- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

KIGALI, Rwanda Justice is finally closing in on the chief financier of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, according to U.S. and foreign government officials.
Nearly 10 years after the majority Hutus killed more than 800,000 of the minority Tutsis and their Hutu sympathizers, time appears to be running out for Felicien Kabuga, one of the central figures in the slaughter.
Mr. Kabuga, a wealthy Hutu businessman who married into the family of Juvenal Habyarimana, Rwanda's president before the genocide, fled the country after a Tutsi-led rebel movement swept to power. But persistent rumors and mounting hard evidence have suggested he is hiding in Kenya.
Now the departure of longtime Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi and a lucrative reward on Mr. Kabuga's head may soon land him in Arusha, Tanzania, the seat of the U.N. war-crimes tribunal for Rwanda.
"The net has closed in around him, the information has become more and more solid, and his sources of protection are now to the point where we hope they will dry up," Pierre-Richard Prosper, U.S. ambassador at-large for war crimes, told reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, last week.
U.N. investigators already have headed to Nairobi in the hope of apprehending Mr. Kabuga.
Increased cooperation from Kenyan authorities and the new administration of President Mwai Kibaki, who was inaugurated Dec. 30, have helped investigators get close to Mr. Kabuga, Mr. Prosper said.
Access to his money has been key to Mr. Kabuga's ability to get protection from Kenyan officials and to an extensive propaganda campaign conducted on his behalf by his wife and children, who live in Europe.
Under the Rewards for Justice program, the United States has offered up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Mr. Kabuga, 68. The program is credited with helping in the capture of Jean-Baptist Gatete and Augustin Bizimungu, two other ringleaders of the Rwandan genocide who had fled to other African countries.
The U.N. tribunal in Tanzania has handed down a preliminary indictment of Mr. Kabuga and other fugitives suspected of organizing the genocide. It identifies him as the "main financier and backer" of the main Hutu extremist party and its youth wing, the Interahamwe, which did most of the killing.
Mr. Kabuga was also a supporter of RTLM, a radio station that helped keep the killers and organizers in touch during the three-month rampage, often by broadcasting the names and hiding places of Tutsis.
As early as 1992, Mr. Kabuga purchased "hoes, machetes and other agricultural implements, knowing they would be used as weapons during the massacres," the tribunal said. Two years later, his trucking company provided the Interahamwe with uniforms and transportation during the genocide.
Meanwhile, Rwanda has decided to release up to 40,000 genocide suspects and captured rebels to ease overcrowding in prisons under a decree signed by President Paul Kagame, the Associated Press reported.
Beneficiaries include minor, sick and elderly detainees, as well as some of the 31,500 suspects who confessed to involvement in the genocide. They will face trial by their neighbors in community courts known as "gacaca," said Attorney General Gerard Gahima.
He said the decree does not cover organizers, leaders and supervisors of the genocide and those accused of rape during the 100-day slaughter.

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