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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 11:29 GMT
Rwanda seeks ex-first lady arrest
Former President Juvenal Habyarimana
President Juvenal Habyarimana's death sparked the genocide
Rwanda has demanded that France arrest the wife of its former President Juvenal Habyarimana on charges she was involved in the 1994 genocide.

Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama told the BBC that Agathe Habyarimana was one of the main genocide plotters.

Mrs Habyarimana has said that she and her relatives have been made scapegoats for the killing of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

She was recently denied refugee status in France after similar allegations.

Rwanda broke off relations with France last year in a row over the genocide.

A French judge accused Rwanda's President Paul Kagame of ordering the assassination of Mr Habyarimana - the act which sparked the genocide.

France has become a sanctuary for genocide perpetrators
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama
President Habyarimana was an ethnic Hutu, who had engaged in peace talks with Mr Kagame's Tutsi-dominated then rebels.

Mrs Habyarimana, 60, has been living in France since shortly after the genocide but only applied for political asylum in 2004.

Rwanda has long accused France of having links to those who carried out the genocide and last year started an official enquiry into the allegations.

Mr Karugarama said Mrs Habyarimana was a "category one" genocide suspect.

"So how can she sit and dine with French security and judicial authorities?... What they should be doing is to apprehend her and bring her before justice in Rwanda or before the ICTR [UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda] in Arusha or any other court that can try her," he said.

"Habyarimana's wife is not the only one, there are several genocide plotters in France... France has become a sanctuary for genocide perpetrators, even those who have been convicted," he told the AFP news agency.

Foreign Affairs State Minister Rosemary Museminari said France should now act on a long-standing request to extradite Mrs Habyarimana.

France's OFPRA refugee agency rejected her asylum request, citing numerous documents "giving serious reasons... to believe that she participated as instigator or accomplice in committing genocide," said her lawyer Philippe Meilhac.

He said the accusations were baseless and pointed out that the UN tribunal for the Rwandan genocide had not sought her arrest.


French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere last November issued indictments for nine close aides to Rwanda's President Kagame.

Under French law, Mr Kagame has immunity as head of state.

President Kagame furiously denied any involvement in Mr Habyarimana's death and accused France of actively supporting the killings.

"It is France that supported the genocidal forces, that trained them, that armed them, that participating in fighting against the forces that were trying to stop the genocide," he told the BBC last year.

France denies involvement in the genocide and says its military intervention helped Rwandans.

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