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Rwanda calls on Canada to extradite genocide suspects

[JURIST] Rwandan prosecutors have called for Canada to extradite five suspects in the 1994 Rwanda genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], according to Friday media reports. The five, who all appear on Rwanda's most-wanted list and whom Rwandan officials described as "masterminds" of the genocide, are accused of planning and encouraging massacres, supplying weapons to militia groups, and other crimes. One of the suspects, former professor Leon Mugesera [CTV profile], denied the charges.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously [text; JURIST report] that Mugesera, accused of inciting genocide, must be deported from Canada. In 1992 he gave a speech in Rwanda encouraging Hutus to kill Tutsis, a speech the Canadian high court concluded could be reasonably viewed as a crime against humanity. Shortly afterward the court ruling, however, Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler [official profile] said that Mugesera would not be extradited [JURIST report] unless Canada received binding promises that he would not face the death penalty if convicted. Rwanda abolished the death penalty [JURIST report] in July, and subsequently signed extradition treaties with countries in Africa, Europe, and North America. The law ending the death penalty, which took effect July 25, was largely motivated by Rwanda's desire to receive extradited suspects accused of crimes in the genocide. CBC News has more.

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