The man accused of being the financier of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda has told a French court on Wednesday that the accusation is a frame-up to incriminate him.Felicien Kabuga told a court in Paris that accusations of him being one of the main funders of the extermination exercise “is all lies… I have not killed any Tutsis… I was working with them”.
During the bail hearing the 84-year old former businessman said his involvement in the Rwandan genocide, was merely trying to help those targeted for extermination by the genocidaires.
Since Kabuga’s arrest at a Paris suburb earlier in May after being on the run for 26 years, genocide survivors in Rwanda have been calling for his extradition to the country to face trial.
Ibuka, one of the Rwandan association of genocide survivors on requested the French government to extradite him to Rwanda.
The genocide led to the death of an estimated one million people between April and July 1994.
Earlier this week, the Rwandan tycoon appeared before the same French court which is expected to make a decision on whether to hand him over to the tribunal, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands and Arusha.
The defendant has asked to be tried in a French court.
Kabuga was arrested by French gendarmes on 16 May 2020, at 6:30am in an apartment in Asnières-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris where he resided under a false identity.
“We wish the suspect should be extradited home knowing that Rwanda will accord him a fair trial,” Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, President of the umbrella body of genocide survivors said.
Most genocide suspects are said to be on the run in African countries and other parts of the world.
Prior to the genocide, Kabuga was a well-known and successful businessman within Rwanda.
Under the regime of former President Juvénal Habyarimana, between 1973 and 1994, the Rwandan tycoon held significant political influence.
In 1997, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda – an international court established by the UN in 1994 to judge people responsible for the genocide – indicted Kabuga for his role.
The tribunal, which was located in Arusha, Tanzania, was dissolved in 2015.
Its work was taken over by the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
It was set up to perform the remaining functions of both the Rwanda tribunal and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.