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France’s appeal court has agreed to extradite Félicien Kabuga, to face trial in Tanzania.

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Mr Kabuga, was arrested in May at his home outside Paris after 26 years on the run. Mr. Kabuga is alleged to have bankrolled the militia groups as chairman of the national defense fund where about 800, 000 people were killed in the 1994 genocide; although he denied all the charges at the time of this report and further described the accusations as “lies”.

About Kabuga?

  • Considered the richest man in Rwanda before the 1994 genocide
  • Made his fortune from tea in the 1970s and ventured into many other sectors at home and abroad
  • Was close to the ruling MRND party – and related by marriage to President Juvénal Habyarimana, whose death triggered the genocide
  • Accused of being the top sponsor of the genocide plan and using his business and premises to organize and fund the killing
  • The main owner of the private radio station RTLM that was accused of inciting ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis
  • The United States had offered a reward of $5m (£4.1m) for information leading to his arrest

What is he accused of?

  • Once one of Rwanda’s richest men, Mr Kabuga is accused of financing the Rwandan genocide.
  • He is alleged to have backed and armed ethnic Hutu militias who slaughtered about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.
  • He set up the notorious Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), a Rwandan broadcaster that actively encouraged people to search out and kill anyone ethnic Tutsis.
  • In 1997 he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on seven counts including genocide and crimes against humanity.

What happened in court?

  • Mr Kabuga’s lawyers argued that their client was too frail to be transferred to Tanzania particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • They also argued that the appeals court had violated the constitution by failing to provide a thorough examination of international arrest warrants.
  • But these arguments were dismissed by the court.
  • The extradition ruling upheld one by a lower court on 3 June that Mr Kabuga’s health was not “incompatible” with a transfer to a UN tribunal.

How did he evade capture for so long?

  • Police say Mr Kabuga used 28 aliases.
  • While on the run, he is alleged to have stayed in various countries in East Africa, including Kenya, where he and his family had business interests.
  • The French public prosecutor’s office said he had been living under a false identity with the complicity of his children.
  • He was finally detained in a dawn raid on 16 May in the Paris suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine.
  • In the months that followed the genocide, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, northern Tanzania.
  • It was set up to judge the ringleaders of the genocide and more than 60 people were sentenced.
  • That court was formally closed in 2015 and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) took over its mission to find the last genocides.
  • It has no police force, nor powers of arrest, instead of relying on national governments to act on its behalf.

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