Rwanda rejects call to charge Kagame

KIGALI - Rwanda yesterday rejected calls by a French judge to indict President Paul Kagame for his alleged involvement in the death of the country's former leader that sparked the 1994 genocide.

KIGALI - Rwanda yesterday rejected calls by a French judge to indict President Paul Kagame for his alleged involvement in the death of the country's former leader that sparked the 1994 genocide.

"The allegations are totally unfounded. The judge is acting on the basis of gossip and rumours," said Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.

Karugarama accused the judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, of playing political games over the allegations that will further worsen the already frosty relations between Kigali and Paris.

"These are political games rather than a judicial process," he said.

On Monday Bruguiere said Kagame should be prosecuted for war crimes before the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda because of his "suspected involvement" in the death of then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana.

But Rwanda has accused France of abetting the genocide, in which about 800000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were slaughtered by Hutu extremists during a 100-day killing spree between April and July 1994.

France has adamantly denied the allegation, but Rwanda has charged a commission with determining whether there is evidence to file a suit against France for damages at the world court.

Karugarama said his government would not respond to Bruguiere's allegations by seeking to indict French President Jacques Chirac over the genocide. - Sapa-AFP

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