Tanzania: Arusha It Is for Kabuga, Judge Rules

Aruling that the trial of Félicien Kabuga, the alleged top financier of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, will be held at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) in Arusha, Tanzania, has broken the hearts of survivors who wanted him tried in Rwanda where he is said to have committed the crimes.

The ruling on Wednesday by Judge William H. Sekule also blocks Kabuga's trial from being held in The Hague, Netherlands, at the IRMCT Appeals chamber, a proposition that had been requested by Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal.

Kabuga, who was arrested earlier this month in Paris after 26 years on the run, is expected to be transferred to the war crimes tribunal in Arusha.

The judge dismissed a motion by the chief prosecutor for Mr Kabuga's arrest warrant to be modified for him to be temporarily transferred to The Hague, due to air travel restrictions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The motion's reliance upon "potential" litigation before French courts opposing Mr Kabuga's transfer to Arusha, which the prosecutor asserts might delay it, is not a sufficiently compelling basis to modify the Arrest Warrant and Order for Transfer at this time," he ruled.

"In view of the above, the motion is not sufficiently supported. If transfer to the Arusha Branch is not possible at the relevant time, appropriate relief may be sought. For the foregoing reasons, I dismiss the motion."

Earlier, genocide survivors in Rwanda and abroad had signed a petition requesting for his trial to be held "where he committed the alleged crimes".

"On behalf of survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi, Ibuka and its partner survivors' organisations would like to articulate their gentle request to the IRMCT and UNSC for the referral of Félicien Kabuga to stand trial in Rwanda where he committed the alleged crimes."

Rwandan prosecutors say they respect the decision to try Kabuga in Arusha, and are actively working with prosecutors to provide evidence required in the impending trial.

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