US exerts more pressure on Kenya over Kabuga

KIGALI - The United States has piled more pressure on Kenya to hunt down and handover Felicien Kabuga, the most wanted genocide fugitive believed to be hiding in Kenya.
US Special Envoy for war Crimes, Steven Rapp
US Special Envoy for war Crimes, Steven Rapp

KIGALI - The United States has piled more pressure on Kenya to hunt down and handover Felicien Kabuga, the most wanted genocide fugitive believed to be hiding in Kenya.

According to Reuters, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes Stephen Rapp currently in Kenya, said that the fact that the country has failed to deliver Kabuga to the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) was part and parcel of an impunity culture that must be detested.

“I’ve seen pictures of him in Kenyan neighborhoods; the ICTR has continued to press with Kenyan authorities for effective action to bring about his arrest.

Even arriving last  night, I received fresh information of his presence in Kenya,” Obama’s envoy on war crimes told Reuters.

According to Rapp, who was in Rwanda over the weekend, Kenya has totally failed to back up its recent claims that Kabuga had left the country.

Earlier this month, Kenyan Premier Raila Odinga told local media that Kabuga is ‘likely’ to have left the country.

“If you are still looking for the evidence, you can’t honestly say that he’s left. You can’t have it both ways. So I think we have to presume that this man is still here,” he said.
“They need to cooperate genuinely, and deliver Kabuga. Send him down the road to Arusha.”

Rapp added that it is crucial that Kenya acted on Kabuga if it is to show its commitment to fight impunity.

“Obviously cooperation on that case is important, but it’s all part and parcel of the same thing. It is critical that a man who was involved in inciting ethnic hatred…isn’t given refuge, and continued refuge in Kenya, at this critical time.” he told Reporters

During his visit to the country last week, the ICTR Chief Prosecutor expressed the same concerns, pointing out that Kenya has failed to provide documented evidence to the Arusha-based tribunal indicating Kabuga’s departure from the country.

Hassan Boubacar Jallow said that Kenyan authorities have since ceased to cooperate with the UN tribunal to search for and apprehend Kabuga, who reportedly owns properties and operates business in Kenya.

Kabuga is the most-wanted mastermind of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which claimed over 1 million lives and the United States has put a $5 million bounty on his head under the rewards for justice programme.

When contacted, Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said it was unfortunate that ICTR has failed to exercise it is mandate to arrest Kabuga even with its resources and facilitation in place.

“It is their mandate, they should do it. They are in a better position to do so. It is unfortunate that they haven’t done the arrest,” Karugarama said.

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