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By Benoît Hopquin

Posted today at 03:53

How French investigators track executioners and war criminals

On May 16, 2020, at 6:20 a.m., an intervention squad of the Republican Guard broke the entrance to an apartment located on the third floor of 97, rue du Révérend-Père-Christian-Gilbert, in Asnières (Hauts -de-Seine). The gendarmes secure the two-room apartment and call in the living room a first man, Donatien Nshima, a Rwandan usually residing in Belgium but whose presence on the scene was known thanks to his phone calls. Another man is lying in the bedroom. ” This is my father “, Nshima answers the gendarme who questions him about his identity.

From the landing where she grew impatient, Warrant Officer Estelle heard the phrase. The gendarme of the Central Office for the fight against crimes against humanity, genocides and war crimes (OCLCH) knows then that she has won. She rushes into the bedroom and finds an old man still in her bed. He is emaciated, his features drawn, but the investigator would recognize this face among a thousand, since the time that his portrait sits on the wall above his desk, with this mention: “Wanted for Rwandan Genocide”.

Cunning or force

It is he, Félicien Kabuga, 85, financier and organizer of the massacre of the Tutsi, between April and July 1994. He, the boss of Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines, the sinister antenna which fed the genocidaires with appeals to “Kill all cockroaches”. He, the man who had supplied 25 tons of Chinese machetes to the extremist Hutu militias, so that they could accomplish their abominable task.

The man in the apartment has this long scar on his neck, near his right ear, a sequel to an operation for a benign throat tumor, performed in Germany in 2007. It was just before the fugitive, object of a red notice from Interpol since 2001, escapes a search by the police across the Rhine, while his son-in-law was a diversion.

He thus slipped for the umpteenth time into the hands of those who had pursued him for twenty-five years, from Switzerland to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Kenya, where he was protected at the highest level of the state, journalist William Munuhe, who had approached him too closely, was assassinated in mysterious conditions in 2003. The FBI then promised a reward for his capture. of $ 5 million, to no avail.

By cunning or force, Félicien Kabuga has escaped all the ambushes. Until the end of his run, in this apartment in the Paris region. This May 16, 2020, despite his son’s admission, the fugitive still clings to his false Congolese passport and a false name, Antoine Tounga, the last of the 25 or so aliases he used during his run. Then, around 9 a.m., he confesses his true identity, which DNA tests will only corroborate.

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