Fifty witnesses are expected to testify before the UN court against the top genocide financier, Felicien Kabuga, whose case began in substance on Thursday 29 last month.
Undisputedly, the witnesses will be testifying for his role of being a ‘financier of the Genocide’ that saw almost a population of one million Tutsis wiped out.
An updated indictment submitted to the UN court last year indicates Kabuga faces serious charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, persecution for political reasons, extermination and murder.
Like the previous indictments, the prosecutor’s submissions of last year assert Kabuga was responsible for the creation of the hateful broadcasts aired by the Radio-Television des mille collines (RTLM) which he financed with logistical support.
Kabuga is also accused of facilitating the movements of Interahamwe during their murderous operations and of having been given them money and food throughout the process.
Other top fugitives like Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza and Ephrem Nkezabera have been convicted by the UN court.
The elderly Kabuga who is now in his 80s refused to appear in person or via a link at the start of a trial on Thursday, due to a dispute over his lawyers but the court concluded that the hearing would proceed.
As Kabuga’s case proceedings go on, there is a question of knowing the amount of damages that are to be awarded to the victims in relation to the seriousness of Kabuga’s crime.
Speaking to Taarifa, Faustin Murangwa, a criminal lawyer based in Kigali said it is a norm for international cases for one to be a victim and a witness at the same time adding therefore that a big number of Rwandan survivors will be witnesses at the Hague.
Referring to the compensation and damages, Murangwa told Taarifa that there are legal challenges that need to be addressed for survivors to be awarded compensation and damages.
He said for survivors to access the compensation and damages they must go through their umbrella bodies and therefore a single person cannot demand for damages.
“I think the law must be legislated to create a favorable environment for the victims to seek compensation,” he said. “The fact that there is no amount of damages set for victims is because there is no law in place,” he added.
Félicien Kabuga was born in 1935, in Muniga secteur, Mukarange commune, Byumba prefecture, Rwanda. He is likely to serve life imprisonment if convicted.