May 7, 2008 / 4:32 PM / 10 years ago

France allows Rwanda genocide suspect handover

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s highest appeals court opened the way on Wednesday for a former Rwandan official accused of coordinating the massacre of thousands of people during the 1994 genocide to be handed over to a U.N. court.

The Cour de Cassation rejected an appeal by Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, who had been living in France before his arrest last year, against a transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

It was not immediately clear when the transfer would take place.

Ntawukuriryayo was sub-prefect of the town of Gisagara in the southern Rwandan province of Butare during the 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. He is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide and inciting the public to commit genocide.

According to the 2005 tribunal indictment, Ntawukuriryayo played a central role in a massacre at Kabuye hill near Gisagara in which thousands of Tutsi refugees were rounded up and ordered to go to a hill where they were told they would be safe.

Ntawukuriryayo organised soldiers and militias to go to the site to kill them, it says.

“As a result of his actions, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo was responsible for the death of as many as 25,000 Tutsi refugees who were killed at Kabuye hill during the period of 21st to 25th of April 1994,” the indictment said.

Reporting by Thierry Leveque, writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Jon Boyle

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