Rwanda’s genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga was presented before a French public prosecutor on Tuesday, three days after he was caught from his hideout in a Paris suburb, reported Reuters.
The 84-year-old is accused of funding militias that massacred over a million people. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were brutally killed in 100 days of killing from April 6, 1994. It is believed that the massacre was arranged by the Hutu-led government and its ethnic militia allies.
Kabuga, a Hutu businessman and once one of Rwanda’s wealthiest people, was indicted in the year 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Kabuga arrived at the Paris Appeals Court complex under heavy police protection where the hearing began about three hours later, a judicial source said.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecutor was to set out the legal process before the case is transferred to investigative judges who will decide whether Kabuga would be transferred to a U.N. court handling alleged crimes against humanity. If Kabuga appeals against the ruling, the matter will go to France’s Court of Cassation.
One of the French-based genocide victim support groups said it was considering legal action to unearth how Kabuga was able to go underground in France and what help he had received.
“He was our Klaus Barbie, our (Adolf) Eichmann,” said Etienne Nsanzimana, president of support group Ibuka France, referring to two prominent Nazi war criminals.
“How did he stay on the run for 26 years? For how many years was he in France and receiving help to live comfortably. I don’t think it was just his family,” the support group president added.
It currently remains unknown when or how Kabuga, who had a $5 million US bounty on his head, entered France. According to France’s justice ministry, he lived under a false identity in Asnieres-Sur-Seine on the outskirts of Paris.