France arrests, charges Rwanda ex-official over 1994 genocide

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has on occasion accused Paris of not doing enough to bring to justice those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity, and being unwilling to extradite suspects. – EPA pic, September 23, 2023.

FRANCE this week arrested and charged a former top Rwandan regional official over the country’s 1994 genocide, a source close to the case said today.  

Pierre Kayondo, who was prefect of the Kibuye region and also a former MP, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity, the source, who asked not to be named, told AFP, adding he had then been remanded in custody.  

Kayondo had been targeted by an investigation in France since 2021 after a complaint was filed against him by a victims’ association.  

He was believed to have been living in the northern port city of Le Havre.  

France has been of the top destinations for fugitives fleeing justice over the massacres in which around 800,000 people, most of them ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered over 100 days.  

Rwanda under President Paul Kagame has on occasion accused Paris of not doing enough to bring them to justice and also not being willing to extradite suspects.  

But France has tried and convicted a former spy chief, two ex-mayors, a former hotel chauffeur, and an ex-top official since 2014 while a former military policeman is currently on trial.  

Relations between both countries have also warmed considerably since a historians’ report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron and released in 2021 recognised France’s “overwhelming” responsibilities in failing to halt the massacres.  

In their complaint, the Collective of Civil Parties of Rwanda (CPCR) accused Kayondo of taking part in the organisation of massacres and helping to set up armed groups.   

CPCR co-founder Alain Gauthier expressed satisfaction that the “complaint was followed by the opening of an investigation and that justice took an interest in Mr Kayondo. It’s good.” – AFP, September 23, 2023. 

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