Paris, July 13, 2012 (FH) – A French judiciary team of twelve members arrived on July 2 in Rwanda to investigate cases linked to the 1994 genocide. Composed of two examining magistrates, one prosecutor, one registrar, the team also included eight investigative officers from the military corpse Gendarmerie.

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« Our investigative group increased from 4 to 8 and should have very soon 10 to 12 members”, the head of the French investigative unit, colonel Frustié, told Hirondelle News Agency. That would make the special unit as big as its Belgian or Dutch counterparts.

The French specialized war crimes unit is currently in charge of around twenty cases of Rwandan genocide-suspects living in France, but it should also handle soon cases of torture, or special requests from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

During his four-day visit to Rwanda, colonel Frustié met military officers, several GFTU leaders and local prosecutors. General Prosecutor Martin Ngoga, who had violently criticized the slowness of French judicial procedures, was officially unavailable.

“We were really welcomed, Frustié explained. Police officers of the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU) are extremely useful as they open doors for us. Prosecutors help us to obtain hearings with prisoners, and military officers help us to track certain people. I was very happy with this trip to Rwanda”.

According to the head of the Rwandan Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU), Jean-Bosco Sibiyintore, “it’s the first time France sends a mission of this size and level”.

French special unit priority is to be able to close down an investigation for a first trial to start in France.

According to several sources, four cases are on top of the list for the French justice: two cases deferred by the ICTR (Laurent Bucyibaruta and Wenceslas Munyeshyaka), and those of two suspects currently in custody, former military intelligence officer Pascal Simbikangwa and former mayor Octavien Ngenzi.