Kabuga Félicien is present in the courtroom

Kabuga Félicien is present in the courtroom.

After a week’s break, the Court was back in session with the examination of witness KAB007, who participated via a Livestream from the Arusha branch. In order to protect the witness’ identity, most of the hearing was conducted in closed session.

In the beginning, the prosecution briefly summarized the statement the witness has given beforehand. The witness, who was an interahamwe, described that the “young” part of the MRND, the JMRND became the interahamwe in November 1991. They received military training in 1993 and then transformed into a militia.

According to the witness, instead of protecting, they attacked the population. Kabuga was a prominent MRND member and provided office space for free in his building in Kigaliand in 1993, he also bought uniforms for the interahamwe. On 25 April 1994, Kabuga chaired a meeting that was also attended by Mathias Nyagasaza and Anatole Nzangiumwa. In the meeting, Kabuga pledged to buy weapons to fight the “enemy”, which, according to witness KAB007 was no longer the RPF, but the Tutsi.

End of May 1994, Kamawera announced that the weapons had arrived in Goma. After that, the witness described two trucks (with Kabuga’s name written on it) that arrived at the Merdian Hotel Hotelin Gisenyi, alongside a bus. At the hotel, Kabuga, Nzangiumwa, and Kamawera were present with Kabuga congratulating all.

The witness explains that the weapons provided by Kabuga were distributed to the interahamwe who used them to kill Tutsi in the Kibuye prefecture and that the persons picking up the weapons in Goma were appointed by Colonel Anatole (probably referring to Anatole Nzangiumwa). The vehicles drove in front of the hotel, the drivers stopped and gave papers to Kabuga, then they continued towards the military camp. After that, one of the trucks went on to the Umuganda Stadium, where they gave the weapons to those who had just finished their military training.

The witness was present and when the young soldiers left for Kigali after sunset, he accompanied them in his own car. The defence asked why he accompanied them, but the witness did not want to answer that publicly, for fear of being recognized. The rest of the hearing continued as a private session.

The trial of Félicien Kabuga started on September 29th, 2022 in The Hague courtroom of the Residual Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals. The accused is charged with six counts; One count of Genocide, one count of Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide, one count of Conspiracy to Commit Genocide, and Three counts of Crimes Against Humanity, namely Persecution on political grounds, Extermination, Murder.

Source: Lilit GROTJAHN from RCN Justice & Démocratie

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