Arusha, 2 August 2007 (FH) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is still examining the decision rendered Wednesday by the appeal chamber of Paris to release two persons accused of genocide, declared Thursday his spokesperson.

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The reports that the French court of appeals has released former prefect Bucyibaruta and Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, detained since 20 July, "are being reviewed by the office of the Prosecutor which is also consulting with the French Ministry of Justice about the matter", indicated Timothy Gallimore, in a short official statement.

"The office of the Prosecutor has learned that the decision of the court of appeals is subject to review. The office of the Prosecutor would like to wait for the review process to run its course before commenting further", the statement continues.

The court of appeals of Paris estimated that the requests by the ICTR Prosecutor for arrest and detention in France of Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta violated, in particular, the legal principle of presumption of innocence.

The defence counsels as for them had spoken about an "abuse of procedure" in regard to the ICTR rules.

The representative of Rwanda at the ICTR, Aloys Mutabingwa, criticized this decision of the court of appeal of Paris, stating that "it was not astonishing" for him.

Mutabingwa indicated that the court based itself only on procedure, ignoring the case itself.
The Rwandan diplomat insinuated that this decision demonstrates at which point French courts are not entitled to try cases in connection with the Rwandan genocide.

The ICTR Prosecutor wishes that Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta be tried in France but he awaits the decision of a chamber designated by the President Judge Dennis Byron to examine his request.

The court of appeals of Paris was also criticized by African Rights, an organization for the defense of human rights based in London, specialized in the collection of testimonies in connection with the 1994 genocide.

In an official statement Thursday, African Rights qualified this release as" a setback for justice".
"The decision to release the two men is difficult to understand", writes African Rights; which predicts that the ruling will serve to confirm suspicions of survivors with regard to French courts and thus will contribute to hardening their attitudes.

© Hirondelle News Agency