Paris, 26 July 2007 (FH) -The appeals court of Paris decided Wednesday to differ until 1 August the examination of the arrest warrants for Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and the former prefect Laurent Bucyibaruta issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The court also decided that the two men will remain in detention. The court, whose proceedings were public, also refused to examine the requests for release filed by the lawyers of the two men; it was judged that they did not comply with the rules of procedure, namely that they must be filed 48 hours prior to the proceedings.

Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, 49, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, 63, were arrested on Friday in virtue of arrest warrants issued by the Prosecutor of the ICTR. The ICTR Prosecutor wishes that the two men remain in detention while awaiting a decision by the ICTR to transfer or not to France the cases concerning the two men.

The ICTR indictment accuses them of murder, extermination and rape as a crime against humanity.
In June 2006, France agreed to try the two men under the terms of the law of adaptation of the ICTR statute, integrated in May 1996 into the French penal code.

"The arrest warrant aims at keeping me in detention for a unlimited period until the ICTR comes to a conclusion about the transfer of the case. It could perhaps be in 20 days or in 1,000", said Wednesday Laurent Bucyibaruta.

Jean-Yves Dupeux, lawyer for Father Munyeshyaka, considered it regrettable that the request for release was not examined for procedural reasons. "It is a procedural characteristic which I find particularly inappropriate", he declared at the end of the hearing.

The prosecution had been opposed to their request for release. On Monday, the Attorney General of the appeals court of Paris had notified to the two men of the indictment issued by the ICTR and of their rights.
In France, they are being investigated for complicity in genocide following complaints filed by survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who has been in France since 1995, had spent ten days in provisional detention.

Laurent Bucyibaruta, for his part, has been indicted since 2000 and was detained from 31 May to 8 December 2000. They were then put on probation.

A Hutu catholic priest, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka had been entrusted in 1997 with a ministry in Andelys (Eure). Since 2001, he has been a priest for the parishes of Gisors and the Vallée de l'Epte

Laurent Bucyibaruta, former prefect of Gikongoro (southern Rwanda), was arrested close to Troyes, where he resided.

© Hirondelle News Agency