The Rwanda war crimes tribunal said it wanted action by the UN Security Council after reporting Kenya to the 15-nation body for failing to cooperate in prosecution of a Rwandan genocide suspect.
Kenya dismissed the charge that it was not cooperating and denied sheltering the suspect, Felicien Kabuga.
A Hutu businessman, Kabuga is accused of funding the militias that butchered some 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus over a span of 100 days in 1994. He is Rwanda’s most-wanted man and the United States has put a $5 million bounty on his head.
In an address to the Security Council, Dennis Byron, president of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, noted that he had forwarded to the council late last month the allegation of non-cooperation “for consideration and appropriate action.”
Council diplomats said no action was planned ahead of a new visit they said Kenya had now agreed that the court’s prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, could make there next month. “The Security Council will wait to see what that visit produces before any further action is taken,” one diplomat said.
Jallow, who last visited Kenya in March 2009, earlier told the council there had been “no further progress” in the country’s cooperation. Kenya had failed to comply with numerous requests for details of Kabuga’s alleged departure from the country, reported to the court by Nairobi in 2008.
“Despite the copious evidence of Kabuga’s entry, residence, activities and occasional reported sightings of him in that country, Kenya has neither arrested him nor provided the information requested by the prosecutor to assist in the tracking and arrest of this fugitive,” Jallow said.
Experts say Kabuga had extensive business dealings with powerful individuals in the government of former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi.
Kenyan officials have said Kenyan police unknowingly detained Kabuga in a crackdown on illegal migrants just a month after the Rwandan genocide began and released him on May 19, 1994, after which he vanished.
Francis Kimemia, an official at Kenya’s ministry of internal security, told the Security Council last Friday Nairobi took “strong exception” to what he called “baseless and persistent imputations of complicity in this matter.”
“No evidence has ever been adduced to the effect that Kenya is harboring Mr. Kabuga,” he said, adding that Kenya had handed over 14 suspects and given “full support and assistance” to the court, which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.
A team set up in 2007 by the Kenyan government to search for Kabuga and his assets found that his wife had invested in property and deposited the rent in a bank account in Kenya but had later moved the funds to Belgium where she lives, he said.