State Department: Arrest of Rwandan genocide suspect a 'milestone'

State Department: Arrest of Rwandan genocide suspect a 'milestone'
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The State Department on Monday hailed the arrest of a fugitive wanted in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide, calling it a “milestone for international justice.”

“We applaud the Government of France and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the arrest of Félicien Kabuga, who is charged with playing a key role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We commend law enforcement officials worldwide who contributed to the arrest,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“This is a milestone for international justice, and a message to all fugitives indicted for genocide that they will be brought to justice. We hope this arrest brings the victims and their families some peace,” Ortagus added.

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Kabuga, 84, was arrested Saturday outside of Paris as part of a joint operation between French authorities and the United Nations. He had reportedly been living in Asnières-sur-Seine, north of Paris, under a false identity since his indictment in 1997.

Kabuga was indicted by the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination.

He is accused of arming the militias that perpetrated the genocide and broadcasting propaganda against the Tutsi ethnic minority. Militias made up of the Hutu ethnic majority killed 800,000 Tutsis and anti-genocide Hutus in 1994.

About 70 people have been convicted in connection with the genocide, although thousands are believed to have participated. Before his capture, Kabuga was one of nine fugitives among 92 indicted in connection with the killings by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.