ICTR castigates Kenya for failing to arrest Kabuga

ARUSHA - The Kenyan government has once again come under criticism by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for doing little in apprehending Felicien Kabuga, a fugitive wanted for the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
 Hassan Boubacar Jallow.
Hassan Boubacar Jallow.

ARUSHA - The Kenyan government has once again come under criticism by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for doing little in apprehending Felicien Kabuga, a fugitive wanted for the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

In his report to the UN Security Council on Friday, the tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow castigated the Kenyan government for having little commitment in arresting the fugitive who has been on the run for over a decade.

“There is no indication of any steps taken by the Government of Kenya other than the earlier seizure of one property to implement the recommendations of the ICTR-Kenya police joint task force or the requests of ICTR in respect of the person and property of Felicien Kabuga,” Jallow said.

The UN-backed tribunal has on several occasions insisted that Kabuga is hiding in Kenya, claims that the Kenyan Government has denied.

Kabuga who has been dubbed the financier of the Genocide, has been on the run for over 14 years and he is mainly accused of bankrolling the infamous Radio Television de Mille Collines (RTLM) which played a significant role of calling for the mass murder of Tutsis.

ICTR issued an international arrest warrant for Kabuga in August 1999, charging him with 11 counts, including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and complicity to genocide.

According to the tribunal, Kabuga was “the main supporter and financier of the Interahamwe militia”, which carried out most of the killings.

Charges against Kabuga, a former businessman, in 1998 indicated that he made “massive purchases” of machetes, hoes and other tools that were mainly used in the killings.

Resolutions 1503 and 1534 of the UN Security Council, States are called upon, to intensify cooperation with ICTR in the arrest of the remaining thirteen Genocide fugitives still at large. Most of the fugitives indicted by the ICTR live in African countries that include the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The DRC is believed by the ICTR to be home to a half a dozen of the remaining thirteen fugitives which the Arusha-based UN court wants member States to cooperate in their arrests.    

“So long as the demands of international justice fail to be satisfied through the transfer and arrest of these fugitives, the demands of peace and stability in the region may continue to elude the international community,” Jallow says.

In a similar report Jallow submitted to the UN in June this year, he reported that the ICTR- Kenya joint taskforce that is charged with investigating the alleged existence of Kabuga on Kenyan soil had submitted three reports to the ICTR and the government of Kenya that attest to Kabuga’s presence in Kenya.

The reports indicated that there is documented evidence of Kabuga’s entry into Kenya in 1994 and the grant of a residence visa to him as well as a business permit in 1995. 

Meanwhile, commenting on the referral of cases to Rwanda, Jallow said that although the tribunal’s Appeals Chamber had denied the transfer of cases to Rwanda, the setback had not in any way closed the door to the referral strategy.  

Five ICTR-indicted suspects including notorious Jean Baptiste Gatete, a former Bourgmestre of Murambi commune, had been referred by the prosecutor to be tried in Rwanda but this was reversed by the Appeals Chamber.

Jallow informed the Security Council that his office and that of the Prosecutor General of Rwanda had held a number of consultations aimed at identifying the measures which Rwanda could take to meet the concerns of the judges.

“The measures having been identified, both parties have agreed that once they are implemented by the Rwandan Government, the ICTR Prosecutor will consider submitting new requests to the judges early in 2009 for referral of cases to Rwanda,’ he said.

The ICTR has until the end of next year to have wrapped up all trials on first instance while appeals will proceed until 2010. According to statute establishing the tribunal cases that will remain pending after the court closes down will be transferred to national jurisdiction and Rwanda remains the only country that requested to try these cases.

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