Agathe Habyarimana

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Agathe Habyarimana (née Kanziga) (born 1942[1]) is the widow of former President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana. Kanziga is part of a Hutu lineage that long ruled an independent principality until the late nineteenth century.[2] She was arrested by French authorities on 2 March 2010 in France following the French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Rwanda.[3]

She was frequently regarded as one of the powers behind the throne during her husband's 20-year presidency, and her family connections to powerful Hutu politicians are often regarded as having provided necessary political capital for Habyarimana. She was the centre of a powerful clique of northern Hutus called le clan de madame or akazu (Kinyarwanda for "little house").

On April 9, 1994, immediately following Habyarimana's assassination and the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide, she was airlifted out of Rwanda by French troops. In this exodus she was accompanied by thirty other members of the akazu, including Ferdinand Nahimana, director of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines. Upon arrival in Paris, she received a gift of 230 000 from the French government, from a budget allocated for "urgent assistance for Rwandan refugees".[4]

Agathe Habyarimana is the sister of Protais Zigiranyirazo, who was implicated in the genocide. She was denied political asylum in France on January 4, 2007, but remained in France. She was arrested on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 following French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Rwanda where he admitted to mistakes made by France over the genocide, further stating that France would seek out those responsible for the genocide who were living in France.

In September 2011, a French court denied Rwanda extradition of Habyarimana. A civil suit, perhaps thus weakened, remains.[5]


  1. ^ Twagilimana, Aimable, Historical Dictionary of Rwanda, p. 72
  2. ^ Meredith, Martin (2005). The Fate of Africa. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-246-7. 
  3. ^ "Intrigue and uncertainty follow arrest of 'Lady Genocide'". 
  4. ^ Gourevitch, Philip (1998), We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-312-24335-9 
  5. ^ "France rejects Rwanda's Habyarimana extradition bid". BBC News. September 28, 2011. 

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