Félicien Kabuga Biography, Félicien Kabuga Wiki
Félicien Kabuga is a Rwandan businessman, accused of bankrolling and participating in the Rwandan genocide.
French authorities arrested Félicien Kabuga, an alleged leader and financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, early Saturday morning in Paris. Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which handles war crimes cases from Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, heralded the arrest as a “a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes.”
“Our first thoughts must be with the victims and survivors of the Rwandan genocide,” Brammertz said in a statement released Saturday. “Advocating on their behalf is an immense professional honor for my entire Office.”
The authorities who have been hunting for Kabuga for years say the businessman played a key role in the ethnic bloodshed that left more than 800,000 people dead in a span of about three months. He allegedly encouraged and facilitated the violence in his capacity as both president of a Rwandan radio station that has been blamed for helping incite the rampant slaughter of ethnic Tutsis and other minority groups, and as the head of a fund that financed and supported the Hutu militias that carried it out.
Kabuga was born in Kibungo, in the commune of Gitarama, prefecture of Mabuye, present-day Rwanda. Kabuga amassed his wealth by owning tea farms in northern Rwanda, among other business ventures. A multimillionaire, he was closely connected to Juvénal Habyarimana’s MRND party and the Akazu, an informal group of Hutu extremists from northern Rwanda that strongly contributed to the Rwandan genocide.
Kabuga was also allegedly heavily involved in the founding and bankrolling of RTLM, as well as Kangura magazine. In 1993, at an RTLM fundraising meeting organized by the MRND, Félicien Kabuga allegedly publicly defined the purpose of RTLM as the defense of Hutu Power. During the ICTR’s so-called “media trial”, former RTLM presenter Georges Ruggiu named Kabuga as the “Chairman Director-general” of the station, with duties such as “presiding over RTLM” and “representing RTLM.”
From January 1993 to March 1994, a total of 500,000 machetes were imported into Rwanda, statistically one for every three adult Hutus in the country. Kabuga has been named as one of the main importers of these machetes.
Kabuga is married to Josephine Mukazitoni. Two of their daughters are married to two of Habyarimana’s sons.
Indictment by ICTR
On 29 August 1998, the prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Carla Del Ponte, indicted Kabuga. In the amended indictment dated 1 October 2004, prosecutor Hassan Jallow charged Kabuga with:
- Conspiracy to commit genocide
- Genocide, or alternatively
- Complicity in genocide
- Direct and public incitement to commit genocide
- Extermination as a crime against humanity.
Life as a fugitive
In June 1994, as Rwanda was being conquered by the RPF, Kabuga fled the country. He first attempted to enter Switzerland but was ordered to leave. He went to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was later believed to be residing in Nairobi, Kenya.
In September 1995, before any indictment and before he was named as a suspected planner of the genocide, Kabuga registered and ran a business named ‘Nshikabem Agency’ in Nairobi, operating out of the Kilimani area located along Nairobi’s Lenana Road.
In a speech given on 28 August 2006 during his visit to Kenya, then US Senator Barack Obama accused Kenya of “allowing him [Kabuga] to purchase safe haven.” The Kenyan government denied these allegations and described Obama’s allegation regarding Kabuga as “an insult to the people of this country.”
According to June 2008 reports by a Norwegian-based blogger calling himself African Press International (API), Kabuga was in hiding in Oslo, and might be seeking to turn himself in. Authorities dismissed this claim as a hoax.
KTN news network in Kenya reported on 14 June 2008 that Kabuga had been arrested by Kenya Police the day before and was being held at Gigiri Police Station in Nairobi. Later, the suspect was found to be a local university lecturer, not Kabuga as previously thought, and released. It was earlier suspected that Kabuga resided in Kenya, and was believed to be running businesses and enjoying protection from either the Kenyan government or some influential figures within the country.
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