French court approves extradition of Rwanda genocide suspects
A French appeals court on Wednesday approved the extradition of two Rwandans wanted by Kigali for their alleged role in the 1994 genocide that claimed some 800,000 lives.
The ruling on Claude Muhayimana, 52, a French citizen since 2010, and Innocent Musabyimana, 41, is not final and can still be challenged.
Although many countries such as Canada have extradited genocide suspects, France has so far refused to do so.
The case will now go up to a higher court for a final ruling. If approved, France will have to sign an extradition treaty with Rwanda for the two men to be sent back.
Muhayimana is accused of taking part in the massacre of ethnic Tutsis in the western town of Kibuye and Musabyimana in the north-western Gisenyi province near the Congolese border.
Both men have already appeared in front of appeals courts in Dijon and Rouen which ordered their extradition. The rulings were quashed by the Court of Cassation — France’s highest appeals court which rules only on points of law — which sent them on to the Paris appeals court.
French prosecutors said that while the two men could not be extradited on a number of the crimes attributed to them, they could be for those of genocide and crimes against humanity.