UN judge orders extradition of suspected Rwandan genocide Kabuga to The Hague

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A UN judge ruled on Wednesday that Rwandan genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga, who has been in a French prison since May, should be sent to a detention center in The Hague ahead of his trial.

“I hereby amend the arrest warrant and the transfer order,” said Judge Iain Bonomy of Arusha, Tanzania. “I think there are unusual circumstances and that it would be in the interests of justice [to send Kabuga to The Hague]. ”

The ruling means Kabuga, 84, is likely to spend at least several months in The Hague and be brought before an international judge there for an initial appearance in his war crimes case rather than in Tanzania as originally planned.

UN prosecutors accuse the former tea and coffee tycoon of bankrolling and importing a large number of machetes into ethnic Hutu militias that killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda over a 100-day period in 1994.

Kabuga was arrested by French police outside Paris in mid-May after about 25 years on the run.

Once one of the world’s most wanted refugees, his wealth and connections helped him avoid capture when he moved from Rwanda to Switzerland, was then deported to the Democratic Republic of Congo, then known as Zaire, and later moved to Kenya.

Kabuga, who has not yet appeared before the UN court, dismissed accusations against him as “lies” during French extradition hearings.

It had been uncertain where Kabuga would be sent exactly after France’s Supreme Court on September 30 ruled that he could be handed over to UN detention in Arusha.

Former UN courts for war crimes in Rwanda and Yugoslavia have been rolled over to a subsequent court, which has two offices in The Hague and Arusha.

Bonomy’s ruling said the court had not yet received Kabuga’s medical cases and that the relatively short distance between Paris and The Hague meant that Kabuga’s transfer there would pose “far less risk”.

He said the date of Kabuga’s initial appearance was not certain, in part because he needed quarantine for 10 days after arrival.



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