Paris, March 17, 2001 (FH) - In an open letter to the French minister of Justice Michel Mercier, five Human rights organizations requested on March 16 that the Special investigative unit which should be created soon to speed up the way France prosecute genocide and crimes against humanity be "an efficient, credible and dissuasive tool".

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The goal of this unit would be to pool resources and create a one-stop-shop for genocide claims that are  filed in courts across France. French judges are currently examining 16 separate lawsuits linked to the Rwandan genocide.

Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International League of Human rights and Redress " welcome" the announce that this project will be presented in Senate on April 14 as part of a legal reform bill.

However, they note that the government bill doesn't seem to be including war crimes, torture and forced disappearances in the Special Unit 's domain. Therefore, they ask the French Minister to convince the Senate to add theses crimes in the bill.

They also recommend that the Special Investigative Unit be given enough resources and means to collaborate efficiently with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, immigration services, embassies, NGOs and victims' representatives.


© Hirondelle News Agency