Paris, 15 December 2007 (FH) - The Court of Appeal of Paris had still not officially received Wednesday the decision by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) deferring itself to the benefit of French courts to try two alleged génocidaires, Abbot Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and former prefect Laurent Bucyibaruta, the examination of the case was deferred until 30 January.

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On 21November, the ICTR dropped its jurisdiction and was deferred itself to the benefit of the French legal authorities to try the two men, who are also the subject of prosecution in France, since 1995 for the priest and 2000 for the former senior official.

However, this decision did not arrive by diplomatic way to the Court of Appeal of Paris which was to initially rule on a possible transfer of the two men to the international tribunal in Arusha. A copy of the deferral order arrived by email to the prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Paris. The president of the investigation chamber gave the ICTR until 30 January to officially address to it the decisions concerning the two men.

If the court does not receive the original documents on this date, "it will draw all the conclusions", warned Edith Boizette.

The services of the ICTR, questioned Friday, explained why the file containing this decision had left the same day towards Dar Es Salaam and that it should thus have arrived to their recipient. Any emanating document of the ICTR is transmitted to French courts, as with other national courts, by the means of the embassy in Dar Es Salaam which submits it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which transmits it to the Ministry of Justice which circulates it towards the concerned chamber. For the 13 years that the ICTR has existed, this type of procedure has been grounded away little by little. On average, a decision takes between 8 to 15 days to arrive to its recipient.

Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta were arrested in France at the request of the ICTR which wished to see them transferred while awaiting their judgment. On 21 November, the chamber had already deferred to 12 December the examination of this request for transferring while waiting for the documents which the ICTR should have sent to it before 15 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.

Arrested a first time in July 2007 at the request of the ICTR, which wished to see them imprisoned until the international case was transferred to France, they were released. A second arrest warrant, this time issued in September, had led to their arrest, then to their release a few days later, by the investigation chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris.

© Hirondelle News Agency