The interminable hunt for Rwandan genocidal refugees in France

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Dozens of authors or accomplices of crimes against Rwandan humanity live on French soil. Only three have been tried.

The arrest of one of the last great Rwandan genocidaires still on the run, in Asnières (Hauts-de-Seine), on May 16, had the effect of a bomb. No one expected anyone to one day find Félicien Kabuga, the “genocide financier”. The man had notably equipped with machetes the Interahamwe militias, principal executors of the massacre of at least 800,000 Tutsis, in 1994. Kabuga, 84 years old, had been living for two or three years under a false identity, in an apartment rented by the one of his children living in the Paris region.

But this inquiry, at the end of twenty-six years of an improbable runaway, is also a cluster bomb. Because it revives the memory of the troubled links between the French authorities of the time and the genocidal Hutu government. And she poses embarrassing questions: why were dozens of alleged criminals against humanity able to take refuge in France without being worried by the justice system? How to explain that some have still not been tried, despite complaints filed for, sometimes, more than two decades? To date, only three of them have been the subject of a trial in France, in 2014 and 2016, on behalf of the “universal jurisdiction” of its courts. One was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, the other two to life imprisonment. Final verdicts.

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