France wants to speed up the way it prosecutes genocide and crimes against humanity, creating a special investigative unit in a Paris court as more suspects allegedly linked to Rwanda's genocide are turning up in the country.
Human rights advocates say the French move is welcome, though overdue in a country long criticized for harboring foreign despots and for cushy relations with strongmen in its former African colonies.
Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner announced plans Wednesday to create a special judicial investigative service for crimes against humanity and genocide committed abroad.
The "judicial center" would handle such crimes that involve anyone - French or not - who lives in or travels to France, Justice Ministry spokesman Guillaume Didier said.
"The homeland of human rights, France will never be a sanctuary for those behind genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity," the ministers wrote in a column in the daily Le Monde newspaper.