A Rwandan genocide suspect, who had evaded capture for more than 25 years, was arrested near Paris few days ago.
Felicien Kabuga, who is accused of funding militias that massacred about 800,000 people, was arrested on Saturday morning, according to France’s justice ministry. The businessman is Rwanda’s most wanted man and had a $5m (£4.1m) US bounty on his head.
The French ministry said he had been living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, a commune just north of Paris. When Felicien Kabuga, was arraigned, he told a French court on Wednesday that the international charges against him were lies.
Kabuga has been indicted by U.N. prosecutors for genocide and incitement to commit genocide, among other charges. He is accused of bankrolling and arming the ethnic Hutu militias which killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus over 100 days in 1994.
Asked if he understood the charges, Kabuga told the court through an interpreter: “All of this is lies. I have not killed any Tutsis. I was working with them.”
Kabuga was arrested in a Paris suburb on May 16. His lawyers told the court he should be released under court supervision because of his age and ill-health, and that the results of a DNA test used to identify him should be annulled as he had not given consent.
The court’s three judges, who are due to decide whether to transfer Kabuga to the international tribunal based in The Hague and Arusha, Tanzania. Kabuga was too elderly and sick to be transferred and should be tried in France, his lawyers said.
“This court is just saying ‘go and get judged elsewhere but not here’. It wants to hand him over him without consideration for his age and health, which could have irreversible consequences,” defence lawyer Laurent Bayon told the court.
“Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” a statement from the ministry said