Paris, September 2, 2011 (FH) -  Former Rwandan minister of Public Works in the 1994 interim government, Hyacinthe Rafiki Nsengiyumva, was arrested in Créteil and placed in custody in a Parisian jail on August 9, following an extradition request issued by Rwanda in 2008.

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Rwanda accuses him of genocide, complicity of genocide and crimes against humanity for crimes committed " between April 6 and July 17, 1994 [...] in Kigali and Gitarama". Kigali's Prosecutor issued an international arrest warrant against Nsengiyumva in June 2008. Rwandan Judiciary has until September 8 to give the French Appeals Court enough evidence to support its extradition request.

If Rwandan Prosecution doesn't meet the dead-line, Hyacinthe Nsengiyumva might be released as no case has been filed against him in France.

"M. Nsengiyumva was not hiding. His legal papers are in order. He even wrote to ICTR's Prosecutor Richard Goldstone in 1995 - while living in Kenya - telling him he was at his disposal", his French lawyer Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse told Hirondelle News Agency.

"He is one of the only ministers from the Interim government who was never indicted by the ICTR, as nothing could be found against him. Why would Rwanda wait until 2008 to discover that he was a genocidaire ?', the Defence lawyer added.

On April 8, 1994, Nsengiyumva, then a member of the PSD (Parti social démocrate) was invited by Théoneste Bagosora to participate - with other political party leaders - to a crisis meeting which led to the creation of the Interim government. He was himself appointed Minister of Public Works.

Towards the end of the 1990s, the former Minister was one of the founders of the FDLR, an armed group composed of Hutu refugees and fighting Rwanda's new regime from Eastern DRC.

« He was excluded from the FDLR in 2005 following political discrepancy with the other leaders and later became a facilitator in the disarmament process in DRC", Courcelle-Larousse explained.

It took France three years to follow up on Rwanda's arrest warrant. Nsengiyumva was placed in custody just one month before Paul Kagame's visit to France, expected on September 12.


© Hirondelle News Agency