UN awaits Kabuga’s transfer to Tanzania for trial, prosecutor lauds arrest

“Following completion of appropriate procedures under French law, Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the custody of the Mechanism, where he will stand trial,” the UN’s tribunal MICT based in Arusha, Tanzania said in a statement on Saturday.

International fugitive and Rwandan genocide financier, Felicien Kabuga arrested on Saturday in a French suburb is expected to be tried at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT)’s branch in Arusha, Tanzania, an official from the proscecutor’s office said Saturday.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha.

A top UN prosecutor heading the tribunal also said that the arrest of Kabuga showed that suspects would be brought to justice for crimes in the 1994 bloodshed no matter how long it took.

“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,” said Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT).

“Today’s arrest underlines the strength of our determination,” an AFP report quoted him.

The UN body is wrapping up cases from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, which closed in 2015, and the Hague-based UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which shut in 2017.

“Following completion of appropriate procedures under French law, Kabuga is expected to the transferred to the custody of the Mechanism, where he will stand trial,” the MICT said in a statement.

His eventual transfer to UN custody was likely to take some time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tribunal sources said.

Prosecutor Brammertz praised French authorities, saying the arrest “could not have been made without their exceptional cooperation and skill”.

He also thanked other countries and international organisations that helped including Interpol and Europol.

French police arrested Kabuga in a “sophisticated, coordinated operation with simultaneous searches across a number of locations,” the MICT statement added.

Kabuga was indicted by the Rwanda tribunal on seven counts including genocide. 

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