Officials overseeing the case of Felicien Kabuga, a Rwandan former entrepreneur and radio station owner with alleged links to mass killings in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, say the trial opened on Wednesday, despite Kabuga boycotting the hearing.
“It is the understanding of the chamber that mister Kabuga is this morning well but has decided not to attend the hearing this morning either in person or via video link,” said Judge Iain Bonomy, adding, “The trial must proceed.”
The former Rwandan entrepreneur was arrested in May 2020 while in Paris, where he described the allegations against him as “lies,” and later was extradited to The Hague where he has entered a not-guilty plea.
Prosecutors say Kabuga is facing charges of three counts of genocide, two counts of crimes against humanity, primarily for promoting hate speech through his broadcasting outlet and is facing accusations of arming ethnic Hutu militias.
Commenting on the relevance of Kabuga’s trial, U.N. prosecutor Serge Brammertz described the trial as one that would bolster international justice.
“Even if it takes more than 20 years, justice can still be successful,” said Brammertz.