrs. Habyarimana is blamed for her participation in « setting up a criminal scheme », for belonging to the Akazu, for working for the RTLM and the newspaper Kangura, and for attending meetings for the planning of the massacre of the Bagogwe in 1991. The Association repeats the terms of the OFPRA’s decision and underlines that Protais Zigiranyirazo, Agathe Kanziga’s brother « set up (…) death squads, a hierarchic system of repression of which Mrs. Agathe Kanziga ex Habyarimana was the key ». They also denounce her participation in the political discussions which took place after the attack of April 6th and which « paved the way for the most radical politicians implicated in the genocide process to seize the power ». Lists of political opponents to get rid of were established, the decisions to assassinate the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana and to eliminate the Tutsi staff of the Sainte Agathe orphanage were made during these meetings. Agathe Habyarimana was evacuated from Rwanda by the French forces on April 9th 1994. She is said to have continued, from France, to encourage massacres. The plaintiffs present the testimony of the former president Médecins sans frontières, Philippe Biberson, before the French Parliament Fact-Finding Committee. According to him, the ex-President of France, François Mitterrand, would have declared about Mrs. Kanziga: « She’s a real devil, if she could, she’d use French radios to keep inciting to commit massacres. She is very hard to keep under control ». And very hard to incriminate too. On January 25th, Agathe Kanziga had forcefully denied any participation in the genocide before the Refugee Appeals Board. She had accused both sides of the conflict and brandished the theory of a double genocide. In an attempt to appear saintly, she had presented herself as a woman with no influence, who raised her hens, gave to charities and took care of her children. The two previous lawsuits, one filed before the genocide by the International Federation for Human Rights and the other one in 1994 by Reporters Without Borders, were both dropped because France was not competent in the case. In 1996, the Parliament passed a law of adaptation in agreement with the ICTR, introducing universal jurisdiction over crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994. This law is the starting point of the actions the association for plaintiffs is taking today. SM-ER/PB/MG © Hirondelle Agency