German police have arrested Rose Kabuye, chief of protocol for Rwandan President Paul Kagame. She is sought for questioning by a French judge on the background to the country's genocide in 1994.
Kabuye was arrested at Frankfurt airport
Rose Kabuye, the Rwandan director general of state protocol, was detained at Frankfurt airport on Sunday, Nov. 9, on the basis of an international arrest warrant.
"I can confirm she has been detained," a spokesman said. "German justice authorities will be responsible for the next step." He said he had no further details.
Lef Forster, Kabuye's lawyer, told AP news agency in Paris that Kabuye had agreed to be extradited to France, where she was expected to arrive in a few days for questioning about the 1994 attack on the plane of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana.
Plane crash was the last straw
More than 500,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the Rwandan genocide
In 2006, France issued arrest warrants over the crash for nine of President Kagame's associates, including Kabuye, prompting Rwanda to break off diplomatic ties with Paris.
After the Hutu leader's aircraft was mysteriously hit by a missile, his death triggered the genocide in the central African nation of about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Kagame was then leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which defeated the Habyarimana government's Hutu militias to end the genocide.
Though Rwanda was a Belgian colony until its independence in 1962, France kept close links with the Francophone nation from 1975 to 1994, giving financial and military support.
France sent troops to Rwanda at the height of the genocide under a UN-authorized operation, saying it was safeguarding the provision of food and emergency medical services.
President has diplomatic immunity
Under French law, a warrant cannot be issued for Kagame because, as head-of-state, he has immunity.
In April this year, Kagame made a four-day state visit to Germany, reported Reuters news agency. Kabuye was allegedly among the party, but German law prohibits the detention of any members of an official delegation.
Rwandan Information Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said Sunday the arrest in Germany was "improper."
"We immediately sent a protest note (to the German embassy in Kigali) ... we emphasized that Rose Kabuye holds a diplomatic passport ... therefore the German government shouldn't have arrested her," Foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali told reporters late on Sunday.
In a statement, Rwanda's Information Ministry said the arrests were a "political game designed to blur the truth and weaken the government," reported Reuters.
Kabuye had been warned against going to Germany due to the arrest warrants, but she had traveled there and to other European countries earlier in the year without incident, the statement explained.
"Kabuye is innocent, which is why she undertook the trip despite warnings, and ultimately why she is ready to face trial in France," it said.