12.11.10 - ICTR/FRANCE - FRENCH JUDGES STILL INVESTIGATING CASES REFERRED BY ICTR THREE YEARS AGO

Arusha, November 12, 2010 (FH) - French judiciary is still investigating the two cases which were transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) three years ago, Hirondelle News agency learned on Friday.
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In November 2007, ICTR referred to French courts the cases of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and former Gikongoro prefet Laurent Bucyibaruta, both of them living in France.

"The Prosecutor appointed monitors in France to observe and report on progress made by France in investigating and prosecuting the two accused persons whose cases were referred to France", ICTR Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Bongani Majola told Hirondelle News Agency on Friday.

"The monitors have reported that France is still busy investigating the cases in terms of their law", added the South-African lawyer.

Indictments had been issued by the ICTR Prosecution office and confirmed by judges from the same tribunal. However, according to French law, judges can also pursue their own investigations.

Arrest warrants issued by the ICTR had been cancelled in order to allow the transfer of the cases to the French judiciary.

Priest at the Parish of the Holy Family in Kigali between 1992 and 1994, Father Wenceslas lives in exile in Gisors (North-west of France) since 2001. He is accused of killing and raping several persons and handing over dozens of Tutsis to the Interahamwe militiamen, who then killed them.

France indicted him in 1995 but in 2004, the European Court of Human rights condemned the country for its slowness in dealing with the case.

In Rwanda, Father Wenceslas was sentenced in 2006, in absentia, to life in jail.

Laurent Bucyibaruta lives near Troyes (North-east of France). A former member of Juvénal Habyarimana's party, MRND, he was indicted by the French judiciary in 2000.

The ICTR alleges that he incited the Interahamwe to perpetrate the genocide in Gikongoro (South of Rwanda).

Several Rwandans living in France, including Habyarimana's widow Agathe Kanziga, have been indicted by the French judiciary for their alleged role in the 1994 genocide but none of them have been tried yet.

ER/GF/FK

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