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Africa

French court refuses extradition of Rwandan judge

media Court of Appeal in Versailles ca-versailles.justice.fr

A court in Versailles on Tuesday turned down Kigali's request for the extradition of Rwandan former magistrate Manasse Bigwenzaré, who is accused of involvement in the 1994 genocide.

The judge also ordered the lifting of judicial controls which had applied to Bigwenzaré since his arrest in June, just north of Paris, where he lives in a retirement home.

Kigali had obtained an international arrest warrant for Bigwenzaré, on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide.

Bigwenzaré said he was happy with the outcome, adding that he had "always known it was a lie", and that he had never been politically active in Rwanda.

Bigwenzaré obtained French nationality in 2010, after fleeing Rwanda on 8th April 1994, just after the killing began, according to his lawyer.

The judge noted that Bigwenzaré could be persecuted if he returned to Rwanda.

In December, the lawyer representing Rwanda raised the possibility of launching proceedings to try to have Bigwenzaré's refugee status annulled. Gilles Paruelle maintains Bigwenzaré used fraudulent means to obtain refugee status.

 

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