21.02.08 - RWANDA/FRANCE - PARIS APPROVES TRANSFER OF NTAWUKURIRYAYO TO ICTR

Paris, 21 February 2008 (FH) - The lawyers for genocide suspect, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, announced Wednesday their intention to file to the Court of Appeal against the decision of a lower court's order to transfer the accused to the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), trying key suspects of the 1994 slaughter.
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Ntawukuriryayo, a former sub-prefect of Gisagara during the 1994 genocide, has been in detention in France since 16 October following a warrant of arrest issued by the ICTR on 21 September, 2007. He was arrested in southern French town of Carcassonne.

His indictment says he co-ordinated the killing of up to 25,000 Tutsis at Kabuye Hill near Gisagara over a five-day period in April 1994.

The court of appeal of Paris on 14 November 2007 ordered his transfer but the decision was quashed by the final court of appeal. The case was then filed in another court.

Meanwhile, the investigation chamber has scheduled for 21 May examination of the extradition request of Isaac Kamali, filed by the Rwandan government.

The French magistrates have requested from the Rwandan authorities more precise details of charges against Mr Kamali, who has obtained French citizenship since his arrival in France.

Kigali accuses him of genocide and of crimes against humanity in Gitarama. He was sentenced to death in absentia by a Rwandan court, but the death penalty has now been abolished.

It has been reliably learnt that France also seeks to know if Mr Kamali will be tried by a criminal court or the traditional Gacaca, which are presided not by professional judges, but by people who are of high
integrity in the community.

The French magistrates will also have to verify if Mr Kamali still benefits from his refugee status after obtaining a French citizenship.

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