French Court Rules to Extradite Alleged Rwanda Genocide Financier to UN Court

A top French appeals court has refused to block the extradition of the alleged financier of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide to a United Nations tribunal. The decision by France’s Court of Cassation is a blow to Felicien Kabuga, 84, who was arrested at his Paris-area apartment in May after a quarter-century on the run.  Kabuga’s lawyers had appealed an earlier ruling that he should stand trial at a U.N. court based in Arusha, Tanzania. They said his health was poor and raised fears the U.N. court would be biased against him.  FILE – Felicien Kabuga, a fugitive wanted over the 1994 Rwandan genocide, who was arrested in a Paris suburb on May 16, 2020, is seen in this handout photo released by the Mecanisme pour les Tribunaux penaux internationaux.But the Court of Cassation said it saw no legal or medical obstacle to Kabuga’s transfer to Arusha.   Etienne Nsanzimana, president of Rwandan genocide survivors’ support group Ibuka France, hailed the ruling. Now, he said, it was time international justice played its role and ended the years of impunity Kabuga had enjoyed.  Once one of Rwanda’s richest men, Kabuga is accused of bankrolling militia groups responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. He reportedly founded and was heavily involved in Radio Television Mille Collines, whose incendiary broadcasts fanned ethnic hatred.  More than two decades ago, Kabuga was indicted by the U.N. Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, or ICTR, on seven counts, including genocide. He denies all the charges as “lies.” Kabuga is to be tried at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which took over from the ICTR after it closed in 2013. Rwanda said it wanted to have him tried in its own courts.  

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