The court of appeal of Paris has issued on Wednesday a positive opinion for the surrender to international justice Félicien Kabuga, accused of being the “financier” of the genocide in Rwanda, and who tries by all means to be tried in France after more than 25 years on the run.
The examining chamber of the court of appeal, which was charged to examine the validity of the warrant of arrest issued by the Mechanism for international criminal tribunals (MICT), has ordered its delivery to this structure, tasked to complete the work of the international criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Mr. Kabuga, currently detained in France, remained impassive, sitting on a wheelchair, to the statement of the decision, asking only where it could be transferred.
Appeal in cassation
His defense immediately announced to the Court of cassation (the highest court of the judicial order in French), which will have two months to comment. In case of rejection, there will still be a period of one month to hand it over to the MICT.
“I expected this decision, we are in a context is extremely political,” has declared to journalists Laurent Bayon, one of his lawyers, at the conclusion of the deliberations.
The octogenarian, long one of the fugitives most wanted in the world, relying upon his state of health, and the fear of biased justice to refuse his transfer to Arusha, Tanzania, where the seat of the UN tribunal which has to judge him for genocide and crimes against humanity.
“A transfer to Arusha and the conditions of detention in Arusha it does not survive and, therefore, that there is a trial at the end of all this, both for the victims and for him,” said Me Bayon.
Last week, a judge of the MICT in The Hague, William Sekule, it was estimated that the Rwandan had to be transferred to Arusha when the conditions are met, rejecting a request by the prosecutor of the MICT, which wished to the temporary transfer of Mr. Kabuga to The Hague on account of the travel restrictions put in place because of the pandemic of Covid-19.
Mr. Kabuga, aged 87 years, according to his statements, has suffered in the last year a removal of the colon in a parisian hospital and is suffering from ” delusions “, according to his lawyers, who want to prosecute him in France.
Arrested on 16 may in the suburbs of paris, the old man is notably accused of having created, with other individuals and groups, the hutu militias the Interahamwe militia, the main armed the 1994 genocide, which caused, according to the UN, 800 000 people dead, mainly among the tutsi minority. And to have put his fortune to the contribution to transport of thousands of machetes to militia.
But the former president of the infamous Radio télévision libre des Mille collines (RTLM), which broadcast calls for the murder of the Tutsi, denies the entirety of the seven counts of indictments.
The Hague or Arusha ?
“All these are lies. The Tutsi, I helped them in everything I did, in my business, and I would credit. I wasn’t going to kill my customers, ” said Felicien Kabuga, in kyniarwanda, before the house of the statement at a hearing examining the warrant of arrest issued by the MICT.
To challenge his transfer to Arusha, his lawyers have put forward the case of the seven accused in the ICTR, improperly cared for, including one who died prior to his trial, referring to the endemic diseases, the state of the health system of tanzania, and the health crisis related to the Covid-19.
But in its judgment, the board of education believes that there is ” no objective reason to doubt that the MICT is able to ensure Félicien Kabuga to the same safeguards, medical as those that are currently available in France “.
Finally, his lawyers fear that once Mr. Kabuga in Tanzania, the MICT decided to submit their client to the rwandan authorities, bypassing the refusal of France to bring genocide suspects to Kigali.
This is why the defence has written on Tuesday to the un-MICT to ask him formally to relinquish jurisdiction in favour of the French justice system, which has already judged and sentenced three genocide.