Felicien Kabuga, one of the most wanted genocide fugitives was arrested on Saturday near Paris after 25 years on the run, accused of playing a leading role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
With a $5m bounty on his head, the 84-year-old is one of Rwanda’s most-wanted for allegedly financing the genocide. He was found living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine north of Paris, according to the French justice ministry.
Once the richest men in Rwanda, Kabuga is said to have financed the genocide against the Tutsi purchasing machetes and other tools that were distributed to Interahamwe militias that killed Tutsis and also behind the creation of Radio Television Mille Collines that broadcast propaganda to incite the violence.
The elusive businessman had been living in France apparently with the help of his children. For quarter of a century Kabuga stayed in Germany, Belgium, DR Congo, Kenya, and Switzerland.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) indicted Kabuga in 1997 on charges related to conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination. However, ICTR in 2015 formally closed and its cases have been given over to Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) that is likely to prosecute Kabuga.
Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the Mechanism said that Kabuga is now expected to be transferred to the custody of MICT and stand trial. Adding his capture “underlines the strength of our determination.”
Chief Prosecutor underlined that, “The arrest of Felicien Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes.”
“Kabuga’s arrest demonstrates that we can succeed when we have the international community’s support,” he said in a statement.
Two other top suspects linked with the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and still at large are former defense minister Augustin Bizmana and military leader Protais Mpiranya.