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U.N. court says elderly Rwandan genocide suspect is unfit for trial


By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) -Judges at a U.N. war crimes court ruled that elderly Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga is unfit to stand trial but said slimmed-down legal proceedings in his case can continue, in a decision published on Wednesday.

The former businessman and radio station owner was one of the last suspects sought by the tribunal prosecuting crimes committed in the 1994 genocide, when ruling Hutu majority extremists killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates in 100 days.

Kabuga is his late 80s, though his precise date of birth is disputed. He was arrested in France in 2020 after more than 20 years on the run.

“The trial chamber finds Mr. Kabuga is no longer capable of meaningful participation in his trial,” a decision published on the Hague court’s website said.

Instead of halting the trial, the judges said they would set up an “alternative finding procedure that resembles a trial as closely as possible, but without the possibility of a conviction”.

It was not immediately clear what form such proceedings will take or what will happen to Kabuga who is in the court’s detention centre in The Hague.

The former coffee and tea tycoon has denied the charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against him. Prosecutors say Kabuga promoted hate speech through his broadcaster, Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM), and armed ethnic Hutu militias.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; editing by Jason Neely and Andrew Heavens)

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