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Genocide suspect Dr Eugene Rwamucyo released as France refuses to extradite him to Rwanda

Doctor Eugene Rwamucyo:
French court has rejected Kigali’s request to extradite him

A French court on Wednesday rejected Kigali’s request to extradite Rwandan doctor Eugene Rwamucyo, who is suspected of involvement in the 1994 genocide.

The court in Versailles, just outside Paris, also ordered the release of Rwamucyo, who was arrested while attending a funeral in May on the strength of an international warrant issued by Rwanda in 2007.
This is a relief because this matter is very political and so it’s a victory of law over politics,” said Rwamucyo’s lawyer, Philippe Meilhac.
Rwamucyo is wanted by Kigali for having allegedly planned and carried out atrocities in the Butare region of southern Rwanda.
The doctor, aged in his 50s, is still the subject in Paris of a complaint filed by the families of genocide victims for crimes against humanity.

“The idea is not to avoid proceedings,” said Meilhac. “We hope that French justice will pick up the pace and hear his case (brought by the families) as there’s nothing worse than not being able to defend onself.”

Alain Gauthier, who heads Rwandan victims’ group CPCR, called on French magistrates to “take in hand the other 17 or 18 cases as Mr Rwamucyo is only one among many.”

A court in the southwestern city of Bordeaux is to rule on October 7 on an extradition request against Sosthene Munyemana, another doctor accused of involvement in the genocide.

France has transferred three Rwandan suspects to Tanzania to face prosecution before the international tribunal, but judges have so far refused to extradite genocide suspects to Kigali.

In recent cases, French courts have ruled that the suspects cannot expect a fair trial in their homeland.

Rwamucyo’s arrest came nearly three months after police detained Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of Rwanda’s assassinated ex-president, and one of the alleged masterminds of the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

It also follows President Nicolas Sarkozy’s landmark trip to Kigali in March during which he said France would do everything possible to ensure that “all those responsible for the genocide are found and are punished.”

Rwamucyo lived in Belgium with his family and until April worked as a doctor in a city hospital in Maubeuge, northern France.

In an interview to AFP last year, Rwamucyo denied the allegations of genocide. He accused the Tutsi-led government in Kigali of waging a campaign against him.

They are trying to make people believe that all of the Hutus who held any position of responsibility at the time were thinking about killing Tutsis,” Rwamucyo said.

Rwanda has repeatedly accused France of allowing genocide suspects to live comfortable lives in French towns and villages and turning a blind eye to calls for them to face justice.

This news comes amid intense activities of Human Rights groups urging the UN and the international community to cease the cover-up of Rwandan leaders’ genocide crimes. A recent UN report, due to be officially released on October 1st, accuses Paul Kagame and the Rwandan army of crimes against humanity and acts of genocide against Hutus in the DR Congo. Experts estimate that Kagame’s invasion of DR Congo has already cost more than 6 million Rwandans and Congolese lives .

September 15, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: PM Makuza sworn-in as Kagame rules out changes in Cabinet team

Kigali – President Paul Kagame, reappointed on Tuesday former ministers to their portfolios, maintaining the entire cabinet line-up.

Kagame had earlier on, indicated that he was not about to change a team that was still vibrant and delivering. He made the remarks on Tuesday at the Parliament, during the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, who was reappointed on Monday evening.

The ceremony was attended by top government officials, lawmakers and diplomats.
In the 8-minute address to the joint session of Parliament, President Kagame accepted the Oath of PM Makuza who sealed his stay at the helm of government which he has led since 2000.

What does the Prime Minister do?

The Prime Minister’s Office, PMO in short, under the authority of the Prime Minister, is entrusted with assisting the Prime Minister in implementing the following mission:
• Formulate the Government program in consultation with other members of the Cabinet
• Assign duties to the Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Cabinet
• Convene Cabinet meetings, draw up the agenda of the Cabinet in consultation with other members of the Cabinet and communicate it to the President;
• Preside over the Cabinet meetings when the President is not in attendance
• Countersign laws enacted by the Parliament and promulgated by the President of the Republic;
• Appoint civil and military officers with the exception of those appointed by the President of the Republic;
• Sign orders in respect of the appointment and promotion of junior officers of Rwanda Defense Force and National Police

The 49 year-old Makuza took the Oath at exactly 11:00am (0900GMT), some eight days after the swearing of President Kagame, and some seven days left to the end of the constitutionally stipulated timeframe for a PM to be in place.

