French arrest ex-Rwandan first lady

March 3, 2010 at 8:01 AM

PARIS, March 3 (UPI) -- French authorities said they arrested the former first lady of Rwanda, one of the more prominent fugitives of the 1994 genocide living in France.

Agathe Habyarimana was arrested Tuesday by French police and taken in for questioning about her alleged involvement in the 1994 massacre in the African country, The New Times in Kigali, Rwanda, reported Wednesday.

The newspaper said Habyarimana eventually was released and placed under judicial control.

Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said he was encouraged by the events.

"We are trying to put the pieces together -- she was summoned by the judicial police to respond to the charges. ... Rwanda has already issued an international arrest warrant against her to the French authorities," Karugarama said. "We are waiting to see what is going to happen."

The Rwandan genocide was the 1994 mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and Hutu political moderates by the Hutu-dominated government. It began April 6 with the assassination of then-president Juvenal Habyarimana and lasted about 100 days, during which time an estimated 800,000 people were slaughtered.

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