Trial of Rwandan Genocide Suspect Opens in The Hague

The trial of alleged Rwandan genocide financier Felicien Kabuga will commence in The Hague on Thursday September 29, 2022.

Kabuga is one of the last key suspects in the 1994 ethnic slaughter that devastated the East African country.

Kabuga’s trial will open at 0800 GMT before a UN tribunal, where he has been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the massacres 28 years ago of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Prosecutors and the defence are expected to make their opening statements on Thursday and Friday, with evidence in the case to start the following Wednesday.

Kabuga’s lawyers entered a not guilty plea to the charges at a first appearance in 2020.

He was one of Rwanda’s richest men and prosecutors say the octogenarian allegedly assisted in setting up hate media that urged ethnic Hutus to “kill Tutsi cockroaches” and funded militia groups in 1994.

Now in his mid-80s, Kabuga was arrested in France in May 2020 after evading police in several countries for the last quarter of a century.

He was then transferred to the UN’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, set up to complete the work of the now defunct Rwanda war crimes tribunal.

Said to be in fragile health, Kabuga in August appeared before the judges in a wheelchair — and it was not known whether he’ll be in court on Thursday as judges are permitting him to attend the hearings via a video link.

Kabuga was originally scheduled to appear in court in Arusha, where the other arm of the IRMCT resides, but judges had ruled he would remain in The Hague “until otherwise decided.”

In June, the judges denied a defence objection, ruling Kabuga was indeed fit to stand trial.


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