Félicien Kabuga’s initial appearance scheduled for 11 November 2020: Practical information and case background

The Hague
Félicien Kabuga’s initial appearance

The initial appearance in the case of Prosecutor v. Félicien Kabuga before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) has been scheduled for Wednesday, 11 November 2020 at 2.00 p.m. CET in the Courtroom of the Mechanism's Hague branch, pursuant to the “Order Scheduling an Initial Appearance” issued by Judge Iain Bonomy on 8 November 2020.

Please note that due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no access to the Mechanism premises in The Hague for media representatives and members of the public wishing to attend the hearing.

The hearing will be publicly broadcast on the Mechanism’s website with a 30-minute delay, and will be available at the following link: https://www.irmct.org/en/cases/mict-courtroom-broadcast in English, French, and Kinyarwanda.

Filming of the court proceedings will be carried out by authorised Mechanism staff, and an audio-visual copy of the initial appearance will be distributed after the hearing. Media wishing to obtain footage of the hearing should send a request to mict-press@un.org. Please note that footage can be provided in the MP4 format and it will include the option of English, French, Kinyarwanda, or all language channels.

Limited space is available in the vicinity of the Mechanism building for SNG trucks. The Mechanism does not issue accreditations for SNG trucks and spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Trucks parked in non-designated areas will be asked to move by the local authorities.

Limited break-out boxes for audio and video feeds are available. However, media organisations must ensure that they have an adequate supply of cabling and power.


Félicien Kabuga was the President of the Comité provisoire of the Fonds de défense nationale (National Defence Fund) from about 25 April 1994 to July 1994 and President of the Comité d’Initiative of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) during the time of the crimes pleaded in the indictment.

He is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and extermination and persecution as crimes against humanity, in respect of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Kabuga was first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on 26 November 1997, and was arrested near Paris on 16 May 2020, pursuant to a warrant of arrest and an order for transfer issued by the Mechanism. After his arrest, Kabuga contested his extradition before the French courts, and on 30 September 2020, the French Cour de cassation rejected his appeal and authorised his transfer to the Mechanism’s custody.

Following that decision, Kabuga filed an urgent motion on 5 October 2020 requesting, inter alia, that his arrest warrant and order for transfer be amended to provide for his transfer to the Hague branch of the Mechanism rather than the Arusha branch, citing in particular his medical conditions and the health risks associated with travel. Both the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registrar of the Mechanism supported the request for Kabuga to be temporarily transferred to The Hague.

On 21 October 2020, Judge Iain Bonomy amended the arrest warrant and order for transfer to allow for Kabuga’s transfer to the United Nations Detention Unit at the Hague branch of the Mechanism. He was transferred to the Hague branch of the Mechanism on 26 October 2020, after having been at large for more than 22 years.

Kabuga’s case will be heard before a Trial Chamber composed of Judge Iain Bonomy, Presiding, Judge Graciela Susana Gatti Santana, and Judge Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya.

The Mechanism was established on 22 December 2010 by the United Nations Security Council to carry out a number of essential functions of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, including the trial of fugitives who are among the most senior leaders suspected of being most responsible for crimes that had been under the jurisdiction of these two tribunals.


For further information please call:

Helena Eggleston, Spokesperson at +31 70 512 5691 or +31 6 11 92 37 43