One of the most wanted fugitives in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide has been arrested outside Paris, authorities said Saturday.
Felicien Kabuga, who had a £4 million bounty on his head, had been accused of equipping militias in the genocide that killed more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them.
Kabuga, 84, was arrested as a result of a joint investigation with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals office of the prosecutor, French authorities said.
#IRMCT fugitive FÃ©licien Kabuga was arrested today in Paris, France. For further information about the arrest, including Prosecutor Brammertz' statement: https://t.co/dg3fgz84CG pic.twitter.com/I09J6uUQ52— UNIRMCT (@unirmct) May 16, 2020
He had been living in a town north of Paris, Asnieres-sur-Seine, under an assumed name, the appeals court’s prosecutor’s office said.
The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda indicted Kabuga in 1997 on charges related to conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination.
Rwandan prosecutors have said financial documents found in the capital, Kigali, after the genocide, indicated that Kabuga used his companies to import vast quantities of machetes that were used to slaughter people.
The wealthy businessman was also accused of establishing the station Radio Television Mille Collines, that broadcast vicious propaganda against the ethnic Tutsi, as well as training and equipping the Interahamwe militia that led to the killing spree.
“An important step towards justice for hundreds of thousands of genocide victims,” Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said of his arrest.
Kabuga was close to former president Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death when his plane was shot down over Kigali sparked the 100-day genocide.
Kabuga’s daughter married Habyarimana’s son.
Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the custody of the UN mechanism, where he will stand trial.
“The arrest of Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes,” the mechanism’s chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, said in a statement.
Officials in Rwanda said the East African nation will continue to collaborate with the UN mechanism to ensure that justice is served.
According to Rwandan prosecutors, other top fugitives still at large include Protais Mpiranya, the former commandant of the Presidential Guards, and former defence minister Augustin Bizimana.