Rwanda Protests France’s Appointment of Convicted Genocide Plotter, Twagira

The government of Rwanda through the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has protested the recruitment of convicted Genocide fugitive Charles Twagira, by Hôpitaux Paul Doumer, a geriatric facility managed by Assistance Publique, Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) based in Labruyère, France.

According to CNLG data, Twagira is former regional director for health in Kibuye, the current Western Province and was tried in absentia, convicted of genocide crimes by Rwandan courts.

The development underscores the increasingly strained relations between France and Rwanda government who accuse France of direct involvement in the country’s genocide.

A new report commissioned by Rwanda’s government published on 13 December last year accuses France of supplying weapons and protection to the perpetrators of its 1994 genocide in which over 800,000 people were killed, deepening a feud between the East African country and its former benefactor.

The report by U.S. law firm Cunningham Levy Muse cites evidence that shows French complicity before, during and after the genocide by ethnic Hutu extremists against ethnic Tutsi and some Hutu moderates.

In 2016, Rwanda published a list of 22 French senior military officers it accused of helping plan and carry out the genocide, including Gen. Jacques Lanxade, France’s army chief of staff from April 1991 to Sept. 1995.

“Twagira is also one of the genocide’s planners in Kibuye Prefecture, where he incited local population to commit genocide against Tutsi,” Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of CNLG said.

Bizimana said Twagira should be prosecuted or deported to Rwanda where he was found guilty of genocide crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment on 1 September 2009 by Bwishyura Gacaca Court.

“CNLG considers this recruitment as a trivialisation of the Genocide, and calls on the French government to suspend this recruitment in accordance with the French criminal law,” reads part of the statement by CNLG.

Bizimana was found responsible for the massacre of the wife and children of his colleague, Dr. Camille Karibwende, former head of the Kibuye Hospital.

“He obstructed medical aid for thousands of Tutsi refugees at Gatwaro Stadium bordering Kibuye Hospital. He sent killers to the same stadium to massacre the Tutsi who had taken refuge there, and they buried several refugees alive,” said Bizimana.

In the indictment, genocide survivors accuse Twagira of establishing checkpoints in front of and inside the hospital to facilitate Interahamwe militiamen in preventing Tutsi from fleeing and murder them.

Charles Twagira arrived in France in 2006 from the Democratic Republic of Congo via Benin. He was arrested in March 2014 in Vire, where he had found refuge in Calvados, on complaint filed by the Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR).

He was released on bail by French courts on May 22, 2015 and then placed under judicial control. Rwanda issued an international arrest warrant against Charles Twagira on June 9, 2014, which was not followed up.

According to the French Penal Code’s article 138, paragraph 12, a person under judicial control, and this is the case of Charles Twagira, cannot exercise an activity of professional or social nature, in this case medicine.

Rwanda says the recruitment of Twagira is therefore a violation by France of its own criminal law and the international obligation to prevent and punish the perpetrators of the crime of genocide.

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