Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga, who was arrested earlier this month from his hideout in a Paris suburb after 26 years on the run, told a French court on Wednesday that the international charges against him were untrue, reported Reuters.
“All of this is lies. I have not killed any Tutsis. I was working with them,” Félicien Kabuga told a French court during a bail hearing.
The United Nations prosecutors indicted the 84-year-old Rwandan businessman for genocide and incitement to commit genocide. He is alleged to have backed and armed ethnic Hutu militias who brutally killed more than 800,000 people in 1994. They targeted members of the minority Tutsi community and their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin, for over 100 days.
The International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR) for Rwanda indicted Kabuga in 1997 on seven counts including with genocide and crimes against humanity.
Kabuga’s lawyers told the court he should be released under court supervision because of his age and ill-health. They urged the court to annul the results of a DNA test used to identify him as he had not given consent.
The court’s three judges are yet to give a ruling on whether to transfer Kabuga to the international tribunal based in The Hague and Arusha, Tanzania.
Kabuga’s lawyers said he was too elderly and sick to be transferred and should be tried in France.
“This court is just saying ‘go and get judged elsewhere but not here’. It wants to hand him over him without consideration for his age and health, which could have irreversible consequences,” defence lawyer Laurent Bayon told the court.
The court, however, rejected the plea to release Rwandan genocide suspect Kabuga under court supervision. It rejected his lawyer’s plea to get their client released on bail due to his poor health, saying continued detention would ensure that he does not abscond.
Felicien Kabuga can appeal the decision.