Félicien Kabuga, Top Rwanda genocide suspect and financier goes on trial

By Halligan Agade

A senior UN official welcomed the start of the trial against Rwanda Genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga for crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Kabuga had a “substantial” role in the genocide, prosecutors said on Thursday at the opening of his trial in The Hague.

Poster depicting a photograph of Felicien Kabuga. /REUTERS

Kabuga accused of encouraging and bankrolling the country’s 1994 genocide goes on trial at a United Nations tribunal, nearly three decades after the 100-day massacre left nearly 800,000 dead.

Félicien Kabuga is one of the last fugitives charged over the genocide to face justice, and the start of his trial marks a key day of reckoning for Rwandans who survived the killings or whose families were murdered.

Naphtal Ahishakiye, the executive secretary of a genocide survivors’ group known as Ibuka, said it’s never too late for justice to be delivered.

“Even with money and protection, one cannot escape a genocide crime,” Ahishakiye said in Rwanda ahead of Thursday’s trial at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in the Hague.

Kabuga’s 15-page indictment alleges that, as a wealthy businessman with close links to the Hutu political elite, he incited genocide through the broadcaster he helped establish and fund, Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). He’s also accused of having paid for weapons, including machetes, used by militias to slaughter Tutsis and their perceived supporters.

The indictment says Kabuga and others at the radio station “operated RTLM in a manner that furthered hatred and violence against Tutsi and others perceived as ‘accomplices’ or ‘allies’ … and agreed to disseminate an anti-Tutsi message with the goal to eliminate the Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda.”

(With input from agencies)


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