France Criticized for its Decision to set Free Felicien Kabuga on Health Grounds

A decision by the government of France to set free Rwandan Genocide ‘suspect’ Felicien Kabuga has elicited a lot of criticism from many countries who feel like the decision was insensitive and unfair to the survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

In what appears to be the worst miscarriage of justice by France against its former colonies in Africa, France said that it did not make sense for the world to spend millions of dollars in trying an 85 year old man who was unlikely to live for more than tens years, and argued that the money should be directed to other causes such as fighting poverty in Africa.

“Cela n’a aucun sens économique. Laissez le Rwanda utiliser l’argent pour aider son peuple. Félicien Kabuga ne vivra pas assez longtemps pour aller en prison.” (It makes no economic sense. Let Rwanda use the money to help its people. Felicien Kabuga will not live long enough to go to jail).

France said that Kabuga was not in very good health and the expected long extradition process to be tried in Africa would further hurt his health. “We cannot guarantee him good medical care if he is sent back to Africa, and we are not willing to spend money trying him here in France. Let the old man die in peace.”

France has ignored pleas by several human rights organizations to allow them to try him independently. Dozens had offered to give him justice including some prisoners at the Fox River State Penitentiary in the US. However, this may never happen as France might not allow him to leave Paris.

The African Union is expected to give its statement on the position during the 34th AU Summit in Addis Ababa.  

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