Rwandan Genocide: Pascal Simbikangwa appeal set, as DRC arrests Key suspect

ICTR Prosecutor General, Hassan Bubacar Jallow announced Ntangazwa's capture describing him as one of the "big fish"

ICTR Prosecutor General, Hassan Bubacar Jallow announced Ntangazwa’s capture describing him as one of the “big fish”.  UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The appeal trial of Rwandan genocide suspect Pascal Simbikangwa will open on October 24, 2016 before the Assize Court of Bobigny, according to a French based Huma rights organization; Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR).

Simbikangwa, who is based in France, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for genocide by the Assize Court of Paris in March this year.

The suspect had appealed the sentence and trial is set to take a period of about seven weeks of intensive proceedings but the CPCR says that this period will be costly.

“We learnt that the appeal trial of Pascal Simbikangwa will be held at the Bobigny Criminal Court from 24 October to 9 December 2016,” said Alain Gauthier, president of CPCR, in a statement released Thursday appealing to the international community to help the plaintiffs in paying for court fees.

Simbikangwa , an ex-officer of the Rwandan presidential guard during Juvenal Habyarimana’s regime is facing charges of genocide and conspiracy in the killings which claimed nearly one million Rwandans in 1994.

Rwanda has been at loggerheads with France over the prosecution of genocide suspects who have found safe haven in the European nation, occasionally sparking a diplomatic row between the two former allies on.
Pascal Simbikangwa, is the first and only Rwandan genocide suspect to be tried, convicted and sentenced by the French justice system, and Rwanda insists that more suspects, believed to be hiding in France should be brought to justice as well.

In a related development, another major Rwandan genocide suspect, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, 53, was arrested Wednesday near Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) town of Goma, according to the international Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR).

ICTR Prosecutor General, Hassan Bubacar Jallow said that the suspect was on the run for many years and is wanted for his role in training youth militias who participated in the genocide killings and for his personal role in the genocide. Ladislas Ntaganzwa is also accused of organizing mass rapes and the massacre of thousands.

The US had issued a $5m (£3.2m) reward for his arrest, describing him as one of the main instigators of the genocide. He was one of nine suspects still wanted by the UN for their alleged role in the genocide.
Rwanda, ICTR and the International community are urging DRC to transfer one of the most wanted genocide suspects to Rwanda to face trial.

Richard Muhumuza, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General told The New Times, a local daily that Rwanda “is prepared to prosecute Ntaganzwa before the specialised International Crimes Chamber of the High Court for the crimes he is accused of.

Survivors of the genocide and Rwandan leaders have hailed the big arrest.