Considered the “treasurer of the Rwandan genocide” and one of the main defendants still wanted by international justice, Félicien Kabuga was arrested near Paris on Saturday, the Paris prosecution and gendarmerie announced in a joint statement.
84-year-old Kabuga, who lived on the outskirts of the French capital under a false identity, is accused of having created the Interahamwe militias, the main armed arm of the 1994 genocide that caused 800,000 deaths, according to the UN.
He is the subject of an arrest warrant by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MTPI), the structure charged with completing the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
According to the statement by the French authorities, he was among the “most wanted fugitives in the world”.
His arrest shows that “those responsible for genocide can be held accountable, even 26 years after their crimes,” MTPI prosecutor Serge Brammertz said in a statement.
In 1994, Félicien Kabuga – one of his daughters was married to a son of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana – was part of the circle close to him, whose murder on April 6, 1994, would trigger the genocide.
Kabuga presided over the Free Thousand Hills Radio Television (RTLM), which broadcast calls to assassinate the Tutsi, and the National Defense Fund (FDN) that collected “funds” to finance the logistics and weapons of the Hutu Interahamwe militiamen, according to the indictment of the ICTR.
After being handed over to the judicial authorities, Kabuga will undergo extradition proceedings before a chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals, which will decide on his surrender to the MTPI in The Hague for trial.
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