Rwanda genocide suspect in France denies allegations, says lawyer | Voice of America

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PARIS – A lawyer for an alleged former Rwandan spy boss living in France says his client denies allegations he was involved in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Aloys Ntiwiragabo is currently under investigation by the share of French prosecutors.In an interview with VOA, lawyer Benjamin Chouai said his client Aloys Ntiwiragabo had been living in France for years.

One of Ntiwiragabo’s two lawyers, Mr. Chouai said the French authorities were fully aware of his client’s whereabouts, since Ntiwiragabo applied for legal status here.

French judicial authorities said on Saturday that they had opened an investigation into crimes against humanity targeting Ntiwiragabo.

The decision followed a report from the investigative news site Mediapart, which tracked down the former intelligence chief and his wife in a suburb of Orleans, about 110 kilometers south of Paris.

The former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, or ICTR, once identified Ntiwiragabo as one of the architects of the Rwandan genocide that killed around 800,000 people.

But, according to the AFP news agency, the ICTR, now replaced by another mechanism, had long since abandoned an arrest warrant against Ntiwiragabo, just like the French and Rwandan authorities.

Reports suggest investigators appear to have lost track of her years ago.

Lawyer Chouai said his client was not hiding.

He said Ntiwiragabo never hid his true identity in France and that he was now available to answer questions from investigators. His client strongly contests the Mediapart report, Chouai says, and insists that he played no role in the genocide.

Radio France International reports that Ntiwiragabo remained in the Rwandan army during the genocide but at least initially opposed a key organizer of the killings.

Ntiwiragabo is also the author of a 2018 book offering his version of the larger Great Lakes conflict of the 1990s, through the French publishing house Editions Scribe.

The French investigation into his actions follows the arrest in May in France of another major genocide suspect. Félicien Kabuga was accused of having financed the genocide. The 84-year-old has been in hiding outside Paris for years and is now appealing his transfer to Arusha, Tanzania, to stand trial.

Alain Gauthier, who heads a group of survivors of the French genocide, estimates that several dozen other suspects are still on the run in France. He denounces the slowness of the French judicial system.

Other suspected suspects include Agathe Habyarimana, widow of the former Rwandan president, whose death helped spark the genocide. She lives outside of Paris.

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