Kabuga is in Kenya, says ICTR
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)’s most wanted fugitive, Felicien Kabuga, is still hiding in Kenya, the Tribunal’s Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, declared yesterday. The fugitive millionaire is accused of financing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which a million people were killed.
This is not the first time the Arusha-based UN court has made the allegation, in the face of heated denial by the Kenyan government. Indeed, Nairobi’s position has been that it has no proof that the Genocide fugitive is in the country and would welcome any assistance in tracking him down and apprehending him.
But this position has not stopped both the ICTR and the US government from repeating the charge. “Our updated information still links Kabuga to Kenya, we are continuing with our hunt for him,” Jallow told journalists in Kigali yesterday.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga would not be drawn into the Kabuga matter. “We would wish to have the big suspects transferred to Rwanda, but even if they are not, all we want is to see them tried fairly.”
The wealthy fugitive is the most wanted of nine genocide suspects being sought by the ICTR, but has proved hard to find. The United States government placed a $5 million bounty for information leading to his arrest.
Kabuga has been on the run for years since he was indicted by the ICTR and is suspected to have found a safe haven in Kenya, where it is alleged that top government officials in the previous regime protected him. But going by the repeated position of the ICTR, he would appear to have also found protection under the current government; a charge that Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga flatly denied during a visit to Kigali late last year.
Born in 1935, Kabuga is said to frequent various African capitals where has bought protection. He was expelled from Switzerland in 1994, and spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo before seeking refuge in Kenya, where he has evaded several attempts to arrest him.
He narrowly escaped arrest in Kenya in 1998, when an ICTR team raided a Nairobi house allegedly rented from a nephew of the former president and found a note indicating he had been tipped off by sources within the Kenyan police.
The Tribunal’s mandate ends by December 2014, and last week it triggered its winding procedures when it swore in nine judges assigned to the International Residual Mechanism Tribunal, which will commence its work on July 1, 2012.
Apart from Kabuga, other high level fugitives sought by the Tribunal are Protais Mpiranyi, a former Commander of the Rwandan Presidential Guard, and a former Minister of Defence, Augustin Bizimana.
So far the ICTR has transferred four case files of suspects to Rwanda but the government has expressed interest in trying the top three suspects.
So far, the only suspect transferred to Kigali is Jean Uwinkindi, signifying the Court’s new found confidence in Rwanda’s reformed judiciary. The three case files sent to Rwanda are on the ex-Mayor (Bourgmestre) of Nyakizu, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, a former inspector in the criminal investigation department, Fulgence Kayishema, and another former Bourgmestre, Charles Sikubwabo.
According to Jallow, the ICTR is satisfied by the manner in which Rwanda is handling the case of Uwinkindi.
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