Alleged Rwandan war criminal gets weekend in Canada

An alleged Rwandan war criminal will learn Monday if his efforts to stay in Canada were successful.

Superior Court Justice Michel Delorme needs the weekend to rule on Léon Mugesera’s plea that he will face torture if deported to Rwanda, the Globe and Mail reported.

Mugesera asked court today to delay his deportation so a United Nations committee can investigate the torture claims.

Canada is bound by international treaties to give the UN the time it needs, defence lawyer Martin André Roy said.

“It’s intolerable that countries could just set aside their own treaties,” Roy said, according to the Globe. “But I’ll admit, Your Worship, that we are swimming in relatively new legal waters.”

A lawyer for the federal government, which wants to deport Mugesera immediately, said the torture claims have been proven unfounded.

“The risks were the subject of an exhaustive analysis, and was based upon a substantial amount of evidence,” Lisa Maziade said. “The question was studied at length and in great depth.”

More on GlobalPost: Mugesera ordered deported back to Rwanda

The UN committee’s investigation could stretch six months, CTV News said. Federal lawyers argued against the delay, saying provincial judges have no jurisdiction in immigration hearings.

But Delorme said he needed the weekend to review the legal implications.

While all legal options appear to have been exhausted, one of defense lawyers suggested another appeal exists, and that would keep Mugesera in Canada.

"It's a possibility," Philippe Larochelle told Agence France-Presse.

Mugesera is accused of inciting genocide and war crimes. He’s alleged to have called Tutsis, in a 1992 radio address, “scum” and “cockroaches” while encouraging his fellow Hutus to kill them. Shortly thereafter, the one-time academic and political activist fled to Quebec City, where he’s been fighting extradition ever since.

As many as 1 million Tutsis were massacred in a little more than three months in the mid-1990s. Mugesera, who was rushed to hospital after his last hearing on Jan. 11, is being held in a detention center.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.