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Saturday, November 6, 1999 Published at 15:49 GMT

World: Africa

Rwandan fury as genocide suspect freed

A soldier studies a memorial to the massacre victims

Rwanda is suspending co-operation with the UN-organised international criminal tribunal, following its decision to free a former government official accused of genocide.

The government said the release of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza was a travesty of justice of monstrous proportions for which there could be no conceivable justification.

"We're suspending all of our collaboration until we reach an understanding," said Patrick Mazimhaka, a minister of state in the Office of Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu.

The BBC's Chris Simpson: ''The government said the release was a travesty of justice''
The Rwandan government said Mr Barayagwiza was well known in Rwanda as a political extremist and a co-founder of a radio station which incited the killing of Tutsis in 1994.

Mr Barayagwiza was released on Friday in Tanzania after the tribunal's appeals court ruled there had been irregularities in the proceedings against him.

The appeal court judges, sitting in The Hague in the Netherlands, said he had been detained too long without trial.

They ordered him transferred to authorities in Cameroon.

'Fanatical ideologue'

Mr Barayagwiza, 48, had denied multiple charges including genocide and crimes against humanity.

Around 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered during the 1994 Rwandan massacre.

Mr Barayagwiza was serving in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time and was a senior official for the notorious Rwandan hate radio station, Mille Collines, which was blamed for helping to incite the genocide.

The government said Mr Barayagwiza was a fanatical ideologue who had played a leading role both before and during the genocide campaign.

Rwandan General Prosecutor Gerald Gahima said: "You don't just let someone accused of such serious offences off the hook merely on the grounds that they were held for a few months longer than necessary."

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