Pre-Trial Conference in Prosecutor v. Félicien Kabuga scheduled for Thursday, 18 August 2022: Accreditation procedure now open for Arusha branch
The Trial Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (“Mechanism”), composed of Judge Iain Bonomy, Presiding, Judge Graciela Gatti Santana and Judge Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya, will hold the Pre-Trial Conference in the case of Prosecutor v. Félicien Kabuga on Thursday, 18 August 2022 at 10:00 CEST/11:00 EAT in the Courtroom of the Hague branch of the Mechanism.
The accreditation procedure for media and non-media representatives wishing to attend a screening of the Pre-Trial Conference at the Mechanism’s Arusha branch is now open.
Media representatives wishing to enter the Mechanism’s premises in Arusha on that day for the purposes of attending the screening must submit an accreditation request to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12:00 EAT on Wednesday, 17 August 2022. Accreditation requests should include the full name of the media outlet, journalist(s), cameramen, and other technicians, as well as passport or ID number.
Members of the diplomatic corps and other members of the public wishing to attend the screening of the Pre-Trial Conference should request accreditation by sending an email to email@example.com also by 12:00 EAT on Wednesday, 17 August 2022.
Accredited media and non-media representatives will be notified by email of the status of their accreditation and collection details by COB on Wednesday, 17 August 2022.
The hearing will be publicly broadcast on the Mechanism’s website with a 30-minute delay and will be available at the following link. The hearing can be followed in English, French and Kinyarwanda.
Filming of the proceedings will be carried out by authorised Mechanism staff and an audiovisual copy of the hearing will be distributed after the hearing is complete. Media representatives wishing to obtain footage of the hearing should send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that footage will be provided in the MP4 format and it will include the option of English, French, Kinyarwanda, or floor channels.
Media representatives wishing to record excerpts of the hearing are requested to let the Mechanism know as soon as possible.
Limited break-out boxes for audio and video feeds are available outside of the Mechanism’s premises. However, media organisations must ensure that they have an adequate supply of cabling and power. Connection to the feeds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.
Félicien Kabuga was the President of the Comité d’initiative of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (“RTLM”) during the time of the crimes pleaded in the Indictment and President of the Comité provisoire of the Fonds de défense nationale (“National Defence Fund”) from about 25 April 1994 to July 1994.
Kabuga is charged with genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and persecution on political grounds, extermination, and murder as crimes against humanity, committed in Rwanda in 1994.
The Indictment states that between 6 April 1994 and 17 July 1994, genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group occurred in Rwanda, and that, throughout Rwanda, there were widespread and/or systematic attacks against the civilian population based on Tutsi ethnic identification and/or political grounds.
According to the Indictment, Kabuga, a founder of the radio station RTLM, operated it with others in a manner that furthered hatred and violence against Tutsi and others and that he and others agreed to disseminate an anti-Tutsi message with the goal to eliminate the Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda. Specifically, the Indictment alleges that RTLM directly and publicly incited the commission of genocide and persecution through denigrating and threatening broadcasts. These broadcasts expressly identified persons as Tutsi or as “accomplices” or “allies” of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and, in some instances, provided locations and other information that encouraged or facilitated their killing. The Indictment alleges that Kabuga is liable for these crimes based on his participation in a joint criminal enterprise with others involved in RTLM’s operations, as well as aiding and abetting the criminal conduct of RTLM journalists, Interahamwe, and others whose crimes were assisted or instigated by RTLM broadcasts.
Kabuga is further charged with aiding and abetting Interahamwe who killed and harmed Tutsi and others in Kigali-Ville, Gisenyi, and Kibuye prefectures by having provided material, logistical, financial, and moral support to them. As an example, the Indictment alleges that Kabuga supported a core group of Interahamwe in Kimironko, Kigali, known as “Kabuga’s Interahamwe” in numerous ways and that this group participated in attacks, killing and harming of Tutsi and others in Kigali-Ville prefecture at roadblocks, places of refuge, and houses. Kabuga is further alleged to have raised funds to purchase weapons and ammunition and to have played a role in importing arms and ammunition which were distributed to Interahamwe in Gisenyi prefecture. The Indictment alleges that these supplies were used for committing crimes in Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Kigali-Ville prefectures.
On 16 May 2020, Kabuga was arrested near Paris by French authorities as the result of a joint investigation with the Mechanism Office of the Prosecutor. On 30 September 2020, the French Cour de cassation rejected Kabuga’s appeal against the lower court’s decision authorising his transfer to the custody of the Mechanism. On 21 October 2020, Judge Iain Bonomy amended the warrant of arrest and order for transfer, and ordered that Kabuga be transferred to the Hague Branch of the Mechanism. Kabuga was transferred to the Mechanism’s custody on 26 October 2020. Kabuga’s initial appearance took place on 11 November 2020, during which a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf with respect to the charges in the indictment.
Since Kabuga’s transfer to the Hague branch, the Trial Chamber has been receiving twice-monthly medical reports from the United Nations Detention Unit’s Medical Officer related to Kabuga’s health. In view of a Defence request for the appointment of medical experts to assess Kabuga’s fitness to stand trial, the Trial Chamber also appointed three independent medical experts, one Prosecution medical expert, and one Defence medical expert. After having received expert reports as well as the regular medical reports from the Medical Officer, the Trial Chamber held hearings on 31 May, 1 June, and 7 June 2022 to allow for the examination of three of the medical experts and submissions of the parties on Kabuga’s fitness to stand trial and to be detained in Arusha.
In the Decision on Félicien Kabuga’s Fitness to Stand Trial and to be Transferred to and Detained in Arusha, issued on 13 June 2022, the Trial Chamber found that the Defence had not established that Kabuga is presently unfit for trial, and it decided that Kabuga shall remain detained at the Hague branch of the Mechanism and that his trial shall commence there until otherwise decided.
On 20 June 2022, Kabuga filed a motion for certification to appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision of 13 June 2022. On 23 June 2022, the Trial Chamber certified for appeal the issue of Kabuga’s fitness to stand trial, and informed the parties that proceedings shall continue while the interlocutory appeal is pending. Kabuga filed his appeal on 30 June 2022 and, by order of the same date, the then-President assigned the appeal to a Bench of the Appeals Chamber composed of Judge Carmel Agius, Presiding, Judge Burton Hall, Judge Liu Daqun, Judge Aminatta Lois Runeni N’gum, and Judge José Ricardo de Prada Solaesa. On 12 August 2022, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the Appeal in its entirely.
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