France To Rule On Alleged Rwanda Genocide Financier’s Fate

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A top French appeals court is to rule Wednesday on whether alleged Rwandan genocide financier Felicien Kabuga will stand trial in France or face a UN tribunal in Tanzania.

Kabuga, who is 84 according to officials but claims to be 87, was arrested in May at his home outside Paris after 25 years on the run.

The 1994 Rwanda genocide of some 800,000 people by Hutu extremists targeted rival Tutsis as well as also moderate Hutus.

Once one of Rwanda’s richest men, Kabuga is alleged to have funnelled money to militia groups as chairman of the national defence fund.

He is also accused of setting up the Interahamwe militia that carried out massacres as well as the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines whose broadcasts incited people to murder.

A French court ruled in June that Kabuga should stand trial at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) based in Arusha, Tanzania.

But his lawyers appealed, citing frail health and fears the UN tribunal in Africa would be biased.

During a hearing at France’s supreme court for criminal cases, the Cour de Cassation, Kabuga’s lawyer Louis Bore also argued that his client could not receive proper medical treatment in Tanzania.

Kabuga has diabetes, high blood pressure and leukoaraiosis, an incurable illness that erodes physical and cognitive abilities, Bore said.

Kabuga was moved from his cell at the end of last week for “medical reasons,” several sources told AFP.

If the appeals court endorses his transfer, Kabuga would have one month to appear before the MICT, which took over the duties of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) when it formally closed in 2015.

The ICTR handed down dozens of prison sentences over the years on genocide and other charges, including life sentences. It also acquitted some suspects.

Kabuga was indicted by the tribunal in 1997 on seven counts, including genocide. He denies all the charges.

Rwanda has said it wants to see Kabuga tried by its own courts, but transferring jurisdiction away from the UN tribunal in Tanzania would require a decision by the UN Security Council, according to Serge Brammertz, a prosecutor for the MICT.

Rwanda itself carried out 22 executions of people convicted for their role in the conflict before abolishing the death penalty in 2007, a move that facilitated the extradition of suspects from other countries to Rwanda.

Between 2005 and 2012, some 12,000 popular tribunals know as “gacaca” tried close to two million people, convicting two-thirds of them.

European courts have also tried and sentenced Rwandan genocide suspects, notably Belgium and France.

-AFP

Hotel Rwanda ‘Hero’ Admits Forming Armed Group Behind Attacks

Paul Rusesabagina
“Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina in the pink inmate’s uniform arrives from the Nyarugenge prison with Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) officers at the Nyarugenge Court of Justice in Kigali, Rwanda, on September 25, 2020.  (Photo by Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP)

 

 

Paul Rusesabagina, the polarising hero of the “Hotel Rwanda” film, admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes.

Rusesabagina is famed for his depiction in the movie in which he is shown to have saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide, which left some 800,000 dead.

After years in exile, where he has become a fierce government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being lured into a private jet under false pretences.

In recent years Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad.

While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear.

“We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” he said in court Friday.

“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy

AFP

Rwanda Genocide: From Losses To Gains, Twenty Years After

RwandaFrom April 7, to about July 15, 20 years ago, between 500,000 to one million people were killed in Rwanda. 

That period of time, was known as the genocide mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu, planned by members of the core political elite, known as the Akazu, many of whom were already in top government positions.

According to sources, the war took place in the context of the Rwandan civil war, which was an ongoing conflict that had begun in 1990, between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front, composed mainly of Tutsi refugees, whose families had fled to Uganda after their earlier encounter with Hutu violence against the Tutsi.

For many Rwandans, the experience of the genocide brought a lot of suspicion, fear and tension, in the years that followed after the genocide. 

Today, many have only one phrase on their lips; that is, ‘Rwanda genocide, never again!’

The younger generation is doing what it can to cope with the country’s horrific past, as many lost parents and loved ones in the killing.

To help them move on, orphans from the period, have been coming together to form groups, that support one another while others are using social media such as facebook, to preach peace and reconciliation.

A Lot Has Changed

Believe it or not, a lot has changed in Rwanda, since then. Rwanda-farms

The country is said to have low corruption, compared with neighbouring African countries. It also has the highest proportion of females in government positions, in proportion to the population.

Although seriously affected by the genocide, its economy has grown since then. A country of few natural resources, the economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture by local farmers, using simple tools.

However, tourism is a fast-growing sector in Rwanda, and is now the country’s leading foreign exchange earner.

Rwanda’s high commissioner to Nigeria, told Channels Television that Rwandans had moved on and are looking ahead to make the country work.

“There are many initiatives to make the people come together. People have gone beyond ethnic divisions. Things have changed,” he said.

Just like many at the time, he also had his losses.