'Rwandan general must face trial'

Legal advocacy groups will challenge government’s decision to grant Faustin Nyamwasa asylum.

Rwanda's former army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa walks into court in Johannesburg on 21 June, 2012. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - South Africa's decision to give shelter to a dissident Rwandan general is being challenged in the North Gauteng High Court, by legal advocacy groups.

The lawyers are arguing that Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who fled to the country more than two years ago, faces international charges.

The general fled after he had a falling out with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Nyamwasa then made headlines when he was targeted in an assassination attempt outside his Johannesburg home in mid-2010.

He recovered from a bullet wound in the stomach, to testify in the trial of his would-be assassins, alleging they had been sent by Kagame.

Now the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa and the Legal Resources Centre have approached the High Court in Pretoria, saying Nyamwasa does not qualify for asylum in South Africa - because France and Spain want to extradite him to face charges relating to Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

A Rwandan military court in 2011 sentenced Nyamwasa to 24 years in jail for threatening state security.

The country has pushed South Africa to extradite him to serve the sentence.

The legal advocacy groups however argue that the general should face trial and not be sent where his life has been threatened.