A Rwandan suspect told a French court Wednesday that charges leveled against him regarding the 1994 genocide were lies.
Felicien Kabuga was arrested on May 16, 2020 at flat with the complicity of his children near Paris, where he had been living under a false identity. He had been on the run for over two decades on the run.
He has been indicted by U.N. prosecutors for genocide and incitement to commit genocide, among other charges. He is accused of bankrolling and arming the ethnic Hutu militias which killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus over 100 days in 1994.
Asked if he understood the charges, Kabuga told the court through an interpreter: “All of this is lies. I have not killed any Tutsis. I was working with them.”
His lawyers told the court he should be released under court supervision because of his age and ill-health, and that the results of a DNA test used to identify him should be annulled as he had not given consent.
The court’s three judges, who are due to decide whether to transfer Kabuga to the international tribunal based in The Hague and Arusha, Tanzania.
Kabuga was too elderly and sick to be transferred and should be tried in France, his lawyers said.
“This court is just saying ‘go and get judged elsewhere but not here’. It wants to hand him over him without consideration for his age and health, which could have irreversible consequences,” defence lawyer Laurent Bayon told the court.