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A top French court, Le Conseil d’Etat (Council of State), has again thrown out the appeal for asylum by the former First Lady Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana.The Council of State has rejected her appeals for the umpteenth time now. 

Agatha Kanziga

Alain Gauthier, the president of the Paris-based rights group, Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR)–Collective Civil Parties for Rwanda–said the ruling means Kanziga will not have a residence permit.

Alain Gauthier

Her fate now lies with the French Ministry of Interior, that is expected to take the final decision, according to Gauthier.

“For us, the best thing would be for the courts to bring Kanziga to trial or extradite her to Rwanda,” Gauthier said. “What remains for Kanziga? Expulsion? But to which country? Who will accept her? An indictment and a trial would be better.”

Ibuka president Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu yesterday said: “The truth often ultimately prevails. Even all others who are still eluding justice, their cases will finally be sorted out.”

Who is Kanziga? 

The former first lady is regarded as a high-profile Genocide fugitive.

She has been indicted by Rwanda, and is on the CPCR’s pursuit, over charges of Genocide and crimes against humanity.

CPCR is a France-based organisation advocating for the rights of the 1994 Genocide survivors.

Kanziga is suspected of being a key figure in the creation of a clique of extremists, Akazu, which hatched and executed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

France, which maintained close ties with the genocidal regime in Rwanda, has been accused of blocking justice with regards to the Genocide.

Kanziga’s battle for refugee status moved to Paris’ State Council after her request for asylum was in January 2007 turned down by France’s refugee office.

Throughout the last decade, Kazinga has lived as a fugitive in several countries. She first crisscrossed Africa, with stints in Gabon, until she entered France in 1998, on a Gabonese passport.


Timeline: The Kanziga Saga 

July 2004: Kanziga presents application for asylum to France’s refugee office (OFPRA).

January 4, 2006: OFPRA rejects the request. Kanziga then appeals to the Commission de Recours des Réfugiés (CRR)– Refugee Appeals Board–the commission responsible for granting refugee status.

January 25, 2007: CRR also turns down her appeal.

February 13, 2007: CPCR lodges a complaint against Kanziga.

October 16, 2009: State Council rejects the appeal by Kanziga contesting being denied refugee status.

October 2009: Rwanda issues international arrest warrant for Agathe K. Habyarimana.

December 2009: Kazinga moves to apply for a residence permit from the Prefecture of Essonne.

March 2, 2010: She is arrested but released later.

May 4, 2011: Essonne prefecture turns down Kazinga’s plea for a residence permit.

October 6, 2011: The Versailles Administrative Court annuls the decree of May 4, 2011, and asks the Prefect to issue Kanziga with a one-month residence permit.

September 28, 2011: France refuses to extradite Kazinga to face trial in Rwanda.

December 21, 2012: Judgment of the Administrative Court of Versailles, which reiterates its request to the Prefect of Essonne.

June 4, 2013: The State Council cancels the October 6, 2011 judgment and another of December 21, 2012 by the Administrative Tribunal, and rejects the application by Kanziga before the Administrative Tribunal of Versailles.

The New Times