22.11.07 - ICTR/FRANCE - THE ICTR DIVESTITURE DECISIONS DID NOT ARRIVE IN TIME IN FRANCE

  Paris, 22 November 2007 (FH) - In spite of the divestiture by the ICTR to the benefit of France in the cases of Wenceslas Munyeshyeka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, the Court of Appeal of Paris differed Wednesday to 12 December the examination of the transfer request of the two men because it did not received in time the originals of the announced documents.   
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Only an electronic sending has an effect cautioned the Court of Appeal of Paris of these decisions whereas an original document is necessary.
 
"We can reasonably think that this decision will lead to the ipso facto dropping of the transfer request to the ICTR", declared Wednesday in the hearing Jean-Charles Lecompte, the prosecuting attorney at the Court of Appeal of Paris. The ICTR decisions are dated 20 November.
 
In June 2006, France and the ICTR signed an agreement making it possible for the international tribunal to transfer to France certain cases to be tried there, including those concerning Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta.
 
On 26 September 2007, the Court of Appeal of Paris had asked the ICTR to communicate documents to it before coming to a conclusion about the transfer request of the two men. These documents having not arrived "in time", the court ordered Wednesday the deferral of the case.
 
The investigation chamber requested from the ICTR originals or certified documents of its transfer requests and wished that the prosecution of the international tribunal confirm or deny "the existence and current relevance" of its divestiture request to the benefit of France to try the two men.
 
In France, the two men are also subject of prosecution initiated by survivors of the genocide. Wencelas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta were respectively indicted in 1995 and 2000 for crimes against humanity and genocide. First arrested in July 2007 at the request of the ICTR, they were released. A second warrant, issued in September, led to their arrest and their release a few days later by the investigation chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris.
 
The two men are from now on the responsibility of French justice, but the charges pronounced against them have not been specified yet. Already the subject in 1995 of an international arrest warrant, Munyeshyeka had been exonerated by a decision of the Court of Appeal. The prosecution tried again in 1998 after a decision by the final court of appeal.
 
Furthermore, the Court of Appeal of Paris rejected Wednesday the release request of the Rwandan Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, accused by the ICTR of having taken part in the 1994 genocide. Last week, the Court of Appeal of Paris authorized his transfer to the ICTR, which must complete its first instance trials by the end of 2008. An appeal to the final court of appeal was filed.
 
AP/PB/MM

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