The United Nations Residual Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of transferring Genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga to The Hague, pending trial, instead of Arusha, Tanzania.
The ruling by a single follows an application by Kabuga’s French Lawyer Emmanuel Altit on October 5 requesting the UN court to transfer Kabuga to The Hague instead of Arusha for a number of reasons, including his health, travel difficulties brought about by the New Coronavirus.
A UN judge lain Bonomy ruled that Kabuga, who has been in a French jail since May, should be sent to a detention unit in The Hague, pending trial.
Altit argued that his client is facing challenges relating to his health, separation from family and threat of the coronavirus pandemic in Tanzania where the case is supposed to take place soon.
The application followed a ruling by France’s highest court on September 30, 2020 to transfer the case of Kabuga, 87, to be tried at the residual UN Residual Court affiliate in Arusha.
“For the foregoing reasons, I hereby amend the Arrest Warrant and Order for Transfer; order that Kabuga be transferred to the UNDU at the Hague Branch of the Mechanism; and invite the President to modify Kabuga’s conditions of detention to allow for his detention there,” the disposition of the court reads.
Court further said that the current COVID-19 pandemic related protocols may have practical implications on the initial appearance in view of the need for Kabuga to quarantine for ten days on arrival and to undergo preliminary medical assessments.
“As a result, this extraordinary situation could impact the date for the initial appearance until this process is completed. The Trial Chamber
in close consultation with the Registrar and the parties will set the date and modalities for the initial appearance at the appropriate time following Kabuga ‘s transfer into the custody of the Mechanism,” court ruled.
The Judge further said that he considered it premature to order the exact modalities of any medical examinations to be conducted on Kabuga to determine whether and under what circumstances he may be safely transferred to the Arusha Branch of the Mechanism for trial.
“This is best left, in the first instance, to the sound discretion of the Registry’s medical staff. The present submissions received on these
points from Kabuga are dismissed,” the court ruled.
The businessman accused of bankrolling the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi of Genocide crimes, complicity in Genocide, Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide, attempt to Commit Genocide and crimes against humanity, among other charges awaiting him.