France has announced plans to create an official service within the Paris high court to investigate crimes against humanity and genocide as part of a legal reform bill that will be put before parliament in the first half of this year.
Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told the French newspaper Le Monde that their ministries were working to "speed up judicial treatment of war crimes and genocide cases that tend to drag on for years."
"France, the founding nation of human rights, will never be a sanctuary for perpetrators of genocide," the two ministers added.
The ministers said the new judicial unit would have special powers to try crimes occurring outside French jurisdictions, like those committed in connection with the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
The central African country claims that French soldiers stationed there were partly responsible for the violence, saying they sided with majority Hutus during their three-month genocide of minority Tutsis.
The plan was announced on the same day Kouchner arrived in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, for talks with President Paul Kagame.
This is the first meeting between between high ranking French and Rwandan officials since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties in November.
Editor: Susan Houlton