Rwanda 'war criminal' protests eviction

2012-01-10 14:00
Montreal - An alleged Rwandan war criminal has appealed to Canadian authorities not to deport him later this week, saying he faces persecution if he returns to his country.

Leon Mugesera - alleged to have made an infamous speech in 1992 that played a major role in inciting the 1994 genocide in which radical ethnic Hutus killed as many as 800 000 Tutsis - has been ordered to leave Canada by Thursday.

But his lawyer said on Monday Canada had "erred" in its decision because Mugesera, now in his late 50s, would face political persecution in Rwanda.

There, Mugesera is considered "an opponent of the regime and an enemy of the regime", attorney Johanne Doyon argued in a federal court in the French-speaking Quebec province, where Mugesera has lived since 1993.

She went on to accuse Rwanda's current government of "torture, assassinations and abductions".

The Canadian government argued that it has received adequate guarantees from Kigali that Mugesera will not be mistreated and would be given a fair trial back home. It also noted that Rwanda abolished the death penalty in 2007.

Doyon called the diplomatic assurances "inadequate".

The federal judge must make a decision by Thursday, when Mugesera is to be evicted following a more than 15-year legal battle to remain in the country. Canada's Supreme Court upheld his deportation in 2005.

On Saturday, Kigali urged Canada to ensure Mugesera's deportation to Rwanda.

In the infamous 1992 speech, Mugesera allegedly called Tutsis "cockroaches" and "scum", encouraging his fellow Hutus to kill them and send them "home to Ethiopia" by river - the same river many were later thrown into dead or alive.

Read more on:    canada  |  rwanda  |  east africa

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