The widow of Rwanda's former President Juvénal Habyarimana, Agathe, was arrested in France yesterday on the basis of an international arrest warrant seeking her extradition to Rwanda to stand trial for charges related to genocide. See the story in Le Monde.
In the past year or so, several European students have refused to extradite to Rwanda on the grounds that the justice system does not provide satisfactory guarantees of fairness to an accused. Sweden, on the other hand, has agreed to extradite a suspect to Rwanda; the case is currently before the European Court of Human Rights. Courts and justice officials in Europe have been encouraged by decisions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda refusing to transfer suspects to Rwanda.
But the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has suggested that the problems with Rwanda's justice system are in the course of being resolved. He has said he expects to apply again for transfer of cases to the Rwandan courts. If the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda support this, it will open the door to extraditions from Europe and elsewhere.
Agathe Habyarimana was in Rwanda at the time the genocide began, but was soon evacuated to France. She was widely alleged to preside over an inner circle that played a role in organizing the 1994 genocide.
Thanks to Dov Jacobs.