A witness has implicated genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga and other three persons in the purchase of weapons that were used to kill Tutsi during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
The witness codenamed KAB061 appeared through a video link before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNIRMCT), December 13, 2022, with cross- examination about Kabuga’s involvement with RTLM and fundraising for weapons in Gisenyi.
KAB061 said he had friends who came back from Europe accompanying weapons that had been bought by Kabuga and additionally stated that: “It was well understood that if Kigali was to be recaptured, Kabuga would get his money back.”
The witness said that he heard Kabuga and other suspects like Pasteur Musabe, Théoneste Bagosora and Joseph Nzirorera talk about bringing the weapons into Rwanda, but the counsel for the Prosecution asked him about how often he heard this.
KAB061 replied that he heard them several times, showing off and being happy about it, saying that the problem was solved. Everyone knew that weapons were bought, the witness concluded.
Cross examined by the Judge Mustapha El Baaj on how he knows about the weapons, KAB061 said that they were offloaded in Gisenyi town and distributed to soldiers, the Interahamwe and then civilians to do away with the ‘enemy’ and ‘accomplices’.
Judge El Baaj asked the witness what ‘enemy’ and ‘accomplices’ meant and he replied that by enemy, they meant the soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) that had attacked their soldiers and that the accomplices were RPF sympathizers, but mostly Tutsis who were considered to help RPF.
The witness told court that he did not commit a single crime he was convicted of in 2011 when he testified in Gacaca courts but stated that he was afraid of similar retaliation due to information he is providing in the Kabuga case.
Further, the witness claimed that when he was summoned to the court bureau, he saw people influencing the judges and that the people they testify against are rich and powerful and that each time there is a document with evidence in this trial, it is immediately communicated to Mr Kabuga by his defence counsels.
“Once he knows what is in the document, the witness said “I am sure that Mr Kabuga will retaliate”.
The trial of Félicien Kabuga started on September 29th 2022 in The Hague courtroom of the UNIRMCT with a number of witnesses including men who were members of the militia group – commonly known as “The Interahamwe”.
The accused is charged with six counts: Genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution on political grounds, extermination, murder.
The hearing of the witness side of the story in this case is expected to run through next year and the UNIRMCT Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) anticipates to complete the presentation of its evidence in the 2nd quarter of 2023.