Left Menu
Development News Edition

Children of Rwandan genocide fugitive Kabuga led police to Paris-area hideout

Reuters | Kigali | Updated: 18-05-2020 23:13 IST | Created: 18-05-2020 22:30 IST
Children of Rwandan genocide fugitive Kabuga led police to Paris-area hideout
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

French intelligence agents spied on the children of Rwanda's most-wanted genocide fugitive to track him down to an apartment in a Paris suburb and end a 26-year-long manhunt, the head of the police unit who arrested Felicien Kabuga said.

The inquiry gathered pace in March after an intelligence-sharing meeting between investigators from France, Britain, and Belgium, home to some of Kabuga's children, as well as Europe's Europol law enforcement agency and a team from a U.N. tribunal. The coronavirus lockdown paralyzing most of Europe meant many investigations were put on hold, allowing a focus on Kabuga's file, said Eric Emeraux, head of the Gendarmerie's Central Office for Combating Crimes Against Humanity.

The dragnet subsequently closed in on one of the alleged chief financiers of the Rwandan genocide, suspected of bankrolling and arming the militias that slaughtered 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994. "We realized... that trail from the children protecting their father converged on Asnieres-Sur-Seine," Emeraux told Reuters, referring to a Paris suburb. "We also discovered one of his children was renting an apartment there."

Wiretaps were installed and the property placed under surveillance. Intelligence indicated there was good reason to believe that someone other than one of his offspring was residing in the apartment. "We decided to open the door, without being entirely sure of who we would find inside," Emeraux said. "I didn't sleep the night before."

The 84-year-old fugitive had been living in a third-floor flat on the Rue du Reverend Pere Christian Gilbert in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, a well-off neighborhood on the northern fringe of Paris. Neighbors described a frail, elderly man who said little and before the lockdown would often stroll outside of his apartment. One resident in the same block said Kabuga might have lived there for four or five years.

GBAGBO'S LAWYER Reuters has not been able to find any public comment made by Kabuga over the years about the charges. French lawyer Emmanuel Altit said he will be part of the defense team. He did not respond to a subsequent request seeking comment from Kabuga.

Altit was a senior lawyer on the team which successfully secured former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo's acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in January 2019. On Saturday, a squad of 16 elite officers, dressed in black and dubbed 'Ninjas' by Emeraux, forced Kabuga's front door at 6 a.m.

"Kabuga didn't put up any resistance," Emeraux said. He was formally identified in a DNA test, matching against a sample taken when he was hospitalized in Germany in 2007, Emeraux added. Kabuga's arrest marked the end of a more than two-decade-long hunt that spanned Africa and Europe. Kabuga had 28 known aliases and was using a passport from an African country, Emeraux said.

Altit said Kabuga would be arraigned before a Paris court on Tuesday. The court will set out the legal process before passing the case to investigative judges within eight days. The judges will decide whether to hand Kabuga to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. If Kabuga appeals against their ruling, the matter will go France's Court of Cassation, which hears whether rulings conform with the law.

Kabuga's ability to hide to evade an international manhunt for more than 20 years has raised questions over whether he had accomplices outside of his family. "It is difficult to imagine he could have escaped into French territory without the help of accomplices," said Patrick Baudoin of the International Federation for Human Rights. The federation has supported survivors in the prosecution of other Rwandan genocide suspects living in France.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

COVID-19: Weighing up the benefits and limitations of edtech platforms

Edtech companies shouldnt focus on merely pushing contents, but to provide an interactive, effective teaching and learning environment. ...

Shipping industry's COVID-19 resilience test could boost digitalization

The push towards digitalization in shipping industry was already happening and has been further accelerated by the pandemic as current practices are not tenable under present circumstances and would definitely not be in the future....

Health is pure science but why objectivity eludes WHO

We certainly need a global body to coordinate responses against health emergencies. However, this sheer need of humanity on this planet should not be milked by the World Organization WHO to overshadow constructive criticism and call for ref...

Videos

Latest News

Pakistani foreign minister tests positive for COVID-19

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19, days after holding high-profile meetings including one with U.S. special representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad.This af...

Polish president accuses German-owned tabloid of election meddling

Polish President Andrzej Duda suggested on Friday that Germany was trying to meddle in the presidential election after a German-owned tabloid newspaper reported on a pardon that he granted to a man who had served his sentence in a paedophil...

Global coronavirus cases exceed 11 million

Global coronavirus cases exceeded 11 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months. The number of cases is more than d...

Redskins reviewing name, change reportedly forthcoming

The Washington Redskins announced Friday that they will undergo a thorough review of the teams name, and sources told The Washington Post that the team is likely to change its name and mascot. The switch could potentially occur in time for ...

Give Feedback