So, the editor of African Press International can not be tempted by the reward money for leading to the capture of Felician Kabuga? Then he is either an extraordinary human being, or there is something else up his sleeve.
I am prone to believe that the actions of what I will call the “Kabuga declarations” are nothing more than a red herring, an attempt to divert the attention of the ICTR tracking team, by pointing them to the opposite direction.
On many occasions, the Prosecutor of the UN tribunal has sounded optimistic on the likely hood of arresting Kabuga before the end of the tribunal’s mandate, but Kabuga has been as slippery as an eel and has managed to slip through the dragnet.
The writer of the “Kabuga declarations” makes another poor attempt at dangling bait in front of Rwandan judicial bait by suggesting that Kabuga would be an important asset to finding out the truth of the Rwanda Genocide.
“I know I will be useful to the government if they accept to negotiate with me. There are things that I will reveal to them. Things that will help them achieve their goals in punishing the real killers of our people,” he is quoted as saying.
What more will Kabuga tell the world that is not known already? Many suspects arrested by the Arusha-based tribunal have cooperated and spilled the beans and led to the arrest of some major figures of the Genocide.
But because of the potential dangers to their lives, the tribunal has to make special arrangements for their safety.
Michel Bagaragaza, who this week was returned to Arusha from The Hague where he was being held for security reasons, voluntarily gave himself up to the ICTR in August 2005 and struck a deal with the tribunal.
The former head of the national tea authority (OCIR-The) was a prominent member of the ruling family’s “Akazu” (inner circle) and he gave damning evidence on their involvement in the planning of the Genocide.
Among them; Habyarimana’s widow, Agathe Kanziga and her brother the famous “Mr Z” - Protais Zigiranyirazo. While in Arusha, Bagaragaza was not incarcerated with the other suspects; he was kept in a safe house until he was whisked away to safety at The Hague. Some other willing potential witnesses have not been so lucky.
In February 1999, the former Director General of BACAR, Pasteur Musabe, was found dead in Yaounde, Cameroon. Musabe was the younger brother of Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, one of the key figures on trial at the ICTR and who is considered to have been the “mastermind “of the Genocide.
It has been reported that Musabe was one of the first members of the ruling family’s to be approached by the tribunal to betray his own in exchange for some unspecified deal.
A more recent case involved another prominent member of the circle, former head of ORTPN. He had been secretly meeting with the ICTR investigators for a possible plea bargain.
On December 23, 2005, his badly mangled body was found floating in a canal in Brussels. It could have been a message: no one messes with the “family”, even if you are part of it.
“… Juvenal Uwilingiyimana, 54, had been cooperating for several months with prosecutors from the United Nations tribunal based in Tanzania that deals with genocide in Rwanda in 1994. He met with tribunal investigators for the last time three days before he disappeared on Nov. 21,” wrote the New York Times at the time.
Is it a coincidence that Kabuga is breaking the ice and resurfacing now? Has the hunter (remember Munuhe in Nairobi?) become the hunted that now his only option is to seek safety in a country where his machetes caused so much grief?
The screws are tightening and the net is getting closer. The “financer” must be tired of the frequent seizers of torticolis because of checking his rear at every step.
It is highly probable that he has chosen KIpter Korir and African Press International as his one way ticket back home, and safety from his old pals.