France 'to allow first genocide extradition to Rwanda'

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Up to a million people are estimated to have died in the genocide

A French court has for the first time approved the extradition of a suspect to Rwanda on charges over the country's 1994 genocide, local media reports say.

A court in the town of Rouen decided that French-Rwandan dual national Claude Muhayimana, 51, could be sent back to Rwanda, AFP reports.

However, the French government still has to approve the extradition.

Mr Muhayimana's lawyer said her client denies all charges and would be appealing against the decision.

"My client believes he has no guarantee that he will be judged by an impartial court given the current situation there," Geraldine Boitieux told AFP news agency.

The court ruling follows an international arrest warrant for Mr Muhayimana issued in December. He is accused of taking part in genocide and crimes against humanity.

Mr Muhayimana says he would be ready to stand trial in France or at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), but not in Rwanda itself, Ms Boitieux said.

The Rwandan ambassador to France, Jacques Kabale, said in a statement that he was "satisfied" with the decision.

Mr Kabale insisted that Rwanda's courts were able to guarantee Mr Muhayimana's right to a fair trial.

Between 800,000 and one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the 1994 genocide perpetrated by Hutu militias.

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