The long-awaited trial of Félicien Kabuga, for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide has got underway at a United Nations tribunal in The Hague.
The judges said the hearing must go on despite the former businessman and radio station owner’s refusal to appear in court.
He is being charged with three counts of genocide and two counts of crimes against humanity.
Kabuga, who is in his late 80s, was captured in Paris two years ago after decades on the run. In his first court appearance in 2020, following his extradition to The Hague, he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
A long wait
‘Twenty-eight years after the events, this trial is about holding Felicien Kabuga accountable for his substantial and intentional contributions to that genocide,’ said prosecutor Rashid S. Rashid.
In 1994, over a period of about 100 days, ruling Hutu majority extremists killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Kabuga is accused of using his infamous radio station, Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, to incite hatred against them.
He is one of the last alleged masterminds of the genocide to go on trial in an international court. Prosecutors are expected to call more than 50 witnesses in the proceedings, which will likely take years.
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