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Rwanda war crimes suspect unfit for trial: UN court

STORY: Judges at a U.N. war crimes court have ruled that elderly Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga is unfit to stand trial.

That decision comes after doctors found that the former business tycoon – who is in his late 80s – suffered from dementia.

Kabuga was arrested in France in 2020, after more than two decades on the run.

Prosecutors say he promoted hate speech through his broadcaster RTLM and armed ethnic Hutu militias.

He has denied charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Kabuga was one of the last suspects sought by the tribunal prosecuting crimes committed during the 1994 genocide, in which extremists from the ruling Hutu majority killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates in 100 days.

A decision published on the website of the U.N.’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals said Kabuga was “no longer capable of meaningful participation in his trial”.

His lawyers have been trying to get the case against him dropped over health concerns.

But judges said that instead of halting the trial, they would find an alternative procedure.

It would, quote, “resemble a trial as closely as possible, but without the possibility of a conviction”.

It was not immediately clear what form such proceedings would take or what will happen to Kabuga who is in the court’s detention center in The Hague.

It is rare for suspects before international courts to be declared mentally unfit to stand trial, though many defendants try.

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