UN court says genocide suspect Kabuga ‘unfit’ for trial

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, Netherlands, a UN tribunal based in The Hague declared on Wednesday, June 7th, that Félicien Kabuga, an 88-year-old alleged financier of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, is unfit to stand trial, and therefore, there will be no trial.

The tribunal “concluded that Félicien Kabuga is unfit to meaningfully participate in his trial and it is highly unlikely that he will regain his physical fitness in the future,” said the jurisdiction in a statement, seeking an alternative “that resembles a trial as closely as possible, but without the possibility of conviction.”

UN judges had already announced the suspension of the trial in March, pending a decision on whether Félicien Kabuga was in good enough health to remain in the dock.

Arrested in 2020 near Paris after 25 years on the run, Félicien Kabuga is accused, among other things, of being involved in the creation of the Hutu militia Interahamwe, the armed wing of the Hutu genocidal regime.

At the opening of Félicien Kabuga’s trial in September 2022, prosecutors accused him of playing a key role in the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, including supplying machetes in large quantities and directing the notorious Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), which broadcasted calls for the killing of Tutsis.

The businessman refused to appear before the court or remotely at the start of his trial and later participated via video conference, in a wheelchair, from the United Nations detention unit in The Hague.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of involvement with the the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide where 1 million Tutsi killed. He also denied providing machetes or otherwise supporting the Hutu Interahamwe militias.