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Ottawa confirms deportation of man linked to Rwanda genocide

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The Canadian government has confirmed the deportation of a man long accused of crimes linked to Rwanda's genocide.

After waiting nearly 24 hours, the government announced Tuesday that Léon Mugesera had been sent back to his native Rwanda the previous day.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the announcement in Montreal. He said that, for 16 years, Mr. Mugesera abused tools available to him to avoid deportation.

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Mr. Kenney said all necessary steps have been taken to ensure Mr. Mugesera won't be tortured by current Rwandan authorities. Concern that he might face extrajudicial punishment had delayed his expulsion.

Mr. Mugesera is wanted in Rwanda for allegedly inciting genocide and for committing crimes against humanity.

Amid a flurry of legal activity, Mr. Mugesera lost two judicial battles Monday in provincial and federal courts, paving the way to his deportation.

A last-ditch attempt at obtaining a stay was rejected by the Federal Court, putting an end to a nearly two-decade legal fight that had gone all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. Mugesera was a Rwandan political operative who delivered a fiery anti-Tutsi speech in 1992; he referred to them as cockroaches and suggested they should be exterminated.

While Canada was slow to confirm the deportation, the government of Rwanda applauded the news Monday.

"Léon Mugesera's deportation, while decades past due, is welcome news for a people committed to healing and justice," said a note from the Twitter account of Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

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"Canada did the right thing."

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