Rwanda: after the arrest of Félicien Kabuga, what about the other alleged genocidaires?

The Genocide Memorial, in Ntarama, Rwanda. (illustration image) Jacques NKINZINGABO / AFP

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Félicien Kabuga, considered one of the financiers of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, was arrested on Saturday May 16 in France. He had been on the run for 23 years. If the associations welcome this arrest, they point out that other personalities implicated in the genocide are still wanted. 


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Félicien Kabuga is one of the key players in the genocide. The businessman notably created the National Defense Fund. A fund to which several businessmen abound intended to support the interim government, to supply arms, uniforms and ammunition to the Interahamwe militiamen. With others, Félicien Kabuga also took charge of arousing the spirits, reproached the indictment. It is he who chairs the initiative committee of Radio-television of the Thousand Hills, RTLM, which calls for the murders of Tutsis, and the hunt for Hutu opponents to the regime. 

► Read also: The alleged “financier” of the genocide in Rwanda arrested near Paris

Associations of victims and survivors welcome his arrest , but also recall that other important actors involved in the events are still at large. It's the arrest of a big fish,  " said Alain Gauthier, the president of the collective of civil parties for Rwanda, who recalls Kabuga's links with the country's political leaders, and more particularly with the president's family. Habyarimana.

"He  was one of the most important figures sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ," he insists. There are still two more. A certain Augustin Bizimana and a certain Mpiranya. We do not know if they are still alive. Besides, we wondered if Kabuga was still alive. Now there are many others who still live in France with total impunity, in complete anonymity. All those who can be brought to justice, it will always be the honor given to the survivors, to the families of the victims . "

Thirty arrest warrants

If the National Commission to Combat Genocide welcomes the cooperation of the French authorities, its president Jean Damascène Bizimana also hopes that other arrests will follow. “  We also welcome the fact that France has been cooperative, the French police and the institutions that were responsible for its pursuit. But we hope that these efforts will continue so that other criminals who are on French territory and elsewhere in European countries in particular can also be apprehended and brought to justice because 26 years after the facts, it’s been still a lot … ”

According to the commission, Rwanda has issued around 30 arrest warrants against suspected genocidaires living in France. Among them Agathe Kanziga, the widow of former president Juvenal Habyarimana, or Hyacinthe Nsengiyumva Rakifi, who was minister of the genocidal government.

On trial, Félicien Kabuga will face seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. For the moment, no one knows if this 84 year old man will be judged Arusha or in The Hague. After appearing before the Indictments Chamber in Paris in the coming days, Félicien Kabuga will first be transferred to The Hague. He must then say whether he pleads guilty or not guilty to the crimes charged. 

► Read also: Genocide in Rwanda: a look back at Félicien Kabuga's 23 years on the run

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Genocide in Rwanda: a look back at Félicien Kabuga's 23 years on the run

The alleged "financier" of the genocide in Rwanda arrested near Paris