A UN judge has ordered that eight former members of the Hutu government in power in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis be sent to Tanzania from Niger, which refused to keep hosting them.
Judge Joseph Chiondo Masanche ordered for "all necessary measures" to be taken "immediately" to send the eight to Tanzania until they could be transferred somewhere else, according to a copy of his order obtained by AFP on Tuesday.
The judge also ordered Niger, which has been hosting the Rwandans since December 5 under an agreement concluded with the UN, "to provide all necessary assistance in order to execute the terms of this decision."
Four of the eight Rwandans were acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, an international court established by the UN to judge those accused of being responsible for the genocide.
The four others served sentences handed down to them by the tribunal.
In December Niger decided to expel them. The UN had ordered Niger to "suspend" its decision.
The judge, who works in Tanzania for the UN institution that succeeded the ICTR, said he had reached the decision because of the impossibility of maintaining a "status quo" for the eight until a solution could be found.
He did not rule out the possibility of the Rwandans leaving Tanzania for Rwanda, but stressed that could only be done with their agreement.
In his order, the judge strongly criticised Niger's attitude.
"Niger's unilateral action to order the expulsion of the Relocated Persons, to confiscate their identity documents, and to limit their freedom of movement is in flagrant violation of the terms of the Relocation Agreement," he said.