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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Genocide suspect to be deported
Tharcisse Muvunyi
Tharcisse Muvunyi is accused of acts of inhumanity
A Rwandan war crimes suspect that human rights campaigners say is responsible for 100,000 deaths is to be deported, to face trial for genocide and acts of inhumanity.

Tharcisse Muvunyi has dropped his bid to block the deportation, after assurances that he would be protected once he is back in Africa and that he could return to the UK if acquitted.

The 46-year-old had said his deportation would be a violation of his right to life, as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

An army lieutenant-colonel in the Rwandan civil war, witnesses allege he commanded two regions where thousands of people died during the massacres of the minority Tutsi tribe, by the majority Hutus in 1994.

In the event of an acquittal he will be put on an aeroplane back to London

Solicitor Michael Fisher
One report accused him of authorising the seizure by troops of 22 children who were never seen again.

Mr Muvunyi has been living as a refugee in south London on benefit since 1998.

He was arrested on 5 February, in response to a warrant from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Mr Muvunyi is now expected to be sent to Arusha, Tanzania, for trial by the war crimes tribunal.

His lawyers were due to ask the High Court to free him from detention at Belmarsh prison, south-east London.

But on Thursday, Nigel Pleming QC, appearing for Mr Muvunyi, told Lord Justice Buxton and Mr Justice Penry-Davey that he was now ready to return to Africa.

Massacred Tutsi civilians
Thousands of civilians died in the civil war
Michael Fisher, Mr Muvunyi's solicitor, said: "He now has a cast-iron guarantee that, in the event of an acquittal, he will be put on an aeroplane back to London and will be allowed to remain here until his refugee status has been considered afresh."

Mr Pleming told the judges that Mr Muvunyi currently had permission to remain in Britain until 2002.

His wife and family were also in the country.

Negotiations over his safety and his return to the UK had continued up to the last minute.

On Thursday morning a letter confirmed that the tribunal would ensure that, if acquitted, Mr Muvunyi would be provided with a ticket and a security escort to the plane which would return him to London, said Mr Pleming.

But David Lloyd Jones QC, appearing for Home Secretary Jack Straw, emphasised that Mr Straw would reserve the right to consider revoking his refugee status, should he return, "in the light of prevailing circumstances".

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See also:

07 Feb 00 | Africa
UK court detains Rwandan colonel
22 Jan 00 | Africa
Rwanda updates genocide list
18 Mar 99 | Africa
Eyewitness: Rwanda's survivors
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