By Elite Reporter
The sour relationship between Rwanda and France that has spurn decades ever since the government in Kigali fell out with successive regimes in France is likely to end following the arrest of genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, 84, who was arrested from Paris a few days ago.
According to political analysts, the arrest of Kabuga, who was the most wanted suspect of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in a Paris apartment last week, highlights renewed French commitment to improve relations with Rwanda, long injured by allegations against each other on the genocide.
Prosecutors say that the long coming but dramatic end to the fugitive’s run from justice could not have happened if France—criticised for harbouring Rwandan genocide fugitives—had not co-operated in the surveillance and arrest.
“In the past two months, we came to a conclusion that he was most likely in France and in the region of Paris. We intensified co-operation with French authorities, and only a few weeks ago we had a clear idea of where he could be physically hiding,” Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) told French state television.
“French authorities put an operation in place. They were very instrumental in locating the specific apartment where he was. So co-operation with the police and prosecutor general office in Paris was excellent.”
France-Rwanda relations thawed when in 2018 French authorities decided to close an investigation into the 1994 shooting down of the plane carrying then Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana. The two countries entered a new era of judicial and political co-operation.
However, Kabuga’s arrest in Paris raises serious questions about the French government’s involvement in his successful evasion from justice for over 26 years.
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