Paris, 7 May 2008 (FH) - The Final Court of Appeal, highest court in France, rejected Wednesday an appeal of a Rwandan accused of 1994 genocide, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, and upheld the ruling by the Court of Appeal of Paris which authorized the accused's transfer to the Arusha, Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to stand a trial.

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Ntawukuriryayo, who was Deputy Governor of Gisagara, southern Rwanda, during the genocide, was arrested on 16 October in Carcassonne, south-west France, under an arrest warrant issued by ICTR on 21 September 2007.

Ntawukuriryayo, 66, arrived in France in 1999 and enjoyed residence visa.

The ICTR indictment alleges that the acts of Ntawukuriryayo led to killings of not less than 25, 000 ethnic Tutsi refugees on Kabuye Hill, Butare Province, Southern Rwanda, between 21 and 25 April 1994.

The Investigation Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris in November, 2007, agreed to transfer Ntawukuriryayo to the ICTR's detention facility in Arusha but the decision was quashed due to legal errors by the Criminal Chamber of the Final Court of Appeal.

The case was re-examined by the Investigation Chamber, but composed of new judges who on 14 February ordered the accused's transfer to the UN tribunal, but the accused challenged the ruling.

Two other Rwandans accused by the ICTR are currently held in Europe under an ICTR extradition request. They are former Minister for Planning Augustin Ngirabztware (held in Germany since September 2007) and Michel Bagaragaza, detained in The Netherlands after the cancellation of transfer of his case to the Dutch courts.

The tribunal has tried 35 people while 28 others are currently on trial. Eleven trials are on-going, four of which have closed and are awaiting judgments.

The UN Security Council has directed the tribunal to finish its first instance trials by 31 December 2008.

Six people, detained in Arusha, are still waiting to be tried.

The UN has estimated that about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the April-July slaughter in Rwanda.


© Hirondelle News Agency