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Arrest sours ties between Rwanda and Germany -

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Arrest sours ties between Rwanda and Germany

The World Today - Wednesday, 12 November , 2008 12:35:00

ELEANOR HALL: Tension between Rwanda, Germany and France is growing as European authorities try to
bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

A senior aide to the Rwandan President was arrested last weekend in Germany, over suspicions that
she was involved in the attack on the plane that killed Rwanda's former leader and sparked the
genocide.

But her arrest has outraged the Kagame regime and Rwanda has now expelled Germany's ambassador.

Nicola Fell has our report

NICOLA FELL: As the diplomatic tensions between German and Rwanda escalate, Rwanda's Foreign
Minister has said the German envoy is not welcome until the arrest of protocol chief Rose Kabuye is
resolved.

Kabuye is one of nine senior officials wanted over the shooting down of the former president's
plane.

Hildegard Becker-Toussaint, a spokeswoman for the State Prosecuting Office in the German state of
Hesse explains.

HILDEGARD BECKER-TOUSSAINT (translated): The arrest warrant is for the murder and participation in
a terrorist organisation and she is accused of involvement in the assassination, namely the crash
of the then president's plane.

Many French citizen's were also killed in the crash. Families of the victim's are joint plaintiffs
and for that reason there is a strong interest in the prosecution of this woman.

NICOLA FELL: Rose Kabuye was arrested under a French arrest warrant issued two years ago. Back in
Rwanda, thousands of people turned out in the capital to protest against her arrest.

Linda Melvern author of Conspiracy to Murder, a study of the Rwanda genocide, explains why.

LINDA MELVERN: It is a very curious arrest, and I understand Rose Kabuye has elected to go to trial
in France. She's quite willing to be extradited to France.

She's very well known in Rwanda. She was a major in the Rwanda Patriotic Front who took part in
what they call the struggle to overthrow the interim government that was committing the genocide.
So she was one of the first RPF officers in Kigale when the city fell in July, and she became mayor
of Kigali.

Kigali at that time was a waste land. Everything had been looted, the country had 100,000 orphans,
so Rose Kabuye confronted huge problems when she became mayor.

NICOLA FELL: The Rwandan leader Paul Kagame is in Frankfurt for a series of meetings with business
leaders.

Ms Kabuye had arrived ahead of him to prepare for his visit. Mr Kagame, who visited his aide in
Preungesheim women's prison, argued she should not have been arrested because her trip was made in
an official capacity and therefore she was protected under diplomatic immunity.

PAUL KAGAME: Rose, it was official, because she had been assigned by the government to travel with
the president and in her usual capacity as assist to the president given her responsibility.

So however you judge mine or the status of my visit it is different from Rose's visit (laughs)
because even if you may call my visit private if that's what you want to do; Rose's visit to
Germany is not private.

Because it is official in as far as being the work of the President of Rwanda is concerned.

NICOLA FELL: But the murder of the then president is widely seen as the spark that led to the death
of some 800,000 people in Rwanda.

Linda Melvern believes that the Rwandan Government wants the case to go to trail so that the French
role in the genocide is put under a spot light.

LINDA MELVERN: Perhaps the Rwandan Government was surprised at the lack of reaction to its own
report on the role of France which came out this summer and based on witness testimony that showed
some damning evidence against France. And also the work of French journalists who have shown in the
last years that France, in a sense, had a secret command of the Rwandan army as the genocide took
place.

And it is also surprising that the French investigation, that produced this report, did not
interview as far as I know the five Belgian officers who were direct witnesses to the missile
attack that night.

It doesn't answer the main question as how the rebels managed to get through the 18 government
road-blocks to an area that was very heavily fortified and fire these missiles at the plane. So
there's a lot of crucial questions I think that need answering here.

NICOLA FELL: Ms Kabuye denies any role in the then president's death and is likely to be extradited
to France soon.

ELEANOR HALL: That report by Nicole Fell.