300,504FansLike
227FollowersFollow
6FollowersFollow
FollowersFollow
905FollowersFollow
138SubscribersSubscribe

France arrests Félicien Kabuga, one of the masterminds behind Rwandan genocide who kept false identity for 26 years

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

The arrest of Félicien Kabuga, one of the alleged masterminds behind the Rwandan genocide, in France on May 16, 2020, brings victims and survivors one step closer to justice 26 years later, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. Kabuga is charged by an international war crimes court with genocide and related crimes during the 1994 genocide, and was living in France under a false identity at the time of his arrest.

“Félicien Kabuga’s arrest is a major victory for victims and survivors of the genocide in Rwanda who have waited more than two decades to see this leading figure face justice,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Those implicated in brutal atrocities should take note that the law can catch up with anyone, even those who seem untouchable.”

Félicien Kabuga

Kabuga had evaded arrest since 1997, when he was first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Kabuga is expected to be tried by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), which was established to handle the outstanding functions of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia once those tribunals closed. The mechanism has branches in Arusha, Tanzania, and The Hague, the Netherlands.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Kabuga was close to Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, who died when a plane carrying him and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down over the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on April 6, 1994. The crash triggered the start of three months of ethnic killings across Rwanda on an unprecedented scale. He was one of the chief financiers of the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), which began broadcasting in April 1993.

Between April and July 1994, Hutu political and military extremists orchestrated the killing of approximately three quarters of Rwanda’s Tutsi population, leaving more than half a million people dead. Many Hutu who attempted to hide or defend Tutsi and those who opposed the genocide were also killed.

In mid-July 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a predominantly Tutsi rebel group based in Uganda that had been fighting to overthrow the Rwandan government since 1990, took over the country. Its troops killed thousands of predominantly Hutu civilians, though the scale and nature of these killings were not comparable to the genocide.

Human Rights Watch documented the genocide and the RPF’s 1994 crimes in detail. Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to the Human Rights Watch Africa division for almost two decades and one of the world’s foremost experts on Rwanda, published the authoritative account of the genocide, “Leave None to Tell the Story.”

“Radio RTLM, which had incited to genocide before April 6, communicated the orders for implementing the killings after that date,” Des Forges said in her account. “It instructed people to erect barriers and carry out searches; it named persons to be targeted and pointed out areas which should be attacked…. So important was this means of communication that officials admonished citizens to keep listening to the radio for instructions from the interim government.”

With Human Rights Watch, Des Forges also documented how Kabuga was implicated in ordering the thousands of machetes imported in 1993 and early 1994 and how he supported the military training for the Interhamwe youth militia associated to Habyarimana’s party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (Mouvement révolutionnaire national pour le développement, MRND).

The United Nations Security Council created the ICTR, based in Arusha, in 1994 in response to the genocide. The tribunal indicted 93 people, convicted and sentenced 61, and acquitted 14. It was expected to try mostly high-level suspects and those who played a leading role in the genocide. It tried and convicted several prominent figures for crimes committed during the genocide, including the former prime minister, Jean Kambanda, the former army chief of staff, Gen. Augustin Bizimungu, and the former Defense Ministry chief of staff, Col. Théoneste Bagosora.

The tribunal achieved important milestones and established jurisprudence in international criminal law. It was the first international tribunal to convict a woman of genocide crimes, including rape, and the first international court since the 1946 Nuremberg tribunal to convict media executives for crimes of genocide.

However, the tribunal had inherent limitations and attracted criticism. The tribunal handled a relatively small number of cases and had high operating costs. The trials were often lengthy and slowed down by bureaucratic processes. Some Rwandans have criticized the tribunal, citing its lack of reparation for victims and its location outside Rwanda, and complained that genocide convicts were allowed to speak to the media.

The tribunal’s unwillingness to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the RPF in 1994 was a significant failing of the tribunal, Human Rights Watch said.

The IRMCT, created in 2010, is tasked with addressing the remaining tribunal-indicted fugitives, seven of whom remain at large. It has retained jurisdiction over Kabuga and Augustin Bizimana and Protais Mpiranya, both fugitives. Five others are to be tried by the Rwandan authorities. 

The Rwandan justice system also tried a large number of genocide suspects, both in conventional domestic courts and in local, community-based gacaca courts. The standards of these trials have varied enormously and political interference and pressure resulted in some unfair trials. Other cases have shown greater respect for due process. The gacaca trials ended in 2012.

Court officials at the residual mechanism highlighted the cooperation by France, where Kabuga was living covertly with family at the time of his arrest, and a number of other governments to enable Kabuga’s arrest after so many years. The French justice ministry said in a statement that Kabuga “had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa [Democratic Republic of Congo], Kenya, or Switzerland.”

“Arresting suspects can be one of the most difficult challenges for international courts to bring justice for atrocity crimes as they lack their own police forces,” Segun said. “Questions remain over how Kabuga was able to evade justice for over two decades, but cooperation between governments has made it possible for victims and survivors at last to see him face trial and should be replicated to secure the surrender of more international war crimes fugitives.”

[/read_more]

TODAY NEWS AFRICA
TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

300,504FansLike
227FollowersFollow
6FollowersFollow
1FollowersFollow
905FollowersFollow
138SubscribersSubscribe

JUST IN

Woman accused of sending poison ricin letter to President Trump arrested

A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin to President Donald Trump has been arrested, The Associated Press...

Bill Gates praises Africa’s response to COVID-19 but warns against collateral damage

Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Sunday praised Africa's response to the novel coronavirus but warned against collateral damage, including a drastic...

Activists warn Nigerian President bill will render anti-corruption agency EFCC ‘a toothless bulldog’

Nigeria's Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to “urgently instruct Mr...

As dictatorship escalates, Ethiopia charges prominent opposition figure Jawar Mohammed with terrorism

As human rights organizations continue to warn that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is turning Ethiopia into a dictatorship, his administration on...

Trump reimposes all UN sanctions on Iran

The Trump administration said on Saturday it had reimposed all United Nations sanctions on Iran, although 13 of the 15 U.N....

MOST POPULAR

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

IMF approves disbursement of additional $1 billion for Angola to respond to COVID-19 economic fallout

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday approved the disbursement of an additional $1 billion for Angola to respond to...

USAID awards millions of dollars to Washington State University to combat lethal livestock disease in East Africa known as East Coast Fever

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded millions of dollars to Washington State University to combat a lethal livestock...

The world should hear the cries of Oromo people in Ethiopia

The Oromo people in Ethiopia are good people and the world should hear their cries for justice, equality, peace, liberty, democracy...

President Ramaphosa calls on South Africans to save media industry in crisis amid coronavirus economic turmoil

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday called on South Africans to support and save the media industry amid the coronavirus economic turmoil.

Woman accused of sending poison ricin letter to President Trump arrested

A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin to President Donald Trump has been arrested, The Associated Press quoted three law enforcement officials as saying.The official said the yet to be identified woman was arrested at New York-Canada border and was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace...

Stay connected

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Reddit
Share