Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda: UN Judges in Favor of Kabuga’s Release

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read

Could Félicien Kabuga be released from custody soon?

The Appeals Chamber of the United Nations mechanism responsible for trying the Rwandan businessman has ordered an “indefinite” suspension of the proceedings and requested that the trial judges review his pre-trial detention. Kabuga was arrested in May 2020 in the Paris suburbs and is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Although the Appeals Chamber has made a decision, the case of the ex-businessman, Félicien Kabuga, is not fully closed. He is still under the jurisdiction of the court, and the trial judges will determine his fate. They will decide if he should be granted parole. As a result, Félicien Kabuga will not be released on Wednesday, August 9th, from the Scheveningen prison where he has been living for over three years.

It is unlikely that he will be returned to Asnières-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris where he was arrested in May 2020. The businessman has 13 children located in France, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. The judges are likely to order his transfer to one of these countries, and they will be obligated to cooperate.

The man is considered the “financial” of the genocide in Rwanda which killed at least 800,000 people in 1994. Arrested in France in 2020 under a false identity, he had been wanted for 25 years by international justice.

Félicien Kabuga, at least 88 years old, suffers in particular from “severe dementia”. He divides his time between his cell and the prison hospital. On June 6th, the judges declared him “unfit” to stand trial. They had nevertheless set up an unprecedented special procedure, saying they wanted to “contribute to maintaining peace in Rwanda.

It is precisely this simplified procedure that motivates the judges of the Appeals Chamber, they believe that the special war crimes tribunal committed “an error of law” with this decision and that an “indefinite suspension of the proceedings” should be taken “due to Félicien Kabuga’s inability to stand trial “.

Soukaina Sghir 

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