84-year-old Félicien Kabuga – one of the world’s most wanted fugitives who is alleged to have been a leading mastermind in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda – was arrested in Paris by French authorities as the result of a joint investigation with the IRMCT Office of the Prosecutor. The man was living under a false name in an apartment near Paris.
He is believed to have held the purse-strings of Rwanda’s so-called hate media, which incited ethnic Hutus to murder Tutsis.
For the 25 years, authorities suspected he had escaped to and was hiding in Kenya.
In reaction to today’s arrest, Mechanism Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz and top United Nations prosecutor stated:
The arrest of Félicien Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even twenty-six years after their crimes.
Our first thoughts must be with the victims and survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Advocating on their behalf is an immense professional honor for my entire Office.
For international justice, Kabuga’s arrest demonstrates that we can succeed when we have the international community’s support. This result is a tribute to the unwavering commitment of the United Nations Security Council, which established the Mechanism to continue the accountability process in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
I would like to extend our appreciation to France and its law enforcement authorities, particularly the Central Office for Combatting Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes and the Office of the Procureur Général of the Paris Cour d’Appel. This arrest could not have been made without their exceptional cooperation and skill. It is important to also recognize the many other partners whose contributions were essential, including law enforcement agencies and prosecution services from Rwanda, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United States, EUROPOL and INTERPOL. This arrest demonstrates the impressive results that can be achieved through international law enforcement and judicial cooperation.
Earlier this year my Office visited the Ntarama genocide memorial in Rwanda to honor the memory of the victims and renew our commitment to justice. Today’s arrest underlines the strength of our determination.
Kabuga was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution, and extermination, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Following the completion of appropriate procedures under French law, Kabuga is expected to the transferred to the custody of the Mechanism, where he will stand trial.