UN Prosecutor says telephone, financial data led to Kabuga arrest

Serge Brammertz, the Chief Prosecutor of the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (RMICT), has said his team of investigators in collaboration with other organs relied on telephone and financial data, among others, to eventually arrest Félicien Kabuga this past weekend.

Kabuga, one of the key architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, was arrested Saturday, May 16, in a Paris suburb after more than two decades on the run.

 

Speaking to Rwanda Broadcasting Agency on Monday, May 18, Brammertz explained that Kabuga's arrest was a result of two years of investigation.

 

Investigators first focused on Germany, he said, the last place "we were sure he had been" in 2007 and started working.

 

Brammertz said he could not go into operational details but explained that they later came to the conclusion that Kabuga could be either in the UK, France, or Belgium.

"In the last two months, we really came to the conclusion that it was very likely that he could be in France, and in the region of Paris."

At this point the Mechanism's team, he said, started intensifying cooperation with French authorities.

"A few weeks ago, we had a clear idea of where he would be physically hiding. French authorities put the operation in place," he added.

Intel-driven investigation

"It's been very much a police driven and intelligence-driven investigation over the last two years. We had to collect telephone data, financial data; very much coming from the UK, from France, from Belgium, and from my office," he noted, adding that that is how the major part of the operation took place.

Meanwhile, speaking to The New Times, Brammertz said that Kabuga was using over 20 aliases and several passports, out of these at least three were by African countries.

All contacted security and other services in countries concerned cooperated efficiently, he said.

Many unanswered questions remain as experts and others wonder, among others, how a man wanted by the police all over the world could have arrived in France and lived there incognito.

French prosecution and police said 85-year-old Kabuga was living under a false identity in the Paris suburbs.

Kabuga was charged before the ICTR with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, committed in Rwanda between April 6 and July 17, 1994.

Kabuga, who is reportedly being detained at La Sante prison in Paris is expected to be produced before the court on Tuesday.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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