Paris, June 9, 2011 (FH) - The administrative tribunal of Nantes (West of France) requested in a decision released on June 6 that the French Minister of Interior reexamines its decision to refuse Gratien Kabiligi a visa.

1 min 8Approximate reading time

A former Rwandan military officer, Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi was acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in December 2008.

Since then, he has been living in a safe house in Arusha, waiting for a resettlement in another country. Most of western countries are hesitant to host genocide-acquittals, arguing that their presence may threaten public order.

For this same ground, French Embassy in Tanzania refused in November 2010 to grant Gratien Kabiligi a visa despite the fact that his wife and children live in France.

According to Nantes' court, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs had said that "M. Kabiligi's presence in France would reinforce Rwandan authorities concern that France hosts "alleged genocidaires" and " Hutu power" members, hence would affect diplomatic relations with Rwanda".

In his decision, Nantes tribunal requests that  the Minister of Interior "take a new decision within a  month".

« Gratien Kabiligi should get his visa in the coming month », his lawyer Alexandre Varaut told Hirondelle News Agency.

"He his yearning to join his family. He has no intention to be involved in any controversy or political activity in France", he added. "He has had it up to here with justice and all kind of problems. He won't believe it's over before the flight takes off".

Kabiligi's wife and two daughters settled in France in June 2008, were they were then granted the French citizenship

Kabiligi was arrested in 1997 and his trial started in 2002. He was acquitted in 2008. The prosecution did not appeal the case.


© Hirondelle News Agency