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25 Jun 2008 08:17
Kenya has rebuked the United Nations tribunal for Rwanda over its claims that Nairobi is sluggish in detaining Rwandan genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, according to official documents.
The Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has grown increasingly frustrated with Kenya for its failure to catch the suspect despite clear evidence that Kabuga is a frequent visitor to the country.
But police say they are still searching for Kabuga, who has been on the run since the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of 800 000 people.
In a letter to Nairobi dated May 22, the tribunal’s senior trial prosecutor Richard Karegyesa said Kenya had done little to detain Kabuga, even after it won financial control of his luxury Nairobi estate.
“The steps undertaken by your government in implementing our request has come too little too late and falls far short of implementing the full range of recommendations of the joint taskforce,” Karegyesa wrote.
The ICTR remarks were in response to Kenya’s May 9 letter—accompanied by documents—to the tribunal updating it on the court-endorsed takeover of the estate three days earlier.
But in a gloves-off rejoinder, Kenya’s Attorney General Amos Wako bristled with anger.
“It is clear that the accusations contained in Mr Karegyesa’s aforementioned letter are grossly unfair, unwarranted and utterly without basis.
“Furthermore, I find the language used by Karegyesa undiplomatic, disrespectful and intemperate,” Wako wrote.
“I am indeed gratified to note that the government of Rwanda itself appreciates these efforts,” added Wako, alluding to the fact that Kigali, instead of the ICTR, thanked Kenya.
Wako, in the letter copied to the ICTR president, Judge Dennis Byron, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said Kenya had “cooperated
and worked closely” with the UN-backed court in the arrest and surrender of indictees as well as relocation, protection and facilitation of witnesses.
“Concrete steps have been undertaken and continue to be undertaken by the Kenya government to the full implementation of the recommendation in the third report, including bringing on board the Kenya Revenue Authority, who have embarked on investigations on the properties and bank accounts of the individuals and entities associated with Kabuga, for the purpose of recovering unpaid or evaded taxes,” he said.
Washington has placed a $5-million bounty on the head of Kabuga, an ethnic Hutu, accused of being a key financier and supplying machetes and other weapons to take part in the massacre of 800 000 people, mostly Tutsis, within four months in 1994.
The ICTR has claimed it was closing in on the fugitive, its most high-profile suspect still at large nearly two decades after the genocide.
Kenya, where Kabuga allegedly found protection from senior officials in the government of former president Daniel arap Moi, denies Kabuga is in the country and has pledged to arrest him if he is found there.
Born in 1935, the wealthy businessman is said to be a frequent traveller in various African nations where he buys protection.
He was thrown out of Switzerland in 1994, and spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo before seeking refuge in Kenya, where he has escaped several attempts to arrest him.
Kabuga escaped arrest here in 1998, when an ICTR team raided a Nairobi house allegedly rented from a nephew of the now-retired Moi and found a note indicating the fugitive had been tipped off by Kenyan police. - AFP
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