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RWANDA

France arrests Rwanda genocide suspect

French police have arrested a former Rwandan colonel wanted for his alleged role in the east African nation's 1994 genocide, his lawyer said Saturday.

Laurent Serubuga, around 75-years-old, was apprehended near the northern French city of Cambrai on Thursday under an international arrest warrant issued by Rwanda, lawyer Thierry Massis said.

Serubuga was being held in detention and a hearing has been scheduled for next Thursday, but may be postponed to a later date, the lawyer said.

Serubuga was a deputy Rwandan army chief of staff during the April-July genocide in 1994 in which an estimated 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, were killed by the ethnic majority Hutus.

Alain Gauthier, who heads Rwandan victims' group CPCR, said Serubuga's arrest was "excellent news".

"Colonel Serubuga had as much responsibility in the genocide as colonel (Theoneste) Bagosora," he said, referring to the most high-profile figure condemned by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Bagosora, described by the prosecution as the mastermind of the genocide, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2011.

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RWANDA

Macron proposes day of commemoration for Rwanda genocide

French President Emmanuel Macron proposed an annual day of commemoration for the Rwanda genocide on Sunday as the African nation marked 25 years since the massacres of the minority Tutsi community.

Macron proposes day of commemoration for Rwanda genocide
African Union chief Moussa Faki, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at 25th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide in Kigali, Rwanda on April 7. Photo: Y
The French leader expressed his “solidarity with the Rwandan people and his compassion for the victims and their families” in a statement that proposed April 7 as an annual remembrance day in France.
 
Macron drew criticism from some activists for failing to attend the start of commemoration events in Rwanda on Sunday, instead sending a personal envoy, a Rwandan-born MP Herve Berville who was orphaned in the 1993 violence.
 
A Rwandan victims' group, Ibuka France, hailed Macron's announcement of a national Rwanda genocide day and said it had suggested the idea during a meeting with the 41-year-old leader last week.
 
“My reaction is one of satisfaction,” the head of the group, Marcel Kabanda, said before adding that he hoped France would now introspect more about its role in the massacres.
 
“It's not the French population fundamentally, but the political elite that needs to talk about it more. It will take time but it's a new phase,” he told AFP.
 
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The genocide has cast a long shadow over Franco-Rwandan relations. Rwanda's current President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, accuses France of having supported the ethnic Hutu forces behind most of the slaughter and of helping some of the perpetrators to escape.
 
On Friday, Macron announced the creation of a commission of historians and researchers that will delve into the French state's archives in a move intended to set the historical record straight.
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