05.07.11 – FRANCE/JUSTICE – NEW LAW CREATING A SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT ADOPTED BY FRENCH DEPUTIES

Paris, July 5, 2011 (FH) - French National Assembly adopted on Monday night a new law creating "a special investigative unit specialized in dealing with crimes against humanity, crimes of war and acts of torture" , which will be located within the lower court of Paris (TGI).

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This special investigating unit, composed of dedicated lawyers and investigators, will first be focused on twenty Rwandan cases pending before Paris tribunal.

In the short term, it should deal with all cases opened in France related to crimes against humanity including genocide, crimes of war and acts of torture.

According to the new law, examining magistrates from the Special Unit will now be able "within the frame of an international rogatory letter sent to a foreign country […] and with the agreement of local authorities, to proceed to hearings on their territory".

Fabienne Pous, one of the examining magistrate who has been working for eight years on Rwandan cases  told Hirondelle News Agency that it was "excellent news. At last, we are officially allowed to go to Rwanda to question witnesses".

She has already done seven trips to Rwanda since January 2010 to investigate Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta’s cases.

"Rwanda justice is searching for its independence and doesn’t have enough means to help us beside all their good will", she added. "We are going to be able to work using our own judiciary system and our own standards".

"We will now need more human resources so this new Special Unit doesn’t stay an empty shell", she concluded.

The needs are estimated to a total of ten investigators, six full time magistrates, six registrars and four assistants.

FP/ER/GF

© Hirondelle News Agency