A suspected financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Felicien Kabuga, made his first appearance at a UN court in The Hague on Wednesday after decades on the run.
Felicien Kabuga’s a suspected financier of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, which saw 800,000 people murdered, according to the UN. Kabuga, now in his 80s, is accused of crimes against humanity including genocide.
UN prosecutors also accuse Kabuga of helping create a Hutu militia group and urging the killing of Tutsis through his media company.
He is also accused of helping to buy machetes in 1993 that were distributed to genocidal groups. He denies the charges. He is “very tired,” said his lawyer, Emmanuel Altit.Kabuga, one of Rwanda’s richest men was first indicted by the now-closed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) two decades ago.
But he was not arrested until this year in May, near Paris. He was transferred from France to The Hague in October.
The initial hearing before a pre-trial judge took place at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which has taken on cases left over from the ICTR. Kabuga spent years on the run using a succession of false passports, with investigators saying that he had been helped by a network of former Rwandan allies to evade justice.
His lawyers argue he should be tried in France but France’s top court ruled he should be moved to UN custody.
Kabuga was initially to be transferred to the UN court’s facility in Arusha, Tanzania, which took over the ICTR’s duties when it formally closed in 2015.
But a judge ruled he should first be taken to The Hague for a medical examination, and it was not immediately known when or if Kabuga might be transferred to Arusha.