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Hutu Businessman Targeted For Involvement in Rwanda's 1994 Genocide - 2002-06-12

A U.S. official is in Nairobi as part of a U.S.-led campaign to find Rwandans accused of playing a key role in the 1994 genocide in that country. The first target of the U.S. Reward for Justice campaign is a businessman named Felicien Kabuga.

A "wanted" photograph of Mr. Kabuga has been published in Kenyan newspapers, along with the accusation that he "financed the massacre of Rwanda's men, women, and children."

The wealthy Hutu businessman is alleged to have used his vast assets to help carry out the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

At a news conference in Nairobi, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, Pierre-Richard Prosper, listed the charges the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has made against Mr. Kabuga.

"Mr. Kabuga is indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Geneva Convention. It is now time to bring him to justice. It is time for Mr. Kabuga to come out of hiding and face the charges against him. It is time for those who have information to come forward and time for those who are harboring Felicien Kabuga to cease their protection and to turn him over," Mr. Prosper said.

In 1994, Mr. Kabuga was part owner of a radio station in Rwanda, Radio Television Milles Collines, that told Hutus where Tutsis were to be found and offered advice on how to kill them.

Mr. Kabuga is also accused of buying uniforms and vehicles for the Interahamwe militia group, responsible for thousands of deaths.

The wealthy businessman is believed to spend time in Kenya, Europe, Madagascar, and Gabon. Kenyan authorities have three times tried, and failed, to arrest him. The United States has set up a special task force in Nairobi to coordinate efforts to apprehend him.

On Thursday, Ambassador Prosper travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo to hold talks with President Joseph Kabila. He said his mission there, as in Kenya, is to find people wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. "At least eight other persons have been identified who are indicted by the ICTR who we believe are presently in the Congo. These individuals continue to play a destructive role and are fueling the war that has gripped the Great Lakes region of Africa for over half a decade. While they are all fugitives of justice they can run, but they cannot hide. We are now in pursuit. We are prepared to move this task force and campaign to wherever the information leads us and to wherever it is needed," Mr. Prosper said.

Mr. Kabuga is now believed to be funding Interahamwe militia based in Congo who are fighting the current Rwandan government.

Ambassador Prosper said the United States is searching for 14 other suspects in the Rwanda genocide; some of them are believed to be rebel commanders in Congo.