Felicien Kabuga, one of the main suspects in the Rwanda genocide, has been arrested by French police outside Paris, after being hunted by judicial authorities for 25 years.
Kabuga, accused of financing the genocide, was living under a false identity in the northern Paris suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine, the public prosecutor’s office and the police said in a joint statement.
Kabuga had a US$5 million bounty on his head.
The 84-year-old, once one of Rwanda’s richest men, had been hiding with the help of his children.
Some 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, were slaughtered over 100 days by ethnic Hutu extremists during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Kabuga is accused of creating two key killing instruments that whipped up the genocide: the Interahamwe militia that carried out a large portion of the massacres, and the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines that incited people to murder Tutsi ‘cockroaches’.
“Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” according to the statement.
The arrest opens the process for Kabuga to face the Paris Appeal Court and later, the international court in The Hague, it added.
“The arrest of Felicien Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes,” said Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague.
Kabuga was also indicted on genocide charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.