KIGALI - The head of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said on Thursday that his office is highly optimistic that Félicien Kabuga will be arrested before the department’s mandate closes at the end of this year.
The Chief Prosecutor, Bubacar Jallow, emerging from a meeting with Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga in Kimuhurura, Kigali on January 31, told journalists that there is new information on Kabuga.
Kabuga is charged with financing the 1994 Genocide. There is a US$5m bounty on Kabuga’s head placed by the US State Department but he has managed to elude arrest for over ten years.
The ICT, which has been trying suspects linked to the 1994 Genocide in Arusha, Tanzania, is set to complete its work by December 2008.
Utmost efforts are being made to bring the most sought-after fugitives like Kabuga, to justice before the end of the year. Jallow said the tribunal had renewed its appeal to all UN member states to help track down and arrest Kabuga and other fugitives still at large.
Kabuga’s Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (Thousand Hills Independent Radio and Television) called for the mass murder of Tutsis and others.
He is a wealthy businessman believed to have vast interests in Africa, including transport, real estate, hotels and farming.
Kabuga is also charged with supplying machetes, hoes and other weapons used by Interahamwe mobs. Last year, ICTR officers quizzed a Kenyan heart specialist, Dr Gerald Yonga, whom they suspected of having treated Kabuga in his clinic at Hurlingham in Nairobi between 2001 and 2003.
In 2005, an ICTR official said the tracking team was closing in on Kabuga when leaks from the police compromised their work.
Born in 1935, the fugitive has used the names Idriss Sudi, Faracean Kabuga, Abachev Straton, Anathase Munyaruga, and Oliver Rukundakuvuga.
Justice Jallow held discussions with justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, and Attorney General Tharcisse Karugarama at the Minister’s office in Kimuhurura on Thursday. Although details of the discussions were not revealed, sources told The Sunday Times that they involved the transfer of Genocide fugitives from Tanzania to Rwanda.
Ngoga reports that the government had asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to request that the Security Council take charge of hunting down Genocide suspects when the ICTR ends its term.
Ban Ki-Moon had said early this week that he supports Rwanda’s bid to receive and try Genocide suspects from the Arusha based ICTR.
“I support the efforts by the Rwandan government in preparation for these suspects for instance the improvement of detention facilities and the judicial reforms the country has undergone,” Ki-moon said.