One of the suspected planners, perpetrator and funders of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, Félicien Kabuga was taken for trial at the UN tribunal of Hague today.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) first charged Kabuga in 1997. He is charged with being the genocide’s mastermind because he served as the principal funder of the Station Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, that during the genocide gave orders to create obstacles and conduct searches, selected targets, and indicated strategic locations to assault.
Authorities accuse Félicien Kabuga of using that radio station to forward hatred towards ethnic Tutsis and of helping hit squads kill ethnic Tutsis. It is claimed that the radio station blasted nasty messages referring to Tutsis as “cockroaches” He is also charged with providing machetes to militia organizations.
Almost eight billion Hutus and Tutsi moderates were murdered. More than 500,000 people died as a result of the coordinated murder of around 75 percent of Rwanda’s Tutsi population during April and July of 1994 by Hutu military and political fanatics.
Numerous Hutu who tried to protect or hide Tutsis or who opposed the massacre were also murdered. Numerous genocide perpetrators, including former senior officials and other significant persons responsible for the atrocities, have indeed been convicted of their crimes 28 years later. The majority have gone through Rwandan legal processes.
Others have appeared before courts in North America and Europe or the ICTR. Very few members of the dominant Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) were held accountable for war crimes and human rights violations committed by the RPF in 1994, in contrast to the progress made in prosecuting genocide offenders.
RPF soldiers killed thousands of mostly Hutu civilians as they seized control of the nation. Even though these murders did not constitute genocide, the families of the victims do have the right to justice.
In addition to creating the impression that RPF is superior to the law, protecting the majority of RPF members from punishment for these crimes may have hampered social recovery in the wake of the genocide. Kabuga is around his mid-to-late-80s, however, his exact birthday is up for debate.
The need for proceedings to proceed quickly has been furthered by concerns about Kabuga’s age and fitness to stand trial.
After eluding capture for approximately 26 years, he was finally apprehended in Paris, the capital of France, two years ago. Between COVID-19 lockdowns in May 2020, he was detained in Paris and transported to The Hague, where he has pleaded not guilty.
He called the allegations against him “lies” throughout his extradition trials in France. Authorities have filed three claims of genocide and two counts of human rights violations against the former coffee and tea billionaire, chiefly for encouraging hate speech via his station, Radio Libre des Milles Collines.
French authorities spied on Mr. Kabuga’s children to locate him at his third-floor apartment in the Asnières-Sur-Seine neighborhood of Paris, where he was residing underneath a false identity while traveling on a passport out of an unspecified African nation.
Mr. Kabuga is said to have resided in several East African nations in the past, particularly Kenya, where both he and his family maintained business connections. At the start of the trial, the presiding judge announced Mr. Kabuga’s good health and how he had refused to show up.
In a statement, Mr. Kabuga said that the court refused to allow him to select his attorney and that he had “no faith” in that attorney.
Before it ceased operations in 2015, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which had its headquarters in Tanzania, had condemned more than 60 genocide organizers.
The same tribunal which is responsible for Mr. Kabuga was responsible for the other cases. In a trial that could run for years, the prosecution is anticipated to bring more than 50 witnesses. Genocide survivors have demanded a hurry in the judgment to get the justice they rightfully deserve.