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Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 23:14 GMT
Genocide suspect faces trial

More than half a million died in the Rwandan genocide More than half a million died in Rwanda's genocide

A former Rwandan minister wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has lost his final appeal in France against extradition on genocide charges.

Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, 46, who was minister for culture and education, is the first genocide suspect arrested in France.

Mr Kamuhanda was arrested in November in the central French town of Bourges, where he had been staying since March 1998.

He was detained in Paris on charges that he participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which betweeen 500,000 and 800,000 people were killed.

'Symbolic importance'

In its judgment, the French Cour de Cassation upheld a December ruling by the appeals court to hand over Mr Kamuhanda to the international tribunal.

The last word on extradition belongs to the French Government, which generally abides by the court's decision.

According to sources close to the ICTR, Mr Kamuhanda was not one of the masterminds behind the massacres, although his leading role in the provisional government that sponsored the bloodshed has given him symbolic importance.

Lieutenant Tharcisse Muvunyi was arrested in London on Saturday Lieutenant Tharcisse Muvunyi was arrested in London on Saturday
The failure of Mr Kamuhanda's appeal caps a string of successes for the tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania, after a setback in November when it announced the release of a major genocide suspect, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, because of mistakes made during the investigation.

Leading suspects have been arrested in the UK and Belgium at the tribunal's request over the past 10 days, while another suspect in the United States is expected to be transferred to Arusha shortly, after losing his final appeal.

The United Nations Security Council established the Rwanda tribunal in November 1994 to prosecute the architects and chief perpetrators of the government-sponsored slaughter of minority Tutsis.

The Rwandan Government has long complained that many of the alleged ringleaders of the genocide are living in relatively comfortable exile in the West.
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See also:
06 Feb 00 |  Africa
Rwandan 'war criminal' arrested in UK
31 Jan 00 |  Africa
Rwandan genocide suspect arrested
27 Jan 00 |  Africa
Rwanda Tribunal passes life sentence
22 Jan 00 |  Africa
Rwanda updates genocide list
12 Apr 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Mourning the Rwanda genocide
07 Apr 99 |  Africa
Former Rwanda ministers arrested

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