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Kabuga’s appearance in court: a new chapter for Genocide survivors

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By Ndahiro Herbert, First Secretary, Embassy of Rwanda in The Netherlands.

Mr. Félicien Kabuga, once referred to the “Most Wanted Man” for his involvement in the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda, on 11 Nov 2020 appeared before Judge Iain Bonomy at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism). 

Mr. Félicien Kabuga entered a plea of not guilty on all seven counts  including genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and extermination and persecution as crimes against humanity, in respect of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on 26 November 1997, and was arrested on 16 May 2020 in Asnières-sur-Seine, France, where he had been living under a false identity.

Back in Rwanda, Félicien Kabuga was the President of the Comité provisoire of the Fonds de défense nationale (“National Defence Fund”) from about 25 April 1994 to July 1994 and President of the Comité d’Initiative of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (“RTLM”), the propaganda machine that incited the Interahamwe to kill and exterminate the Tutsi.

Born in 1935 in Muniga Secteur, Mukarange Commune, Byumba Préfecture in the Republic of Rwanda, Kabuga provided funds and other logistical support including machetes to the Interahamwe for execution of their evil plan. 

The 84 year and former businessman, Kabuga, had been on the run for close to 26 years transiting many countries on false identities. 

His appearance in court marked a new chapter for the people of Rwanda and most especially survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi who would love to see him tried in Rwanda. 

Mr. Félicien Kabuga is currently in detention at the United Nations Detention Unity in Scheveningen. 

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