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Trial of Rwandans in France: The Removal of a Magistrate Worries Civil Parties

The civil parties in genocide trial of two former Rwandan mayors, which opens Tuesday in Paris, Monday, expressed their "deep concern" after the withdrawal of a specialized magistrate who was to support the charge.

Tribunal de grande instance de Paris.

Approached to represent the Crown alongside Philippe Courroye, Aurelia Devos, Director of Public Prosecutions in the cluster of specialized judges on crimes against humanity in the High Court of Paris, argued, scarce, a "clause conscience "to justify its withdrawal, less than a month before the trial began.

"We therefore question the reasons of such a situation that we hope does not mark a shift prosecutors whose written requisitions have contributed to the return of accused before the Assize Court," are alarmed in a press associations, including the international Federation for Human rights (FIDH), the Collective of civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR) and the international League against racism and Anti-Antisemitism (LICRA).

The public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Paris stated that the magistrate had on April 14, "informed the Attorney General of his decision to abandon his mission for reasons of its own "and another magistrate, Ludovic Hervelin-Serre, had immediately been appointed.

"The two general lawyers appointed to represent the Crown at the trial shall enjoy the full confidence of the Attorney General and will support the charge with all the rigor and firmness imposed these facts of genocide and crimes against humanity where are sent Octavian Ngenzi and Tito Barahira, given the evidence of the proceedings and debates to be held before the Assize court of Paris," added.

Octavian Ngenzi and Tito Barahira are the two men waiting to face trials.

The defendants, two former mayors Kabarondo, a town in eastern Rwanda, is accused of directly participating in the massacre of hundreds, possibly thousands of Tutsis in April 1994, mainly refugees in the village church. They face the life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Why this withdrawal Aurelia Devos, who brought the prosecution in the first trial related to the Rwandan genocide held in France in 2014? Speculation is rife about possible differences of views or method with Philippe Courroye, the former prosecutor of Nanterre media.

"There was no reply, but what we know is Aurélia Devos fully aware of the file and its removal is a very bad sign for the victims," said a lawyer close to the case.

By Robert Muriisa.

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