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The Public Prosecutor v. Pascal Simbikangwa

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court Cour d'Assises de Paris, France
Decision title (Trial is ongoing)
  • Public Prosecutor
  • Pascal Simbikangwa, a.k.a. Senyamuhara Safari
Categories Crimes against humanity, Genocide
Other countries involved
  • Rwanda
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Procedural history

Pascal Simbikangwa, born in 1959, was the head of Rwandan central intelligence agency SCR (Service Central de Renseignement) during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. After the conflict in Rwanda, he lived in Comoros and in 2005 he moved to Mayotte (French island off the coast of Southeast Africa) under a false identity.

The international inquiry commission for Rwanda reported that Simbikangwa had been involved in the Rwandan genocide - probably as one of the main actors - and Interpol eventually put him on its wanted list. 

He was indicted in Rwanda on 3 March 2008 for genocide and complicity in genocide, conspiracy and organized crime. On 28 October 2008 he was arrested in Mayotte for producing and selling fake identity cards. During his detention for this crime, his real identity was established and the French police discovered he was wanted by Interpol. On 13 February 2009, the "collectif des parties civiles pour le Rwanda" filed a complaint in Mayotte. The public prosecutor of Mayotte then opened the case. In July 2009, he was transferred to the prison of Saint-Denis on the island of la Reunion.

On 4 February 2014, the trial of Pascal Simbikangwa started at the Court d'Assises de Paris, a primeur for France: it is the first time a Rwandan genocide suspect is tried before a French court. The trial is expected to last until 28 March 2014.

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Related developments

The trial is said to be the possible start of a whole series: currently, 27 cases related to the Rwandan genocide are being prepared by the Paris court's war crimes unit, including one focusing on Agathe Habyarimana (widow of the former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana), whose extradition to Rwanda was denied by a French court in 2011.

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Further analysis

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Additional materials

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