PARIS (AP) – One of the most wanted fugitives from the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Félicien Kabuga, appeared in French court Wednesday days after his arrest, but the decision on his fate has been postponed until next week.
Kabuga, 84, was arrested outside of Paris on Saturday after 25 years on the run. He was taken to a courtroom in Paris in a wheelchair, wearing a face mask. He lived north of the city under a false name, protected by his children.
Kabuga, who had a $ 5 million bonus on his head, is accused of having equipped the militias with the genocide which killed more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them.
Rwandan prosecutors said financial documents found in the capital, Kigali, after the massacre, indicated that Kabuga, then a wealthy businessman, had used dozens of his businesses to import large quantities of machetes used in the killings .
The Paris court quickly decided to postpone the hearing on next week’s case on whether to hand it over to the Residual International Mechanism of the United Nations Criminal Courts based in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda indicted Kabuga in 1997 on charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination.
Defense lawyer Laurent Bayon said Kabuga wanted to be tried in France for health reasons. He did not give details.
“We have eight more days to prepare his defense,” said Bayon.
“It is unacceptable to carry out such a rapid procedure when justice has been waiting for 25 years. Justice can wait another 10 days before wanting to send him, I don’t know where, “added the lawyer.