The New Times (Kigali)

8 December 2012

Rwanda: France Offers Permanent Residence to Mrs Habyarimana

Photo: SteveRwanda/Wikipedia
Kigali, Rwanda.

THE president of Ibuka Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu has expressed disappointment over the decision by a French court granting the wife of former president Juvenal Habyarimana, Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana, 70, a permanent residence permit.

The order granting the Genocide suspect the permit was made by a court in Essonne Prefecture.

"It is sad news. We have advocated many times that she should be arrested but in vain. France is aware of it but because of the links between her family and France they keep according her and her family the right they don't deserve," said Dusingizemungu.

He said that despite the evidence Rwanda's prosecution has provided to France, the latter has been reluctant to help bring Kanziga to book.

"We had made it clear that she played a major role in 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. All nations are aware .What we want is justice. We shall keep advocating for her prosecution," Dusingizemungu vowed before adding, "But what I know is that France has been dragging its feet on this issue, it is a kind of insult to Rwanda" he added.

Ibuka, a Genocide survivors' organisation strives to memorialise the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi and provides aid and protects genocide survivors. It also assists in the ongoing prosecution of perpetrators, contests Genocide denials and maintains an extensive archive of Genocide related material.

Kanziga was the subject of an international arrest warrant issued in October 2009 over genocide and crimes against humanity.

"The request of Ms. Habyarimana is the archetype of an application for staying to private and family life," the lawyer of Kanziga Me Philippe Meilhac, told French newspaper Le Figaro.

Because "she has no attachment to his country and all her family is in France," he added.

"We felt there were much political contingencies in this case," the lawyer said, adding that the request for Agathe Habyarimana had been made "at a time when France and Rwanda revived their diplomatic relations."

The prefecture of Essonne dismissed in May 2011 the application for a stay of the widow of the former Rwandan president, citing in particular "threat to public order" that Agathe Habyariman would face.

"Mrs Habyarimana is often presented as one of the leaders of the" Akazu," the first circle of Hutu power unit which, according to her accusers, planned and implemented the Genocide in which a million ethnic Tutsis were killed.

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