QUEBEC CITY – A Rwandan man accused of inciting genocide lost his latest appeal to stay in Canada on Wednesday, but has taken his case to the United Nations, the Globe and Mail reported.
Shortly after learning his fate, an ambulance rushed Léon Mugesera to hospital; his wife and daughter followed behind in a car, but would not say what caused the emergency.
Mugesera faced a 2 p.m. ET deadline on Thursday to surrender to the Canadian Border Services Agency. In his ruling, Justice Michel Shore said he believed the Rwandan government, which guaranteed Mugesera’s safety upon his deportation.
“It is reasonable to believe in the good faith of the Rwandan government and to conclude the rights of individuals accused of participating in the genocide will be respected and that they will not be persecuted,” Judge Shore wrote in his decision handed down Wednesday morning.
Defense lawyer Johanne Doyon said her client would face torture and even death in his homeland.
"Unfortunately, the Federal Court, by the ruling of Justice Shore, does not respect the Charter and did not rule on the main aspect of the challenge that was before the court," Doyon said in the National Post.
Mugesera, 59, fled to Canada in 1995. He has fought extradition for nearly 16 years, trying to avoid Rwandan prosecutors who are anxious to pursue genocide charges against the former politician.
The case stems on a speech Mugesera made in 1992 that called Tutsis “cockroaches” and “scum,” and encouraged his fellow Hutus to kill them. The comments were made during a radio speech, and an arrest warrant was issued soon afterward; however, Mugesera fled to Quebec City, the CBC said.
As many as 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the Rwandan genocide.
News of Wednesday’s ruling caused immediate reaction from Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who said war criminals are exploiting Canadian generosity.
"At some point it turns into a mockery of Canada's generosity," he told CBC. "Eventually we have to remove war criminals and stop talking about it."
Mugesera’s latest appeal rests with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which agreed to investigate the case. The UNHCR asked Canadian officials to hold Mugesera, a letter from the group on Wednesday said. Immigration officials were not available to comment on the UN request or Mugesera’s hospitalization, the Globe and Mail said.
More on GlobalPost: Rwanda Now