US appeals court affirms Oklahoma Rwandan ruling

Associated Press Published: October 10, 2012

But the decision says identifying those responsible for downing the aircraft is not necessary to the case because Kagame, as the sitting head of a foreign state, is immune from the court's jurisdiction while he is in office.

After the lawsuit was filed, the U.S. government, at the request of the Rwandan government, submitted legal papers that suggested Kagame's immunity and said the U.S. Constitution gives the president sole responsibility to represent the nation in its foreign relations.

The assassinations of the former leaders brought ethnic tensions between Rwanda's majority Hutus and Tutsis to the breaking point and triggered a wave of violence. The killings spread across the country and lasted about 100 days until Kagame, a Tutsi and the leader of the rebel army, overthrew the Hutu-led government. Habyarimana was a Hutu.

His widow, Agathe Habyarimana, lives in France and is wanted in Rwanda on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. France denied her request for asylum in 2004, but last year French courts refused to allow her to be extradited.