Leon Mugesera was deported from Canada on Tuesday and will soon face trial for war crimes in his native Rwanda.
Mugesera has been wanted by Rwandan authorities for nearly two decades for inciting mass murder.
In what was considered a precursor of the Rwandan Genocide, which killed about 800,000 people in 1994, Mugesera gave a speech in 1992 in which he told 1,000 members of the ruling Hutu party that we the people are obliged to take responsibility ourselves and wipe out this (Tutsi) scum and dump their bodies into the rivers of Rwanda.
Reaction here in Rwanda is very positive, Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told Agence France-Presse of the deportation.
The victims of Mugesera's speech are finally going to get justice.
Mugesera and his family fled to Canada as refugees in 1993 and were soon granted permanent citizenship. The linguist became a professor at the Université Laval in Quebec City. But, with a warrant out for his arrest in Rwanda, deportation trials began in 1995 and continued until 2005, when the deportation decision was upheld, but delayed, because Rwanda had the death penalty at the time.
Canada seems more than ready to give up the alleged criminal. With headlines like Genocide suspect booted and Mugesera finally runs out of appeals after 17 years, Canadian newspapers praised the court's decision and even questioned a sudden illness that befell the 59-year-old Mugesera after he lost his federal deportation case, calling it the latest trick to win a reprieve.
Martin-Andre Roy, one of Mugesera's lawyers, slammed the extradition verdict, saying it broke with United Nations regulations prohibiting criminals from being deported to countries where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
But Rwanda has reformed its ways and says it is committed to justice. Canada's refugee board also approved the deportation, according to the Montreal Gazette.
It's unfortunate that the extradition took so long, but it's still good news, Mushikiwabo said. It sends an important signal to all those who are being sought by Rwanda for their role in the genocide.
It is exciting that this chapter is finally closed, after 16 years of all sorts of abuse of process. The task ahead is one for which we are well prepared - a fair and transparent trial, Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said told AFP.
The new era is unfolding and sooner than later, Rwandans will witness what they have longed for - to see trials taking place where genocide was committed, he said.