Paris, 16 January 2008 (FH) - The Court of Appeal, last legal recourse in France, annulled Wednesday for procedural reasons, the decision to transfer to the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) former sub-prefect of Gisagara, southern Rwanda, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, accused of having taken part in the 1994 genocide.

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The investigation chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris had authorized on 14 November the transfer of Ntawukuriryayo, 65, to ICTR following an arrest warrant issued against the accused in September 2007 by the UN Court.

The ruling of the Court of Appeal was reversed on account of procedure; the magistrates having forgotten to mention, as the statute stipulates, that Mr. Ntawukuriryayo had the final word.

One of his lawyers, Philippe Greciano, welcomed the decision and saying that they were "satisfied to see that the Appeal Court respected the right of the accused".

Ntawukuriryayo, a Rwandan refugee living in France since 1999, was arrested on 16 October in Carcassonne, Aude. The ICTR accuses him of genocide and complicity in genocide.

"French courts that had allowed themselves to give lessons to the ICTR got itself caught in the procedure", stated Alain Gauthier, president of the Collective Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR).

The ICTR indictment alleges that due to acts of Ntawukuriryayo and his subordinates, no less than 25 000 Tutsi refugees were killed on Kabuye Hill between 21 and 25 April 1994.

© Agence Hirondelle