Arusha, 26 February 2009 (FH) - French justice hardly seems to have advanced in the proceedings concerning the two cases that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) entrusted to it, already more than a year ago.

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In a decision rendered on 20 November 2007, the ICTR declined jurisdiction to the benefit of the French courts for the cases of the former Governor of Gikongoro, Laurent Bucyibaruta, and of Priest Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, both live in France.

"Nothing to report so far", the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, told Hirondelle Agency Thursday when asked to comment on the progress of the cases before French justice.

Jallow designated two of his collaborators "to monitor the cases".

In its decision, the United Nations Tribunal had ordered that the indictments against Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta be "transferred to the French authorities, to charge them to seize immediately the relevant jurisdiction".

"It arises clearly from the correspondence addressed by the cabinet of the minister of justice to the prosecutor of the Tribunal that France is willing and completely ready to accept (these) cases", the decision added.

However, for its part, Rwanda had stated that France did not "have morale authority" to try defendants of the ICTR, itself being accused of collusion with the regime under which the 1994 genocide was committed.

Priest Wenceslas was during the genocide was a vicar of the parish of the Holy-Family in Kigali, where he would have, according to the ICTR prosecutor, killed and raped several people and handed dozens of others to the Hutu militias. The catholic priest had already been sentenced in absentia in a trial in Rwanda.

As for the former prefect, he is notably accused of having encouraged and having ordered many executions in his prefecture.

Also indicted (accused) for several years in France for facts related to genocide, the two men have claimed their innocence.

Arrested on 6 September 2007, in virtue of a new series of arrest warrants issued by the ICTR, they were released and placed under judicial supervision a few days later.

In February 2008, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the League of Human Rights (LDH), the Collective of the Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR) and Survival had requested the acceleration of the proceedings against two the Rwandans.



© Hirondelle News Agency