Kenya said to give shelter to financier of Rwandan genocide

The US ambassador on war crimes accuses Kenya of continuing to harbour a chief financier of the Rwandan genocide. The American official also expressed US support for the decision by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor to begin proceedings against the suspected perpetrators of violence in Kenya.
US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp met with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Kenya’s Justice Minister Mitula Kilonzo.

The ambassador, who served for six years at the Tanzanian-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, says the man widely believed to have been the chief financial backer of the Rwandan genocide, Felicien Kabuga, has long found safe haven in Kenya.

The former prosecutor against Rwandan genocide perpetrators says Kenyan authorities have given no backing to their claims that Kabuga has left the country, against collected evidence to the contrary.
“I have seen pictures of him in Kenyan neighborhoods. The ICTR has continued to press with Kenyan authorities for effective action to bring about his arrest. Even arriving last night I received fresh information of his presence in Kenya. The latest response of government authorities is, ‘Oh, he has left. He was here at one time but he’s gone.’ The ICTR says, ‘Well, if he has left, and you are saying that, show us the evidence,'” Rapp said.

Kabuga was the founder and financier of Radio Milles Collines, notoriously known now as Radio Hate, which helped instigate thousands of Hutu Rwandans to turn against and kill their Tutsi neighbours. He is also accused of importing massive shipments of machetes for use in the genocide.

The fugitive is believed to have entered Kenya during the presidency of Daniel arap Moi. A Kenyan journalist was mysteriously found dead in 2003, just days after publishing a piece about Kabuga’s continued presence in the city.

Ambassador Rapp also said the United States is disappointed in the Kenyan government’s lack of will to try the chief organizers of the 2008 post-election violence that left about 1300 Kenyans dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The ambassador says the United States fully supports the action by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo to seek pre-trial investigations in Kenya.
“This case will proceed, and we hope with an expeditious investigation, with arrest warrants or summons for those who bear the greatest responsibility by mid-2010. That certainly would be our hope,” Rapp said.

The United States is not a party to the ICC, despite its public support for Ocampo’s prosecution in Kenya.

US authorities have announced a review of its policy towards the international court. Rapp says the United States is deciding to “engage” the court.
“Our government has now made the decision that Americans will return to engagement of the ICC, and yesterday, two days from now, I will be leading the American delegation at the Assembly of States Parties at the International Criminal Court, in observer status,” Rapp said.

He said any future ratification of the ICC treaty by America would be years away.

Pic: Kenyan Prime Minister- Raila Odinga