President Kagame said that he would “wish” to see the current cabinet team returned without any changes – after the new Prime Minister Bernard Makuza had just taken the Oath of Office.

“Even if it will be a new cabinet, I can promise you that a majority – if not all, will return,” said Kagame as the audience in the Parliamentary buildings erupted into lengthy applause.

Essentially closing up on the silent debate that has been ongoing as to who will be named to the new government, President Kagame was clear that he did not expect any changes at the moment.

“That is my wish. I hope we will agree on that with the Prime Minister very soon to avoid a continued vacuum, to allow cabinet to start work soon,” said Kagame, as the audience gave him more applause.

“For those who were preparing to be appointed,” said Kagame as his address was swallowed up by the continued applause, before adding: “You will have to be a little bit patient.”

“As I can see, the current team is not tired yet. We will look at the other aspects in the years to come,” said Kagame.

Kagame said that although the ceremony was about the swearing-in of a new Prime Minister, Makuza was not new to the position. The President pointed out that during his last mandate, a lot was accomplished, and added that there is still more to be done in the next seven years.

He went on to say that he would like to have a nation of hardworking citizens who would fast track the country’s development. The Head of State thanked the leaders for their partnership and commitment. As Prime Minister, he will be in charge of coordinating cabinet activities in accordance with guidelines set by the President.

Makuza, 49, who does not belong to any political party, served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to Burundi and Germany, prior to becoming Prime Minister in 2000, under ex- President Pasteur Bizimungu. He continued as Prime Minister under President Kagame – up until today.

General Kagame reappoints Bernard Makuza as Prime Minister

September 15, 2010   1 Comment

General Kagame reappoints Bernard Makuza as Prime Minister

Bernard Makuza:
Rwandan Prime Minister since 2000.

Kigali – President Paul Kagame has reappointed Bernard Makuza as Prime Minister on Monday. He is to remain PM after 10 years.

This was announced by the Office of the President.

“According to the Rwandan Constitution, the President has to name the Prime Minister within 15 days of the inauguration and in turn, the Prime Minister will work with the Head of State to identify and put in place a new government or cabinet.”

“As the constitution requires, President Kagame named Bernard Makuza Prime Minister who will be sworn in today in the Parliamentary Building,” official communication from President’s Office indicates.

Speculation had been rife suggesting the Social Democratic Party (PSD) could be asked to provide a candidate for premiership. The most likely candidate was Lower Chamber of Parliament and losing presidential candidate Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo.

But during preparations for the Kagame swearing, Makuza received all the Heads of State who were in Kigali for the inauguration fete.

As Prime Minister, Makuza will now commence the search for those to make up the cabinet, in consultation with President Kagame. Parliament has no role.

According to the Official Website of the Prime Minister, with regard to his responsibilities, the Premier is in charge of coordinating the functioning of the Cabinet in accordance with broad guidelines set by the President of the Republic, and ensures the implementation of the law.

He also formulates the Government’s program in consultation with other members of the Cabinet, assigns duties to Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Cabinet.

Among his powers, he can also convene Cabinet meetings, draw up the agenda of the Cabinet in consultation with other members of the Cabinet and communicate it to the President; he can also preside over Cabinet meetings when the President is not in attendance.

The Prime Minister can also countersign laws enacted by the Parliament and promulgated by the President of the Republic, and also appoint civil and military officers with the exception of those appointed by the President of the Republic.

Among other things, he can sign orders in respect of the appointment and promotion of junior officers of Rwanda Defence Force and National Police.

Prior to his appointment as Prime Minister, 49 year-old Makuza, who is not a member of any political party, was Rwanda’s Ambassador to Burundi and Germany.

His first appointment came under President Pasteur Bizimungu in March 2000, as he replaced Pierre Célestin Rwigema.

He remained as the head of a new government named on March 8, 2008, which was composed of 21 ministers and six secretaries of state.

September 15, 2010   No Comments

Former RPA Army Officer pins genocide suspect Kagame on killings

Hutu Refugees in Goma:
Most of them were killed by the RPA, according to the former RPA officer

As the Rwandan Government grapples to shake off international uproar over the leaked UN report accusing the Rwandan troops of committing acts of genocide and mass murder in DRC,a former RPA Major has joined the fray, accusing genocide suspect General Kagame of systematic Hutu mass killings since 1990. Major Alphonse Furuma also accuses Kagame of attempting to kill former President Habyarimana at the aborted swearing in ceremony of the broad based government early 1994, and reveals why former MP Evariste Burakari, was assassinated.

