Rwandan request to extradite widow from France fails

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The Independent Online

The widow of Rwanda's former President, wanted in connection with the 1994 genocide, has won her court appeal against extradition from France.

Agathe Habyarimana has been sought by the Rwandan state prosecutor since 2009 on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. She denies the accusations. The Paris court's reasons for the decision were not immediately available. Rwanda could make a second request, but an extradition now appears unlikely.

Rwanda's genocide was triggered when President Juvenal Habyarimana died after his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on 6 April 1994.

Some 500,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, were massacred by radical Hutus in under 100 days. The massacres ended when Tutsi-led rebels under the current President, Paul Kagame, defeated the Hutu extremists in July 1994.

French forces flew Mrs Habyarimana out of Rwanda shortly after the violence began and she has lived in France for years.

The head of the Rwandan government's National Commission for the Fight against Genocide last year claimed Mrs Habyarimana was the "main architect" of the genocide.

French police detained the widow last year, but she was released on condition that she check in regularly with police.

At the court, Mrs Habyarimana said she was "delighted" with the decision.

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