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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Rwandan anger at suspect release
Genocide memorial site
More than 800,000 people died in the 1994 genocide
The decision to free two Rwandan men in France may be politically motivated, Rwanda's representative at a tribunal trying Rwandan genocide suspects says.

"There is lots of politicking about genocide cases," Aloys Mutabingwa said.

A French foreign ministry spokesman said he hoped the decision would not put the rapproachement between Paris and Kigali into question.

The UN-backed tribunal wants to try the men in connection with the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 were killed.

A French appeals courts said their warrants issued by the tribunal were invalid and ordered their release.

Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, 49, a Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, 62, an ex-civil servant, were arrested on Friday.

They have lived in France for more than 10 years.

'Game'

"I naturally respect the court's decision but I cannot rule out such possibilities like a court of law not operating in a conducive political environment," Mr Mutabingwa told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

France had always shown political unwillingness with regard to arresting genocide suspects, many of whom live in France, he said.

Mr Mutabingwa said the recent arrest and acquittal of the men was "just a game that is being played".

He said he hoped the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which sits in Tanzania would hand over cases directly to Rwanda, which would seek their extradition.

"The French diplomatic authorities are going to go Rwanda and I believe that this is one of the matters that will be put on the table, and let's keep our fingers crossed."

Father Munyeshyaka is accused by the ICTR of murdering three young Tutsis in his Holy Family parish in the capital, Kigali.

He is also accused of raping four young Tutsi women between April and June 1994, and of calling on the extremist Hutu Interahamwe militia to commit rape.

The ICTR has accused Mr Bucyibaruta of "direct and public incitement to commit genocide".

Rwanda broke off diplomatic ties with Paris last year in a row over a French inquiry related to the 1994 genocide, in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The killings ended 100 days later when the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front took power.

Since then Rwanda and France have had an uneasy relationship.

The Rwandan government has accused France backing the perpetrators of the genocide.

However, a French investigating judge said current Rwandan President Paul Kagame was complicit in the assassination of former President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994, which sparked off the killings.

Mr Kagame accuses Hutu extremists of killing Mr Habyarimana, a moderate Hutu, in order to provide a pretext for the genocide.




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