Fugitive accused of supplying machetes used in 1994 Rwandan genocide is arrested outside Paris

Rwandan businessman Felicien Kabuga was arrested outside of Paris on Saturday, more than 20 years after being accused of allegedly supplying machetes and broadcasting violent propaganda during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

He was accused of supplying machetes and training the Hutu Interahamwe militia, which was responsible for leading mass killings that resulted in the deaths of more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates who tried to protect Tutsis.

The 84-year-old was also accused of establishing the station Radio Television Mille Collines (RTMC) that propagated hate speech and played a key role in the start of the violence in Rwanda.

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The U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda indicted Kabuga in 1997 after financial documents were found in the capital city of Kigali showing that he used dozens of his companies to import and supply machetes -- the key weapons used by Hutu militias during the genocide.

Kabuga was reportedly close to then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, who was killed after his plane was shot down by a missile in April 1994. Kabuga’s daughter also married Hayarimana’s son.

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At the time, RTMC blamed Tutsi rebels for the president’s assassination and urged violent acts that encouraged the 100-day genocide.

Kabaga’s arrest was the result of a joint investigation led by the United Nation’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and French police forces. He was found living under a different name in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, an area north of Paris.

U.N. Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said his arrest “sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later.”

Kabuga will stand trial at the U.N. mechanism in The Hauge, a city in the Netherlands.

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“The arrest of Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes,” the mechanism’s chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said in a statement Saturday.

“Our first thoughts must be with the victims and survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Advocating on their behalf is an immense professional honor for my entire Office.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.