Rwanda: Rights Group in France Pushes for Kanziga Trial

Mourners at a commemoration event at Murambi Genocide Memorial (file photo).
19 November 2020

A rights group in France says it is still baffled by the manner in which Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana, the widow of former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, who is a wanted Genocide suspect, continues to evade justice.

Kanziga is one of the core members of Akazu, a small elite group that orchestrated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Alain Gauthier, president of the France based rights group, Collectif des parties civiles pours le Rwanda (CPCR), which filed genocide charges against Kanziga 13 years ago says media reports on November 16 indicated that Kanziga appealed against a refusal by an investigating judge in charge of her case to close the investigation opened against her.

As noted, in her disturbing appeal, the former First Lady is citing the "unreasonable delay in the proceedings."

"If there is one point on which we agree with Ms. Kanziga, and it is the only one, it is that this matter has dragged on too long," Gauthier noted in a statement, reiterating how his group is offended.

Gauthier noted that when they first filed a complaint against Kanziga on February 14, 2007, "we were well aware that we were facing insurmountable difficulties."

Politically, he indicated, they knew that it was unfathomable to see how France, which had welcomed her in the first days of the Genocide, with heavy indemnities and a bouquet of flowers, was going to be able, 13 years later, to accept to try her.

Despite the fact that she officially has no residence, it is noted, "that does not prevent her from spending happy days (apparently not that happy), in her villa in Courcouronnes, surrounded by part of her family," which is far from being the case for many survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

According to the CPCR, Kanziga could have been extradited, but the Court of Cassation has opposed, on 42 occasions, and perhaps more, any transfer to Rwanda.

"Like Ms. Kanziga, we are in a hurry to finish, but not for the same reasons or for the same conclusion. Once again, we ask that French justice not to delay in bringing to justice those who have committed the crime of crimes in Rwanda, and who live on French soil," reads part of Gauthier's statement.

"Time is on the side of the executioners. We would like the match to end. But the defendants and their defense are happy to play for time."

Kanziga on November 3, appeared before a court in Paris for questioning in an ongoing investigation against Barril, a man who, among others, supplied arms and mercenaries on behalf of the French government to Rwanda's genocidal government in 1994.


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