Félicien Kabuga: French court docket backs extradition of Rwanda genocide suspect

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  • Genocide in Rwanda

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionFélicien Kabuga, once one of the richest men in Rwanda, used 28 aliases to avoid capture *: not ([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]>

France’s highest appellate court has agreed to extradite alleged financier of the Rwandan genocide, Félicien Kabuga, to be tried in Tanzania.

The 87-year-old Kabuga was arrested at his home outside Paris in May after being on the run for 26 years.

Around 800,000 people were killed in the 1994 genocide.

As chairman of the National Defense Fund, Mr Kabuga is said to have passed money on to militia groups. He denies all charges.

During a May court appearance, he described the allegations as “lies”.

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Who is Félicien Kabuga?

  • Considered the richest man in Rwanda before the 1994 genocide
  • He made his fortune in tea in the 1970s and ventured into many other fields at home and abroad
  • Was close to the ruling MRND party – and related by marriage to President Juvénal Habyarimana, whose death sparked the genocide
  • Accused of being the main sponsor of the genocidal plot and of using its business and premises to organize and finance the murder
  • The main owner of the private radio station RTLM, who was accused of inducing ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis
  • The United States had offered a $ 5 million (£ 4.1 million) reward for information leading to his arrest

What is he accused of?

Mr Kabuga, once one of the richest men in Rwanda, is accused of funding the genocide in Rwanda.

He is alleged to have supported and armed ethnic Hutu militias who slaughtered around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

He founded the infamous Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), a Rwandan broadcaster that actively encouraged people to search for and kill ethnic Tutsis.

In 1997 he was charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on seven counts, including genocide and crimes against humanity.

What happened in court?

Mr Kabuga’s lawyers argued that her client was too frail to be transferred to Tanzania, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They also argued that the appeals court broke the constitution by failing to thoroughly review international arrest warrants.

However, these arguments were rejected by the court.

The extradition ruling confirmed by a lower court on June 3 that Mr Kabuga’s health was not “incompatible” with being referred to a UN tribunal.

How did he avoid capture for so long?

Police say Mr. Kabuga used 28 aliases.

During his escape, he is said to have stayed in various countries in East Africa, including Kenya, where he and his family had business interests.

The French prosecutor said he lived under a false identity with his children complicit.

Finally, on May 16, he was arrested in a dawn raid in the Paris suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine.

Image rightsAFPImage descriptionFélicien Kabuga was found hidden in an apartment in Asnières-sur-Seine

What is the dish in Arusha?

In the months following the genocide, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

It was set up to judge the ringleaders of the genocide and more than 60 people have been convicted.

This court was officially closed in 2015 and the International Criminal Courts Mechanism (MICT) took over the task of finding the last of the genocides.

She has no police force or arrest powers and instead relies on national governments to act on her behalf.

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Media signatureBetween April and July 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in 100 days.

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