French court approves extradition of Rwanda genocide suspect to Tanzania to face trial

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 30, 2019: A gavel at an auction of 34 old light box signs recently removed from Moscow Underground (Moscow Metro) stations; the auction took place at Vystavochnaya Station. Vladimir Gerdo/TASS (Photo by Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images)
Wanted poster for Felicien Kabuga, accused of genocide. (Photo by MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

A court in France on Wednesday approved the transfer of Rwandan genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in the Tanzanian city of Arusha to face trial.

In May, a judge of the MICT ruled that Kabuga could be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) once conditions allowed it to happen.

Following the formal closure of the ICTR five years ago, its responsibilities were transferred to the MICT, which is based in The Hague. The MICT also has an office in Arusha.

The MICT is expected to conduct the trial of Kabuga and supervise any sentence imposed together with all of the sentences previously imposed by the ICTR.

Kabuga was arrested on May 16 near Paris having been on the run for 25 years. He is accused of financing the 1994 genocide which left about one million people dead.

He was first arraigned in a court in the French capital, Paris, on May 20 where he said he wanted to be tried in France.

A lawyer for the 84-year-old said Kabuga believed he would not receive a fair trial in an international court as it was politically biased and he was too weak to be transferred.

Since it opened in 1995, the ICTR indicted 93 individuals whom it considered responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda in 1994.