Paris, August 25, 2011 (FH) - The administrative tribunal of Nantes (West of France) requested in a decision released on August 23 that the French Minister of Interior reexamines "within fifteen days" its decision to refuse Gratien Kabiligi a visa for the second time.

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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.

On July 4, the French Minister of Interior had already rejected Kabiligi's same request arguing that his presence may threaten public order.

According to Nantes tribunal, the Minister of Interior "relies on hardly supported allegations" to refuse Kabiligi a long term visa. Its presiding judge Bernard Madelaine states that "the International community would not be disturbed by the fact that a State which signed the Treaty creating the ICTR welcome on his territory a man who was acquitted by the very same tribunal".

However, Rwandan President Paul Kagame is expected in Paris for an official visit on September 12. "French government might prefer to wait for the visit to be over before complying with the tribunal demand", Kabiligi's lawyer Alexandre Varaut told Hirondelle News Agency. "We understand that they don't want to ruin the atmosphere", he added.

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