The Tutsi Were My Clients, I Couldn’t Kill Them – Felicien Kabuga Pleading ‘Not Guilty’

Felicien Kabuga, the Rwandan Genocide suspect who is alleged to be the main financier of  the Genocide committed against Tutsi in 1994 in Rwanda has told the court in France that “all the allegations are fabricated claims against him.”

“Tutsi were my clients. I used to give them credits to boost their businesses. How could I turn against my clients and kill them?” he raised his voice after his seven counts were read.

Kabuga was arrested in Paris-France on May 16.

He was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

On Wednesday, he appeared before the Appeal Court of Paris to oppose a decision to transfer him to the  International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals(IRMCT).

Kabuga is battling a case to have his trial handled by France courts.

According to Corine Audouin, France Inter Journalist who is following the trial, Kabuga was brought in the courtroom in a wheelchair clothed in jeans, slippers, and a grey shirt. He spoke in Kinyarwanda.

So many people were in the room to hear the case which is expected to take several days.

According to the journalist on the ground, after his seven counts were read, Kabuga reacted with confidence: “All these are lies. I used to trade with the Tutsi. I used to give them loans for their businesses. I could not kill my clients. They are lies.”

Several other issues were also raised by the defense especially in relation to the health of the 87 year old Kabuga.

Some said, that he had not seen his Doctor for the last 3 hours, others, that his ADN tests were taken without his consent.

For lawyer Laurent Bayon, he contested the idea to send Kabuga to be tried in Arusha.

“Mr. Kabuga is old and seek and they want him sent to be tried in Arusha without verifying consequences on his health,” he said.

Bayon also said that the IRMCT, his client Kabuga would be exposed to a “politicized trial while France would handle his case well.”

This case will be ruled on June 3.

 




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