Accused in particular of genocide, Félicien Kabuga was arrested in May near Paris, after 25 years on the run.
Aged 84 years according to the arrest warrant, 87 years according to his statements, he is accused of having participated in the creation of the Hutu Interahamwe militias, the main armed forces of the 1994 genocide which killed 800,000 according to the UN, mainly within the Tutsi minority.
He was originally due to be transferred to Arusha for trial by the MTPI – which has a division in Tanzania and one in the Netherlands – but was eventually sent to The Hague awaiting a medical examination.
Kabuga’s first appearance before the MTPI, the body responsible for completing the work of the International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. GMT) in The Hague, the Mechanism said on Monday. in an official document.
Mr. Kabuga has the option of attending the hearing in person or, if he prefers, by videoconference from his detention center, the MTPI said.
A first medical report recommends that this appearance take place by videoconference because of concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report also states that “several aspects of Mr. Kabuga’s health require further consideration“, specified the MTPI.
He is indicted by the MTPI in particular for “genocide“,” direct and public incitement to commit genocide “and “crimes against humanity (persecutions and extermination)”.
Former president of the infamous Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), which broadcast calls for the murders of Tutsis, he challenges all of the seven charges against him.
Félicien Kabuga is also suspected of having contributed in 1993 to the massive purchase of machetes which will be distributed to the militiamen in April 1994, an accusation which supports the thesis of a planning of the genocide, never decided by international justice to the chagrin of Kigali.
Mr. Kabuga’s lawyers had made a request in early October to request that he be permanently transferred to The Hague and not to Arusha, “given his age, his fragile health and the presence of the Covid-19 epidemic in Tanzania”.
The prosecutor of the MTPI, Serge Brammertz, had partially supported the request of the defense, considering that Mr. Kabuga had to be “previously” transferred to The Hague in order to undergo an “independent medical examination”.
The objective, according to the prosecutor, is to determine whether his state of health is compatible with a transfer and detention in the Tanzanian city.
At the end of September, the French Court of Cassation had definitively validated the surrender to international justice of Mr. Kabuga, considering that there was “no legal or medical obstacle to the execution of the arrest warrant” aimed at transfer it to Arusha.
Ranked among the most wanted fugitives in the world, Félicien Kabuga was arrested on May 16 in a city in the Paris suburbs where he resided under a false identity.
Refugee in Switzerland in July 1994 before being expelled, he then temporarily moved to Kinshasa. He was reported in July 1997 in Nairobi, where he had escaped an operation intended to arrest him, then another in 2003, according to the specialized NGO TRIAL.
According to the French authorities, he also lived in Germany and Belgium. The United States had promised a reward of up to $ 5 million for his capture.