UN rights chief hails arrest of Rwanda genocide ‘financier’

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UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday hailed the arrest in France of Felicien Kabuga, one of the last key fugitives wanted over the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The 84-year-old was arrested Saturday in the suburbs of Paris, where he had been living under a false identity.

Once one of Rwanda’s richest men, Kabuga is accused of using his wealth and influence during the genocide to funnel money to militia groups.

Around 800,000 people — Tutsis but also moderate Hutus — were slaughtered over 100 days by ethnic Hutu extremists during the 1994 genocide.

Bachelet said victims of the genocide “have long waited to see Kabuga, and the seven other people indicted on similar charges who are still at large, answer in court for the extremely grave charges against them.

“We hope this success redoubles the commitment of all states to take the steps necessary to track down the whereabouts of the last seven indictees, in order that they too may face justice,” she said in a statement.

Kabuga now faces likely trial at an international tribunal.

Bachelet said his arrest, more than 25 years after the genocide, “underscores the long reach of international criminal accountability”.

Kabuga is accused of creating the notorious Interahamwe militia that carried out massacres during the genocide.

He is also alleged to have used Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines to stir up ethnic hatred.

“As we continue today to see dangerously false news, racial and ethnic hatred and incitement to violence being disseminated widely, the case of Kabuga and the effects of the propaganda broadcast by Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines are a stark reminder of where such language can lead, and why the fight against it is so important,” said Bachelet.

During his years on the run, Kabuga spent time in Germany, Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Switzerland.

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