A UN court has deemed that an alleged key backer of the 1994 Rwandan genocide unfit to face trial due to his dementia.
88-year-old Félicien Kabuga evaded capture for 26 years. He reportedly moved across East Africa and was apprehended in Paris in 2020.
He stands accused of financially supporting Hutu militias responsible for the massacre of approximately 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus; however, he denies the allegations. This ruling is unprecedented in the ongoing pursuit of justice for Rwandan genocide perpetrators.
In their ruling, the Hague-based UN court judges affirmed that Mr. Kabuga lacks the capacity to actively engage in his trial and is unlikely to regain fitness in the future. To address this, the judges proposed an alternative legal procedure that closely resembles a trial but eliminates the possibility of conviction.
In March, the UN court temporarily halted his trial to assess his health. Though the “Rwandan Genocide’s” precise age remains disputed, court documents indicate that he is 88 years old.
There are allegations that Kabuga amassed substantial wealth from the tea trade in the 1970s. With this wealth sources claim that he helped acquire machetes for the Hutu death squads.
Furthermore, the affluent businessman stands accused of using his radio station to broadcast inflammatory hate speech. The accused also allegedly incited Hutus to commit atrocities against Tutsis and exacerbating the genocide.
French investigators located him in a Paris apartment, where he had been residing under a false identity prior to his UN court trial.
The United States had offered a reward of $5 million (£4.1 million) for any information leading to his capture.
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