Court paves way for Kabuga estate appeal

KIGALI - As the whereabouts of the most wanted genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga remain a mystery, a Kenyan court yesterday revised its decision to uphold a ruling to freeze his property and agreed to proceed with the appeal by his wife.

KIGALI - As the whereabouts of the most wanted genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga remain a mystery, a Kenyan court yesterday revised its decision to uphold a ruling to freeze his property and agreed to proceed with the appeal by his wife.

Kabuga’s wife Josephine Mukazitoni earlier this year filed an application for a case to unfreeze her husband’s property without necessarily notifying him but was rejected by Justice Muga Apondi and in August.

However in a major turn of events, reports from Kenya indicated that Justice Phillip Tunoi has allowed the application for the case to proceed without notifying the fugitive and Kenyan Trust Company, the firm which runs Kabuga’s businesses in Kenya.

The new development which is likely to see the fugitive’s multi-million businesses unfrozen is likely not to go down well with the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) which continues to cite Kenya as not cooperative in the search for Kabuga.

Mukazitoni claims that the decision by the High Court to freeze the property she co-owns with her husband is not a justified and that Kenyan courts have no legal authority to freeze these assets.

However in his earlier ruling, Justice Apondi argued that Kenya as a UN member state had a duty to fulfil a request from ICTR to help locate the elusive Genocide fugitive.

When asked for a comment on the latest development in the case, Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said that it is too early to speculate on the case, adding that it is up to the court to decide.

“I can’t comment on a court case that is still proceeding. We have to give the court time to pronounce its position and decision it deems right,” Karugarama told The New Times.

Investigations indicated that Kabuga in his unknown location was receiving money wired from his businesses which include luxurious villas known as Spanish Villas located in Nairobi on a monthly basis from his property managers.

Kabuga, a fugitive who has a US$5 million bounty on his head issued by the US is wanted for having financed the Genocide that left over a million people dead.

The Arusha-based tribunal says there is evidence Kabuga entered Kenya, applied for residency status, had his visa approved and opened a bank account.

Kabuga is on the list of 13 people whose arrest by ICTR is still pending as the 15-year old tribunal eyes closing shop at the end of next year.

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