French prosecutor due in Rwanda over Félicien Kabuga investigation

Félicien Kabuga.

Reports from French media indicate that Aurélia Devos, the deputy prosecutor at the Paris High Court, will travel Rwanda in a few weeks to oversee a UN criminal investigation into Félicien Kabuga, the financier of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Devos particularly heads the crimes against humanity division.


This comes at a time when a French court is yet to set the date for the appeal case in which the suspected genocide mastermind hopes to turn around another court's earlier ruling that he be transferred to Tanzania for trial.


A French court, the Paris Court of Appeal, on June 3, ruled that Kabuga be transferred from France to the custody of the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (RMICT), for trial.


The ruling came after his request for bail was turned down by a French court on May 27.

Richard Gisagara, a Rwandan lawyer based in France who is following up on the case, earlier this month told The New Times that "no one knows when the hearing will take place" but noted that it would not take more than two months before a date is set, as per french law.

Earlier, William Sekule, the duty judge at the Arusha branch of the Mechanism ruled that Kabuga will be transferred to Arusha, Tanzania once conditions allow.

The Mechanism’s prosecutor had filed an urgent motion seeking the temporary transfer of Kabuga to The Hague citing the ongoing Covid-19 crisis which has temporarily halted air travel.

But Sekule ruled that there was no need for the temporary transfer even before the suspect exhausts the ongoing process on extradition in French courts.

Kabuga opposed his extradition and wanted to be tried in France.

After his interrogation by prosecution last month, Kabuga made his first court appearance in the Paris Court of Appeal, on May 20.

He was indicted by the now-defunct United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), in 1997.

He was indicted on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda.

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