‘He wouldn’t say a word’

PARIS, May 17 (Reuters) – Rwandan genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, whose arrest on Saturday ended 26 years on the run, was a frail, aged man who stated little to neighbours and who would take a stroll most days outdoors of his condominium in a well-off suburb of Paris.

Kabuga, 84, Rwanda’s most needed man with a $5 million bounty on his head, had been dwelling beneath a false title in a five-storey condominium block in Asnieres-sur-Seine with the assistance of his kids, in response to France’s justice ministry.

Police detained him early on Saturday.

“I would see this man going out, maybe once a day, alone or with someone,” stated Jean-Yves Breneol, 72, a resident in the identical block the place Kabuga lived. “He wouldn’t say a word, nothing.”

Breneol stated he thought Kabuga may need lived within the constructing for 4 or 5 years.

“We didn’t know his name, nothing,” he continued.

It isn’t recognized how or when Kabuga entered France.

But neighbours stated they had been surprised to be taught that a man needed by a United Nations tribunal on seven felony expenses together with genocide and incitement to commit genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, had been dwelling amongst them.

“What’s happened is shocking,” stated a second resident within the constructing who recognized himself solely as Jean-Guillaume, who added that Kabuga appeared weak.

“He was an old man, very old. He was sick.”

Reuters couldn’t discover any public remark made by Kabuga over time in regards to the expenses. It was not instantly recognized if he has a lawyer in France.

Kabuga is now being held in La Sante jail in central Paris.

At the foot of an imposing outer wall fabricated from stone and bristling with safety cameras, a coat of arms within the tricolor of the French nationwide flag hangs beside a reception kiosk.


Kabuga’s arrest marked the top of a greater than two-decade lengthy hunt that spanned Africa and Europe.

A Hutu businessman, he’s accused of making and making contributions to a fund that raised funds to pay the youth militias that will slaughter some 800,000 Tutsis and average Hutus, in addition to importing big numbers of machetes, in response to the UN tribunal’s indictment.

Kabuga had been an affiliate of president Juvenal Habyarimana, whose loss of life in a aircraft shot down over the Rwandan capital Kigali in 1994 ignited the deep-rooted ethnic tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis. Two of his daughters married into Habyarimana’s household, in response to an amended indictment dated 2004.

One of Rwanda’s richest males earlier than the genocide, Kabuga managed most of the central African nation’s espresso and tea plantations and factories. He additionally co-owned Radio Television Milles Collines, whose radio station broadcast anti-Tutsi messages that fanned the ethnic hatred.

The scars of the genocide stay deeply etched within the Rwandan psyche.

“This is really good news that someone who planned and financed the genocide and has been hiding for a long time and now arrested. It is good news for everyone especially survivors,” stated Valerie Mukabayire, chief of AVEGA, a group of girls survivors of the genocide.

Mukabayire, 64, stated she misplaced relations together with her husband. Her survivors’ group has barely over 19,000 members.

“We were worried that his (Kabuga’s) elderly age would impede justice but now we are happy that he is arrested,” she instructed Reuters by cellphone.

Kabuga’s arrest paves the best way for him to come back earlier than the Paris Appeal Court and later be transferred to the custody of the worldwide court docket, which is predicated within the Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established by the U.N. Security Council and closed in 2015. The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals is now mandated to carry out some features carried out by the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the previous Yugoslavia.

The ICTR was on the centre of efforts to set new requirements in worldwide justice, although Rwandan President Paul Kagame stated it was too gradual and too inefficient. Some critics stated it was too targeted on prosecuting Hutus.

“For international justice, Kabuga’s arrest demonstrates that we can succeed when we have the international community’s support,” Mechanism Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated in a assertion. (Reporting by Clotaire Achi, Dominique Vidalon and Richard Lough in Paris and Clement Uwiringiyimana in Kigali Writing by Richard Lough Editing by Frances Kerry)