Rwanda genocide suspects could be tried in France

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PARIS, Nov 21 (Reuters) Two Rwandans indicted by an international court over the country's 1994 genocide could be tried in France after the Tanzania-based court today dropped demands for Paris to hand the men over.

Laurent Bucyibaruta and Catholic priest Wenceslas Munyeshyaka have been arrested in France twice since July under a warrant from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

They have been released but remain under investigation by the French judicial system.

The decision by the ICTR to give up its call for the two men to be handed over was announced in a Paris court, which postponed until December a decision on extraditing them.

The ICTR has charged Bucyibaruta, a former official in Rwanda's Gikongoro district, with genocide and incitement to commit genocide, extermination, murder and rape.

Munyeshyaka, former head of the Sainte-Famille parish in Rwanda's capital Kigali, was sentenced in absentia to life in jail last year by a Rwandan military tribunal for complicity in genocide, rape, and crimes against humanity.

Rwanda has sharply criticised a past French court ruling to free the two men. Kigali cut diplomatic ties with Paris last year following a French judge's call for President Paul Kagame to be charged with the death of his predecessor in April 1994, an event that unleashed the genocide in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died.

Former rebel leader Kagame and other critics accuse France of covering up its role in training the troops who carried out the massacres in the central African country and propping up Hutu political leaders.

France denies the charge and says its forces helped protect people during a UN-sanctioned mission in Rwanda at the time.

REUTERS TB BST0114

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