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Press releases Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Bachelet hails arrest of Rwanda genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga

19 May 2020

French | Spanish

GENEVA (19 May 2020) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has hailed the arrest on 16 May in Paris of Félicien Kabuga, who is accused of playing a leading role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 

"The arrest of Félicien Kabuga, 26 years after the genocide, underscores the long reach of international criminal accountability. No one committing international crimes should think that the passage of time means they can evade justice and will never be held to account," said Bachelet.

Kabuga had been indicted in 1997 by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on seven counts - including genocide, complicity in genocide, as well as direct and public incitement to commit genocide - all in relation to crimes committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

According to the indictment, Kabuga, together with others, was alleged to have used Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines to further ethnic hatred between Hutu and Tutsi people in Rwanda.

Kabuga is also alleged to have established, together with others, the National Defense Fund to raise funds to provide financial and logistical support for the Interahamwe militia that led the killing spree against the Tutsis, during which Hutus and others who opposed the genocide were also killed.

"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," the High Commissioner said.

Bachelet also highlighted the professionalism and determination of Prosecutor Serge Brammertz and his team at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, as well as the meticulous work of the French authorities and the efforts of law enforcement authorities in other States that collectively led to Kabuga's arrest.

She added that the latest developments are also the result of the Security Council's decision to create the Mechanism to continue and conclude the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which closed on 31 December 2015.

"Finally, and by no means least, I would like to pay tribute to the many victims of the Rwandan Genocide who 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," Bachelet said.

"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."  


For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / [email protected] or Jeremy Laurence - + 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected] orLiz Throssell - + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

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