KIGALI, Rwanda – One of the most wanted fugitives from the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been arrested in Paris, authorities said on Saturday.
Felicien Kabuga, who had a $ 5 million bonus on his head, was arrested as a result of a joint investigation with the prosecution of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, French authorities said.
The 84-year-old Kabuga was wanted in the genocide, which killed more than 800,000 ethnic Tucs and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them.
French authorities say he lives in Paris under suspicion.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [USA] has indicted Kabuga in 1997 on charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and destruction.
Prosecutors in Rwanda said financial documents found in the capital, Kigali, after the genocide indicated that Kabuga was using its companies to import huge quantities of machetes that had been used for slaughter.
The wealthy businessman was also accused of setting up the Mille Collines radio station, which broadcast vicious propaganda against ethnic Tutsis, as well as training and equipping the militia in Interahamwe, which is leading the murder.
Kabuga was close to former President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death in the downing of his plane over Kigali sparked a hundred-day genocide. Kabuga’s daughter married Habyarimana’s son.
Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the detention facility of the US mechanism, where he will be tested.
“Kabuga’s arrest today is a reminder that those responsible for the genocide could be brought to justice even 26 years after their crimes,” the mechanism’s chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, said in a statement.
He thanked the French Central Office for Combating Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes and the prosecutor’s office of the Court of Appeal in Paris.
Authorities in Rwanda welcomed the arrest and said the East African country would continue to cooperate with the US mechanism to ensure justice.
According to Rwanda prosecutors, other senior fugitives still at large include Protais Mpiranya, the former commander of the Presidential Guard, and former Defense Minister Augustin Bizimana.
Elaine Ganley contributed to Paris.
Ignatius Susuna, Associated Press