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European court halts Rwandan genocide suspect extradition

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16:15 CEST+02:00
Sweden has delayed plans to extradite a Rwandan genocide suspected following an appeal by the European Court of Human Rights to review the case.

"The court has decided to indicate to the Swedish government that Mr. (Sylvere) Ahorugeze should not be extradited to Rwanda until further notice," Cecilia Riddselius, the Swedish justice ministry official in charge of the case, told AFP.

"The Swedish government considers that this decision of the court will be respected," she added.

Ahorugeze is suspected of having been one of the leaders of the Hutu extremists involved in the genocide.

He also stands accused of murdering 28 Tutsis in a suburb of the Rwandan capital Kigali on April 7th, 1994.

Sweden's Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said last week that Ahorugeze, a 53-year-old former director of Rwanda's civil aviation authority, would be extradited.

Ahorugeze was arrested in July 2008 after being recognized at the Rwandan embassy in Sweden while a refugee in neigbouring Denmark. Rwanda requested his extradition a month later.

The country's Supreme Court ruled on May 27th that Ahorugeze could return home to stand trial, saying there was nothing in Swedish or European law that prevented someone suspected of genocide from being extradited.

But the European court has said it wants more time to review the case before Sweden goes ahead with the extradition.

Hutu extremists killed some 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis but also some moderate Hutus, during the 100-day genocide.

Many nations, including Switzerland, have been reluctant to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda, citing concerns over the central African nation's rights record and the independence of its judiciary.

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