UN War Crimes Court Rules 90-Year-Old Genocide Suspect, Felicien Kabuga, Unfit for Trial

The Hague – Felicien Kabuga, a 90-year-old suspect in the Rwandan genocide, has been deemed unfit to stand trial by judges at a United Nations war crimes court. Kabuga, who evaded capture for decades and lived under a false identity, was apprehended at his Paris residence in May 2020 and later extradited to The Hague. Although he initially pleaded not guilty, he refused to appear in court or remotely participate in the trial. Due to health concerns, the court suspended the trial in March of this year.

In a decision published on Wednesday, the court stated, “The trial chamber finds Mr. Kabuga is no longer capable of meaningful participation in his trial.”

Kabuga, a former businessman known for his involvement in the tea trade, is accused of financing Hutu militias and broadcasting hate speech through his radio station, Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM). The 1994 genocide in Rwanda witnessed the killing of over 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates by ruling Hutu majority fighters over a span of 100 days. Prosecutors also allege that Kabuga supplied machetes to Hutu death squads. Kabuga has denied all charges.

Rather than halting the trial altogether, the judges announced their intention to establish an “alternative finding procedure that resembles a trial as closely as possible, but without the possibility of a conviction.” To date, the tribunal has convicted 62 individuals implicated in the Rwandan genocide.