France to rule on Rwanda genocide suspect’s fate Sept 30
A top French appeals court said Wednesday it would rule on September 30 whether Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga is to stand trial in France or face a UN tribunal in Tanzania.
Kabuga, who is 84 according to officials, but claims to be 87, was arrested in May at his home outside Paris after 25 years on the run.
He is accused of being a leading financier of the 1994 Rwanda genocide of some 800,000 people by Hutu extremists targeting rival Tutsis but also moderate Hutus.
A French court ruled in June that Kabuga should stand trial at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) based in Arusha, Tanzania.
But his lawyers appealed, citing frail health and fears the UN tribunal in Africa would be biased against him.
During a hearing, Wednesday at the Cour de Cassation, France’s supreme court for criminal cases, Kabuga’s lawyer Louis Bore also argued that his client could not be properly treated medically in Tanzania.
Kabuga has diabetes, high blood pressure and leukoaraiosis, an incurable illness that erodes physical and cognitive abilities, Bore said.
If France’s highest appeal court endorses his transfer, Kabuga would have one month to appear before the MICT, which took over the duties of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda when it formally closed in 2015.
Kabuga, once one of Rwanda’s richest men, was indicted by the tribunal in 1997 on seven counts, including genocide. He denies all the charges.
He is alleged to have funnelled money to militia groups as chairman of the national defence fund.
Kabuga is also accused of setting up the Interahamwe militia that carried out massacres and the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines, which incited people to murder.
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