A French court has given a nod to Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga’s handover to a United Nations tribunal for trial, rejecting all the arguments that he should be allowed to remain in France because of his health, reported Reuters.
The 84-year-old Kabuga is accused of supporting and arming ethnic Hutu militias that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda during a 100-day period in 1994. He is said to have created an alleged fund that financed the Hutu militias and imported hundreds of thousands of machetes. He is indicted for genocide and incitement to commit genocide, among other charges.
The Rwandan genocide suspect Kabuga is currently being kept in a Paris prison. He was arrested at his home outside Paris, where he had been living under a false name last month after a manhunt that lasted more than 20 years. He has called the charges lies.
“These are all lies. Everything I did helped the Tutsis, and my businesses offered them credit. I wasn’t going to go and kill my clients,” he told the court.
Kabuga’s lawyers claimed that their client would not receive a fair trial at the tribunal, which is based in The Hague and in Arusha, Tanzania. They also argue his health is too feeble for him to be transferred to the African country, particularly during a dangerous pandemic.
But the court said his health was compatible with a transfer.
“I was expecting this, because it’s a highly politicised case,” said Laurent Bayon, one of the Rwandan genocide suspect’s lawyers. “A transfer to Arusha, and the detention conditions there, would not allow him to survive, so a full trial would not be possible, neither for him nor the victims.”
While Kabuga cannot appeal the French court’s transfer order, his lawyers went on to challenge two further rulings on the transfer procedure.