France: Rwanda ex-first lady to stay

2011-09-28 19:27

Paris - A French appeals court on Wednesday rejected a Rwandan request to extradite alleged mass-killing mastermind Agathe Habyarimana, widow of the Rwandan president whose killing sparked the 1994 genocide.

Juvenal Habyarimana's widow, who has lived in France for over 15 years, was accused of genocide and crimes against humanity for her alleged role in the massacre of 800 000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, in just 100 days.

"I'm relieved, I've always had faith in the French justice system," Habyarimana said after the judge's decision.

She was briefly arrested under a Rwandan-requested international arrest warrant in France in March 2010, a few days after a visit by Nicolas Sarkozy to Kigali, the first by a French president since the genocide.

Habyarimana, 69, is accused of being a key member of the "akazu" inner circle that planned and implemented the killings which began after her husband's plane was shot down on April 6 1994.

The former first lady, accused of being one of the brains behind the genocide and of being more hard line than her husband, still faces a 2008 civil suit for alleged involvement in the genocide brought by a French Rwandan rights collective.

"The appeal court's decision will be a problem for the outcome of that procedure," said Habyarimana's lawyer, Philippe Meilhac.

"We can't stay like this forever. The very serious accusations against Mrs Habyarimana are old and completely denied by Mrs Habyarimana," he said.

Habyarimana has lived in France since she escaped Rwanda in 1994. She is awaiting a court ruling on her appeal against a decision to refuse her a French residency permit, meaning she is currently in France without any legal status.

Kigali authorities have accused Paris of not doing enough to arrest, detain and extradite genocide suspects. The two countries do not have an extradition treaty and so requests are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Read more on:    france  |  rwanda  |  war crimes  |  genocide

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

There is a tendency to get too caught up in group dynamics and high expectations and ideals, that your own personal needs more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.