In a lengthy statement to The Newsline, Maj. Furuma, a former Rwandese Patriotic Army Political Commissar during the RPA war, and later Aide de Camp (ADC) to the former army Chief of Staff Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, further accuses his former Commander in Chief, President Kagame, of ordering killings of thousands of innocent civilians during the RPA war and after capture of power.

Maj. Furuma, the first senior officer to fall out with Kagame, details numerous Hutu mass killings, dating from the early days of RPA invasion.

He also accuses Kagame of ordering systematic massacres, laying of mines, looting property,demolishing homes and other building as well as destruction of crops so as to displace the population and create an RPF/RPA controlled territory free of the Hutu.

These crimes, Furuma explains, were carried out between 1992-4 in the Districts of Muvumba, Ngarama, Bwisigye, Kiyombe, Mukarangye and Cyumba. Other districts were Kibali, Kivuye, Cyungo, as well as in Kinigi, Butaro, Cyeru and Nyamugari.

He further says military operations were carried out against known civilian targets, in most cases peasants. ‘Known Refugee Camps and densely populated villages and Towns were routinely shelled with 120 mm motors, 107 mm rocked launchers and 122 mm guns mounted on hill tops overlooking such locations,’ he writes.

Examples of these incidents include the shelling of Rwibare Refugee Camp in Muvumba, Kisaro Refugee Camp in Buyoga as well as Byumba and Ruhengeri towns in 1991 and 1992.

The exiled officer claims that when the Arusha Peace Talks for Rwanda started in 1992, Paul Kagame launched a deliberate policy to create a Tutsiland through Hutu massacres, massive population displacement, property appropriation and land grabbing in the North East, East, South East and in Central Rwanda. “This is the policy we saw at work in 1993, 1994 and 1995,” Furuma says in the statement.

Furuma also accuses Kagame of assassinating Hutu elites including members of the RPF/RPA like Member of High Command Muvunanyambo who was killed in 1992 as well as many civilian cadres recruited from the demilitarized zone in Northern Rwanda between 1992 and 1994.

‘Once again, the districts most affected include Muvumba, Ngarama, Bwisigye, Kiyombe, Mukarangye, Cyumba, Kibali, Kivuye, Cyungo, Kinigi, Butaro, Cyeru and Nyamugari,” he asserts.

The former officer also claims there were periodic revenge massacres against the Hutu population whenever the regime in Kigali massacred the Tutsi. For example such revenge massacres were carried out in the RPA Offensive of February 1993 covering the entire North of the country, he says.

The offensive was launched overnight, by morning several districts had been taken over by the RPA and in the hours and days that followed the Hutu were hunted and shot at sight.

In one location in the District of Ngarama, at least 134 people were massacred and buried in shallow graves’, Furuma writes.

From 1992 up to 1994, Major Furuma alleges politico-military cadres (RPF/A) were infiltrated behind government lines to carry out terrorist activities especially in urban areas.

From 28th December 1993 to 6th April 1994, this time using the RPA Unit in Kigali, more people were trained, arms distributed and an urban terrorist campaign launched against civilian targets in Kigali City,’ he adds.

Furuma says these terrorist groups, among others, targeted high profile politicians including the late President Juvenal Habyarimana, former Minister Gatabazi, Gapyisi and Martin Bucyana. ‘For example President Habyalimana had been a target for assassination between January and April 1994 at a swearing ceremony of the Broad Based Transition Government scheduled to have taken place at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kigali’, he says.

Major Furuma also says Kagame ordered counter genocide massacres covering the entire nation immediately the genocide started. ‘All RPA Units were under orders to kill any Hutu on sight and for several months, many soldiers did kill as many Hutu as they could’ the statement adds.

Furuma details the massacres at Rwesero Seminary on April 21, 1994, which included seven priests who had taken refugee there; the massacres at Kabgayi on June 5, 1994, which included three Catholic Bishops and other Church leaders; the massacres by the RPA Kigali Battalion in the hours and daysimmediately following the start of the genocide and, the killing of Hutu families in locations north of Kigali City like Kimihurura and Remera. Others massacres, he contends, were carried out in the Province of Gitarama.

September 15, 2010   No Comments