Arusha — In an interview this week, Rwandan Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga accuses France of "doing nothing" to bring genocide suspects on its territory to justice, and says Kigali does not rule out legal action against France.
"In eighteen years, France has not done anything with regard to the genocide suspects," says Ngoga in an interview with French review Jeune Afrique. " Why? Because it is still protecting them."
France has launched judicial investigations in several cases, but none has yet been brought to trial. These include the cases of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and former mayor Laurent Bucyibaruta which were referred to France by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997.
"Why haven't these cases been brought to trial?" asks Ngoga. "The ICTR gave France two case files. It accepted them and promised to process them with diligence. But for the last five years they have gone nowhere. I note that Laurent Bucyibaruta, former prefect of Gikongoro, was in the area controlled by the French army. I conclude that this is a way of protecting him. I don't have all the evidence, but we know how to read between the lines."
Ngoga told Jeune Afrique that Rwanda was considering taking legal action against France, although he declined to be more specific. "We haven't yet decided, it's up to the government," he says. "But we are not going to sit and do nothing while these individuals who have killed our people are enjoying impunity in France."
Ngoga also slams two recent French judicial decisions concerning Rwandan genocide suspects. On December 6, a court ordered authorities to grant a residence permit to Agathe Habyarimana, widow of the former Rwandan president and considered by Kigali to be one of the main architects of the genocide. And on December 19, a French court rejected Rwandan extradition requests for former minister Hyacinthe Rafiki Nsengiyumva and former administrator Vénuste Nyombayire.
"The court implied that our charges were politically motivated. We find that insulting and ridiculous," Ngoga told Jeune Afrique. "French judges must know that their country is the only one that hasn't launched any trials. There have been indictments in lots of other European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries."