French Judge Issues Arrest Warrants Against Rwandan Officials

by Julian Ku

A judge in France has issued a series of arrest warrants against current high-level Rwandan government officials alleging they were involved in the 1994 assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana, the assassination that many believe sparked the eventual genocide by Hutus against the Rwandan Tutsi minority.

This isn’t a case involving international human rights law directly. Rather the French judge is asserting jurisdiction based on the deaths of French nationals who were flying the plane President Habyarimana was shot down in. Still, the warrants are not likely to go down well in Rwanda, which is currently investigating France’s own involvement in the genocide. This is likely to get ugly. Will anyone ever know who was responsible for the genocide? Which court (France, Rwanda, or the ICTR) has the ability or authority to decide? Can any court really ever resolve this? Sticky questions indeed.

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