The United Nations Residual Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of transferring to The Hague genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga described as the financier of the massacres, pending trial, instead of Arusha, Tanzania.Félicien Kabuga was one of Rwanda’s richest men at the time of the 1994 genocide. He allegedly bankrolled the infamous Interahamwe, a Hutu militia that slaughtered thousands of Tutsis between April and July 1994.
The 84-year-old was also one of the alleged operators of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, a radio station used to fan hatred and incite killings of the minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The ruling by a single follows an application by Kabuga’s French Lawyer Emmanuel Altit on October 5 requesting the UN court to transfer Kabuga to The Hague instead of Arusha for a number of reasons, including his health, travel difficulties brought about by the New Coronavirus.
A UN judge lain Bonomy ruled that Kabuga, who has been in a French jail since May, should be sent to a detention unit in The Hague, pending trial.
Altit argued that his client is facing challenges relating to his health, separation from family and threat of the coronavirus pandemic in Tanzania where the case is supposed to take place soon.
The application followed a ruling by France’s highest court on September 30, 2020 to transfer the case of Kabuga, 87, to be tried at the residual UN Residual Court affiliate in Arusha.
Court further said that the current COVID-19 pandemic related protocols may have practical implications on the initial appearance in view of the need for Kabuga to quarantine for ten days on arrival and to undergo preliminary medical assessments.
“As a result, this extraordinary situation could impact the date for the initial appearance until this process is completed. The Trial Chamber.
in close consultation with the Registrar and the parties will set the date and modalities for the initial appearance at the appropriate time following Kabuga ‘s transfer into the custody of the Mechanism,” court ruled.
Indicted on charges related to genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997, Kabuga was one of eight remaining fugitives wanted by the tribunal.