Conflicts & War

UN chief welcomes arrest of Rwandan genocide suspect

United Nations, May 17 (efe-epa).- The United Nations Secretary-General has said the arrest of one of the most-wanted fugitives of the 1994 Rwandan genocide has proven that alleged criminals cannot evade justice forever and will have to be answerable for their crimes.

António Guterres’ spokesperson said the UN chief welcomed the arrest of Félicien Kabuga on Saturday in Paris, saying his capture “sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later”.

French police arrested Kabuga, 84, from a rented home outside Paris, according to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

As the head of the Comité Provisoire of the Fonds de défense Nationale (“National Defence Fund”) from about Apr.25, 1994 to July 1994, Kabuga allegedly helped finance the genocide.

He allegedly imported tens of thousands of the machetes from Kenya that were used in the mass slaughter.

He was also president of the Comité d’Initiative of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, whose broadcasts were used by Hutu extremists to incite hatred against Tutsis and identify individuals for subsequent killing.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has charged him with genocide and crimes against humanity after his alleged key role in financing the genocide of hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

Ethnic Hutu extremists killed at least 800,000 members of the Tutsi community and political opponents.

The arrest culminated a decades-long international hunt across many countries.

“The Secretary-General’s thoughts are first and foremost with the victims of Kabuga’s alleged crimes, the victims of other serious international crimes, and their families. Ending impunity is essential for peace, security, and justice,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

The Secretary-General praised the cooperation between the UN mechanism and the French authorities for the arrest, underlining the responsibility of all states to cooperate with the IRMCT in locating and arresting any fugitives at large.

Guterres recalled that all states must cooperate with the mechanism in the location, arrest, detention, surrender, and transfer of the accused persons still at large.

Kabuga was arrested in what was described as a sophisticated, coordinated operation with simultaneous searches across several locations.

He is expected to be transferred to the IRMCT, where he will stand trial.

“For international justice, Kabuga’s arrest demonstrates that we can succeed when we have the international community’s support,” said Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor at the UN mechanism. EFE-EPA

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