Rwandan genocide fugitive Félicien Kabuga arrested in France


Félicien Kabuga, a wanted fugitive accused of playing a major role in the Rwandan genocide has been arrested near Paris, the French justice ministry has announced. Mr Kabuga was detained by gendarmes in Asnières-sur-Seine, where he had been living under a false identity for at least a decade. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has charged the 84-year-old with genocide and crimes against humanity. French officials said Kabuga had been hiding in an apartment in the north-west of Paris, aided by his children who had set up an effective system to conceal him. He is alleged to have been the main financier of the ethnic Hutu extremists who slaughtered 800,000 people in 1994. He also founded and funded the notorious Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), a Rwandan broadcaster that actively encouraged people to search out and kill anyone who was from the Tutsi ethnic group. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents. He is expected to appear before local magistrates before being transferred to the custody of The Hague to stand trial. Kabuga was part of the inner circle of the Rwandan government of Juvénal Habyarimana, the president whose assassination triggered the genocide. Two of his daughters were married to Habyarimana’s sons. The United States had offered a $5m (£4.1m) reward for information leading to Mr Kabuga's arrest. Kabuga was indicted by the UN international criminal tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts, including genocide. Following the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front under Paul Kagame, he fled first to Switzerland but was expelled. It is thought he then travelled to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He narrowly avoided arrest in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1996. Serge Brammertz, IRMCT’s chief prosecutor in The Hague said: “The arrest of Félicien Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes … Today’s arrest underlines the strength of our determination.” Following completion of appropriate procedures under French law, Mr Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the custody of the IRMCT, where he will stand trial.

There are now two people earmarked for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda who remain at large - Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana.

How the genocide began On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana - a Hutu - was shot down, killing all on board. Hutu extremists blamed the Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) - an accusation it denied. Militias were given hit lists of Tutsi victims and a premeditated slaughter campaign. Many were killed with machetes. From January 1993 to March 1994, a total of 500,000 machetes were imported into Rwanda, statistically one for every three adult Hutus in the country. Kabuga has been named as one of the main importers of these machetes. One of the militias was the ruling party's youth wing, the Interahamwe, which set up roadblocks to find Tutsis, incited hatred via radio broadcasts and carried out house-to-house searches. Dozens of Hutus were convicted for their role in the killings by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and hundreds of thousands more faced trial in community courts in Rwanda.

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