Agathe Habyarimana, suspected of being involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, asks the French justice to grant her a dismissal after 13 years of investigation and appealed against the refusal of the examining magistrate, a AFP learned Monday from his lawyer.
Aged 78, Agathe Kanziga is the widow of Juvénal Habyarimana, the Hutu president whose assassination on April 6, 1994 triggered the massacres against the Tutsi minority.
She had asked in September an investigating judge of the Paris court to close the investigation opened against her in 2008, citing the “unreasonable delay” of the procedure.
In this investigation, initiated by a complaint in 2007 from the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR), this key figure in Rwandan history was placed under the status of assisted witness in 2016, intermediary between witness and indicted. , and has not been questioned since about the facts.
On November 4, the judge rejected his request, in accordance with the requisitions of the Crimes Against Humanity section of the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office.
The prosecution argues that “the investigations are underway” and that “the request is therefore premature”, according to the order consulted by AFP. The judge also cites the health crisis among the circumstances which “necessarily slow down the execution of requests for international assistance”.
Ms. Habyarimana appealed against this refusal, which will have to be examined by the Paris Court of Appeal.
“All these years of work by the French justice have led to nothing,” commented his lawyer Me Philippe Meilhac. “The gravity of the facts does not make it possible to make a procedure last forever”, especially as “it allows a flood of accusations against my client which prevents her from obtaining a residence permit”, a- he added.
Ms. Habyarimana has been living in France since 1998, in fact without legal status since France refused to extradite her to Rwanda in 2011, but did not grant her asylum due to suspicions about the role she may have played in the ‘one of the worst tragedies of the twentieth century.
According to the UN, around 800,000 people, mainly in the Tutsi minority, were killed in three months in massacres triggered after the attack on President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994.
Exfiltrated in Europe three days later, Ms. Habyarimana is often presented as one of the leaders of the “akazu”, the inner circle of Hutu power which, according to her accusers, planned and orchestrated the genocide. What she disputes.
“We are shocked by such a request” for dismissal, reacted to AFP the president of the SCRC, Alain Gauthier. “Ms. Habyarimana must be held to account and be judged, but sometimes we have the feeling that justice is waiting for people to die to rule,” he said.
In these proceedings, Ms. Habyarimana was only questioned about the facts on two occasions: first by the gendarmes in 2010 and then on October 20, 2016 by the judge, as an assisted witness.
Since this interrogation, investigators from the Central Office for the Fight against Crimes Against Humanity (OCLCH) have visited Rwanda at least six times, the last time in September, to question possible witnesses in the proceedings, according to reports. sources close to the case.