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Asylum for militia leader

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RWANDA: Rights groups decry French asylum given to genocide
suspect
NAIROBI, 3 Feb 2003 (IRIN) - Human rights groups have
protested against France's decision to grant asylum to a man
sought by the Rwandan government for allegedly being a
Category One genocide suspect.
In a statement issued on 31 January, the Federation
internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme, the French
Ligue des droits de l'homme, Cimade and Survie said they were
"stupefied" by the granting of refugee status to the individual,
whom they did not name, by France's Commission des recours
des refugies. They said that France's Office francais de
protection des refugies et apatrides had earlier denied the
request on the basis of article 1.f.a, which excludes from
protection under the Geneva Convention any person regarding
whom there is substantial reason to believe had committed a
crime against humanity.
 
The statement noted that the individual was not being sought by
 the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, created by the
UN Security Council by resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 for
"the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other
serious violations of international humanitarian law committed
in the territory of Rwanda between 1 January 1994 and 31
December 1994".
However, IRIN has learned that the individual in question is
Pierre Tegera. According to the Rwandan government, Tegera
served as an honorary president of the Kibilira commune chapter
of the Interahamwe in the prefecture of Gisenyi. Together with
the then-Rwandan army, the Interahamwe - ethnic Hutu militias
- were largely responsible for the slaughter of some 800,000
ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate ethnic Hutus from April to
July 1994.
 
Noting that genocide suspects had reason to fear "inhumane and
degrading treatment" if they were to return to Rwanda, the
statement called on French political and judicial authorities to
bring such suspects to trial in France, with all guaranties therein
implied, following the example of Belgium and Switzerland.
The Rwandan government defines Category One suspects as
persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal
participation place them among the planners, organisers,
instigators, supervisors and leaders of the crime of genocide or
of a crime against humanity; persons who acted in positions of
authority at the national, prefectorial, communal, sectoral or cell
level, or in a political party, the army, religious organisation or
militia and who perpetrated or fostered such crimes; notorious
murderers who by virtue of the zeal or excessive malice with
which they committed atrocities distinguished themselves in
their areas of residence or where they passed; and persons who
committed acts of sexual torture or violence.