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Genocide: Rwandan deportation delayed

13 January 2012, 14:30

Montreal - A Rwandan man facing deportation for allegedly helping incite that country's genocide has won a temporary legal reprieve to stay in Canada.

A Quebec court on Thursday ordered Canada's government to let Leon Mugesera stay in Canada for now.

The 59-year-old Mugesera is said to be in critical condition in a Quebec City hospital. He apparently fell ill on Wednesday, shortly after a judge ruled against what was thought to be his last-ditch effort to stay in Canada.

He was slated to be deported on Thursday to Rwanda.

Mugesera is expected to face criminal charges related to the 1994 killing of up to a million Rwandans.

Canadian Ministry of Public Safety spokesperson Mike Patton said Mugesera "will be removed as soon as possible" under Canadian law.

"Like all refugee claimants, this individual benefited from Canadian high standards of due process, Patton said. "He was ordered deported in 1996 and has unsuccessfully been making his case in front of numerous courts and tribunals for fifteen years."

War criminals

Patton said "war criminals will find no haven on our shores".

Mugesera would be the first person suspected complicity in Rwandan war crimes or crimes against humanity returned by Canada, said Canada Border Services spokesperson Luc Labelle.

Further complicating the extradition is a request by the UN Committee Against Torture that Canada keep Mugesera here while it investigates his claims he'd be tortured in Rwanda. Canada has been reluctant to deport Mugesera in the past because he could have faced the death penalty in Rwanda.

However, Rwanda dropped the death penalty for convicted war criminals in 2007.

In recent months, The European Human Rights Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have each rendered decisions ordering accused war criminals back to Rwanda.

Canadian government lawyers said those rulings - coupled with an exhaustive look at the situation today - assure them that Mugesera would not be harmed if returned.

- AP

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