A trial is opened in The Hague against one of the last suspects wanted by a UN tribunal for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
A UN tribunal in The Hague has opened the genocide trial against a Rwandan businessman who was captured two years ago after decades on the run.
Felicien Kabuga, a former businessman and radio station owner, is one of the latest suspects wanted by the tribunal prosecuting the crimes of the 1994 genocide, when ruling Hutu-majority fighters killed more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates in 100 days. minorities killed.
“The chamber understands that Mr. Kabuga is feeling well this morning, but has decided not to attend the hearing this morning in person or via video link,” Judge Iain Bonomy said. “The trial must continue” with the prosecutor’s opening statement, the judges decided.
Kabuga is mid to late 80’s, although his exact date of birth is disputed. He was arrested in Paris in May 2020 between COVID-19 lockdowns and extradited to The Hague where he has filed a not-guilty plea.
During his extradition hearings in France, he described the charges against him as “lies”.
Prosecutors have indicted the former coffee and tea magnate on three counts of genocide and two counts of crimes against humanity, primarily for promoting hate speech through his broadcaster, Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM).
He is also accused of arming ethnic Hutu militias.
Charges against Kabuga
“In support of the genocide, Kabuga did not have to wield a gun or machete at a roadblock. Instead, he supplied weapons in bulk and facilitated the training provided by the Interahamwe. prepared [Hutu militias] to use them,” UN Prosecutor Rashid Rashid said in his opening statement.
He added that Kabuga also did not have to pick up a microphone himself to call for the killing of Tutsis, but set up a radio station that “broadcast genocide propaganda throughout Rwanda”.
Prosecutors said the genocide charges relate to rapes and assaults, as well as murders. Hutus were encouraged in RTLM broadcasts to “taste” Tutsi women, they said.
UN prosecutor Serge Brammertz told Reuters news agency that opening the trial would strengthen international justice.
“Even if it has taken more than 20 years, justice can still be successful and that justice can be done,” he said.