Rwandan genocide financier appeals to French court


Rwandan genocide mastermind Felicien Kabuga went before the French supreme court on Wednesday requesting an appeal of the body's decision to hand him over to international judges in Tanzania.

Kabuga, 84, was arrested in May 16 at his home in the Paris suburb of Asnieres-sur-Seine for his role as the alleged financier of the 1994 genocide that left over half a million to just over a million people killed.

Kabuga was also a part of the inner circle of former President Juvenal Habyarimana whose assassination ignited the carnage.

Currently in prison in Paris, Kabuga will learn of the court's decision by Sept. 30.

In 1997, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda -- based in Tanzania -- had charged Kabuga with seven counts of genocide and multiple other counts as well as "persecution and extermination, all in connection with crimes committed during the 1994 genocide."

A reward of $5 million was placed on Kabuga's head by the International Mechanism, the structure responsible for completing the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

In June, the Paris Appeal Court ruled on an extradition request that would hand over the accused to the UN Tribunal in Arusha, in eastern Tanzania.

A fugitive for 26 years who had a warrant out for his arrest, Kabuga took refuge in the suburbs of Paris under a false identity after earlier hideouts in Switzerland, from where he was expelled, and Kenya.

He has been called Africa's most wanted man and one of the most wanted fugitives in the world.

Kabuga has cited ill health as a reason for his request to be tried in France as well as concerns over his safety during the coronavirus pandemic./aa