French authorities arrested Félicien Kabuga, a leading figure in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, on Saturday in Paris.
A release from the UN said Kabuga, 84, “was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.” In the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Hutu militias massacred an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.
Kabuga was one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, and the French police say the arrest was a result of a sophisticated operation. After the completion of appropriate procedures, the French will transfer Kabuga to the UN’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), which performs the duties of the ad hoc tribunals established for the international crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
In a statement after the arrest of Kabuga, the Mechanism’s Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said
Our first thoughts must be with the victims and survivors of the Rwandan genocide,” and that “[f]or international justice, Kabuga’s arrest demonstrates that we can succeed when we have the international community’s support. This result is a tribute to the unwavering commitment of the United Nations Security Council, which established the Mechanism to continue the accountability process in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
The arrest of Kabuga is a success for the international criminal community. There are still fugitives from the Rwandan genocide sought by the international community, including Protais Mpiranya, the Commander of the Rwandan presidential guard during the genocide, and Augustin Bizimana, the Rwandan defense minister during the genocide.