Rwanda: Court to Rule on Genocidaire Kabuga's Extradition on June 3

A French court will rule on genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga's extradition on June 3 after his bail request was denied on May 27.

Kabuga appeared in court on Wednesday, May 27, a week after his lawyers were granted more time to prepare their case.

At the end of the ongoing initial Judicial process in France, Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the custody of the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (RMICT), in The Hague, for trial.

Representatives of the Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), which works to bring Genocide suspects in France to book, were in court on Wednesday.

They later published a report on what transpired in the courtroom. CPCR president Alain Gauthier noted most of everything, including how Kabuga's family were at hand to show their support.

The session began by recalling the identity of Kabuga. Court heard that he is registered as a refugee in France under the name Antoine Tunga.

The judge then read out all the seven counts that Kabuga is being charged with.

Surprisingly, Gauthier observed, an interpreter translated every word said by the Judge, as the accused apparently does not understand French.

"Oddly, the rest of the hearing will not be translated!"

His lawyers told the court that he is too old, and ill, and pleaded that he needs more medical examination given his age and frailty. They also requested that more medical exams were required. But the judge said that the La Santè prison where he is detained is well equipped to cater to his medical needs.

Court heard that Kabuga opposed his extradition because his arrest warrant is not in a language he understands.

Among others, he wants to be tried, but in France. Court also heard that he feared that if he were to be transferred to Arusha, in Tanzania, he could be handed over to the authorities in Rwanda.

Gauthier concluded by reiterating the many unanswered questions about Kabuga's arrest in France.

Gauthier noted: "There remains a subsidiary question to which we may never have an answer: what complicity did Kabuga benefit from when entering French territory?"

How long will the judicial process in France last?

Richard Gisagara, a Rwandan lawyer based in France who is following up on the case, told The New Times that he thinks it could take a few months before a decision is made.

Gisagara said: "In my view, I think it could take up to two months before the court decides.

"Then he will probably appeal to the Cour de Cassation (equivalent of the Supreme Court), which may also take another two months."

After his interrogation by prosecution early last week, Kabuga also made his first court appearance in the Paris Court of Appeal, on May 20.

At the time, Kabuga's lawyers indicated that they had not had enough time to prepare for his defence, hence requesting for more time.

French law allows for up to eight days in such circumstances. The court ruled they be given more time and adjourned to May 27.

Kabuga was indicted by the now-defunct United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), in 1997.

He was indicted 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.

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