01.08.07 - ICTR/FRANCE - MUNYESHYAKA AND BUCYIBARUTA RELEASED

Paris, August 1 2007 (FH) - A court in Paris ordered Wednesday the release of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and of the former prefect Laurent Bucyibaruta.
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They were arrested on 20 July at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which seeks them for their alleged roles in the genocide.

During the hearing, Sylvie Petit-Leclaire, the prosecuting attorney had asked the court to answer favorably to the request of arrest and detention of the two men issued by the prosecutor of the ICTR until the ICTR comes to a conclusion about the possible transfer of their cases to French courts.

The defence counsels estimated Wednesday that this request by the ICTR was an "abuse of procedure".

"I am innocent, I will prove it like one and one is two", declared Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka. "At the end of the investigation, the French people will realize that it did not welcome a "genocidaire", but a defender of liberty", he stated.

The two men are, in particular, accused by the ICTR of genocide, rape and murder as crimes against humanity.

The ICTR prosecutor issued on 20 June the warrants of arrest waiting for a decision to transfer the cases to France, which has committed itself to trying them.

This procedure makes it possible to reduce the workload of the ICTR, which must finish its first instance trials before the end of 2008.

Wenceslas Munyeshyaka has been under investigation since 1995 and Laurent Bucyibaruta since 2000 in France for crimes related to the genocide in Rwanda.

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