Ex-President Habyarimana’s Widow Loses Bid to Stop Rwanda Genocide Prosecution

The Paris Court of Appeal dismissed the request of Agatha Kanziga Habyarimana, the widow of former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, to be spared prosecution over allegations of involvement in the 1994 Genocide.

The genocide against the Tutsi began with the downing of the plane carrying then-President Habyarimana and his Burundi counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, on 6 April 1994, which killed all those aboard.

Kanziga is accused of belonging to an inner circle of Hutus, called Akazu, who planned the killing of around 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

She has denied the accusation.

Lawyers for the 78-year-old, who lives in the Paris suburbs, wanted the case dropped on the grounds that it had progressed so slowly.

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The Rwandan government and survivors have wondered for more than two decades how Kanziga continues to evade justice.

The president of the French human rights group Collectif des parties civiles pours le Rwanda (CPCR) who filed genocide charges against Kanziga 14 years ago said last year that they were aware of the “insurmountable difficulties” they would face in bringing the former First Lady to justice when they first filed their complaint on February 14, 2007.

According to the CPCR, Kanziga could have been extradited, but the French Court of Cassation opposed any transfer to Rwanda on 42 occasions, possibly more.

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In November 2020, she was questioned by a Paris court in connection with an ongoing investigation involving Barril, who supplied arms and mercenaries to Rwanda’s genocidal government on behalf of France in 1994.

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