UN welcomes arrest of top suspect in Rwanda genocide

Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday welcomed the arrest of Felicien Kabuga, who is alleged to be a leading figure in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

As head of the “National Defense Fund” from April to July 1994, Kabuga allegedly helped finance the genocide, the UN news service reported.

He was also president of the “initiative committee” of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, whose broadcasts were used by Hutu extremists to incite hatred against Tutsis and identify individuals for subsequent killing, the UN reported.

“Mr. Kabuga’s apprehension sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later,” Guterres’ spokesperson said in a statement.

“The secretary-general’s thoughts today are first and foremost with the victims of Mr. Kabuga’s alleged crimes, the victims of other serious international crimes, and their families. Ending impunity is essential for peace, security and justice,” it said.

As a result of a joint investigation with the UN’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), Kabuga was apprehended in Paris by French authorities in a “sophisticated, coordinated operation with simultaneous searches across a number of locations,” the UN reported.

He was indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, and had been wanted by the IRMCT since 2013.

The UN chief praised the cooperation between the UN mechanism and the French authorities in the arrest, underlining the responsibility of all states to cooperate with the IRMCT in locating and arresting any fugitives at large. Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the IRMCT, where he will stand trial.

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