“Leon Mugesera is now airbound for Kigali! Thank ordinary ppl in Canada who saw thru confusion in int’l legal labyrinth and said ‘he must go,’” Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in a message on Twitter.
Canada would not confirm his departure, said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ spokesman Mike Patton, “for reasons of operational security.”
But he added, “Canada has been resolute in its determination to see Leon Mugesera face justice in connection with allegations of promoting the genocide of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Rwanda in the early 1990s.”
Mugesera, now 59, made an infamous speech in 1992 that allegedly played a major role in sparking the 1994 genocide, in which radical ethnic Hutus killed as many as 800,000 Tutsis.
Two Canadian courts earlier Monday rejected last-ditch appeals to delay his deportation for six months so the United Nations Committee Against Torture could probe a claim that he faces political persecution in Rwanda.
Authorities immediately drove Mugesera to the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau airport, where his family sought to see him off, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.
The family, which can stay in Canada, declined comment.
Mugesera was to have been deported two weeks ago, but his appeals to the two courts and the UN had earned him a reprieve, until now.
In the 1992 speech, Mugesera allegedly called Tutsis “cockroaches” and “scum,” and encouraged his fellow Hutus to kill them.
Mugesera fled to Canada the following year to avoid prosecution, then waged a 15-year legal battle to avoid being sent back.