Deportation of alleged Rwandan war criminal on hold?
Published Wednesday, January 11, 2012 9:02PM EST
Leon Mugesera, the Quebec City resident who is accused of helping to incite the 1994 Rwandan genocide, could be deported as early as Thursday.
But he may be staying in Canada for now, thanks to an order from the United Nations Committee Against Torture.
Lawyer Johanne Doyon says Mugesera is also suffering from a health problem, and that he had to be taken to hospital Wednesday.
Doyon said the UN is concerned that Mugesera will be tortured if he is sent back to the African nation.
The latest developments come after Mugesera's final request for a stay on his deportation order was rejected Wednesday in Federal Court.
Mugesera is accused of helping to incite Rwanda's genocide by delivering a 1992 speech that promoted the killing of ethnic Tutsis. Within months of the speech, Hutu-backed militias began a 100-day massacre of Tutsis and Hutu that led to the deaths of between 800,000 and one million Rwandans.
If successfully deported, Mugesera will become the first Western refugee claimant to be sent back to Rwanda to face war-crimes charges.
Mugesera arrived in Canada in 1992 and was granted permanent resident status. That status was later revoked and he was ordered deported in 1995. Two Canadian immigration tribunals later upheld decisions to deport him.
The federal government had been reluctant to deport Mugesera in the past because he could have faced the death penalty in Rwanda. That changed in 2007 when Rwanda dropped the death penalty for convicted war criminals.
A final decision was rendered last month. It declared that Mugesera's life would not be in danger if he were returned to Rwanda to stand trial.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney applauded Mugesera's impending deportation.
"This fellow has had 17 years in Canada," Kenney told reporters during an event in Montreal.
"He has had the advantage of every level of legal appeal -- including the Supreme Court of Canada.
"Our fair legal system has determined that he is here illegally, he's guilty of serious war crimes, and that he has to face justice in his country of origin."
With a report from The Canadian Press