UN tribunal puts Rwanda’s Felicien Kabuga on genocide trial | Genocide News

A trial was opened in The Hague against one of the last suspects sought by a United Nations court for the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The United Nations Court in The Hague has opened a genocide trial against a Rwandan businessman arrested two years ago after decades on the run, with judges saying the hearing must continue. continued despite the suspect’s decision to boycott his prison.

Felicien Kabuga, a former businessman and radio station owner, was one of the last suspects to be prosecuted by the court for crimes committed during the 1994 genocide, when majority Hutu fighters took power. killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.

Judge Iain Bonomy said: “It was an understanding of the room that Mr. Kabuga was very well aware of this morning but decided not to attend this morning’s hearing in person or via video link,” Judge Iain Bonomy said. . “The trial must proceed” with the prosecutor’s opening statement, the judges decided.

Kabuga is in his mid to late 80s, although his exact date of birth is controversial. He was arrested in May 2020 in Paris amid the COVID-19 lockdown and extradited to The Hague, where he pleaded not guilty.

During his extradition hearing in France, he described the accusations against him as “lies”.

Prosecutors charged the former coffee and tea mogul with three counts of genocide and two counts against humanity, primarily for promoting hate speech through his television station, Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM).

He is also accused of arming Hutu militiamen.

Charges against Kabuga

“To support the genocidal regime, Kabuga does not need to hold a rifle or a machete at a distance. Instead, he supplied weapons in large numbers and facilitated training in preparation for Interahamwe. [Hutu militias] to use them,” said UN prosecutor Rashid Rashid in his opening statement.

He added that similarly, Kabuga did not need to pick up the microphone himself to call for the killing of Tutsi, but set up a radio station that “broadcasts genocide propaganda across Rwanda”.

Prosecutors said the genocide charges included rape and sexual assault, as well as murder. They said Hutus was encouraged in RTLM broadcasts to “taste” Tutsi women.

United Nations prosecutor Serge Brammertz told Reuters news agency that opening the trial would strengthen international justice.

“Even if it takes more than 20 years, justice can succeed and justice can be done,” he said.

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