, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – Kenya has up to June this year to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to arrest fugitive Felicien Kabuga, or be reported to the United Nations Security Council.
US Ambassador for war crimes Stephen Rapp on Thursday claimed that Kenya had refused to assist the ICTR on the issue, despite evidence that Mr Kabuga\’s base was in Kenya.
“The ICTR Prosecutor said if he doesn’t receive the kind of cooperation to which he is entitled, then he will proceed to report Kenya by June 23rd to the Security Council for non compliance,” he said.
He added that the US government was concerned about failure by Kenyan authorities to respond to requests from the ICTR.
The ambassador said despite sending two letters to the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner last May, no replies or notifications had been received.
“The letters written were asking for certain files of certain information and pointing out importance of that information, up to now that letter has not received a response,” he said.
He further claimed that Kenyan authorities withheld important information needed by ICTR: “The task force dealing with the investigations has been denied important information by the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) and other Kenyan authorities.”
He informed the media that ICTR will complete its work this year and failure by Kenya to help in arresting Mr Kabuga will impact negatively on their work.
He insisted that there was reliable information that Mr Kabuga has been in Kenya since the 1990s all through to 2009.
He said: “First of all Kenya admits that Kabuga has been present in this country, there is no doubts he was here in the 1990s. There is solid evidence, pictures of him, he was here through 2007, the question is, is he here in 2010?” he asked.
Mr Rapp earlier met Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo and the Director of Public Prosecutions before holding discussions with US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyoka was however adamant that the government had been cooperating with the ICTR.
He also insisted that Mr Kabuga was not in Kenya and even asked the ambassador to send international investigative bodies to Kenya to look for him.
“The Kenyan government is willing to arrest the fugitive if he is living in Kenya, but as far as we are concerned, Mr Kabuga does not stay in Kenya. Investigations in such matters are sometimes tedious and very expensive,” he said.
Mr Onyonka promised that Kenya would cooperate and told Ambassador Rapp that there was no need to report the country to the UN Security Council.
Mr Kabuga is the most wanted of 11 genocide suspects sought by the ICTR and still on the run. The United States has placed a $5million bounty on him.
The wealthy businessman has been on the run for years since being indicted by the ICTR for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed 800,000 lives.
Kenya, where Mr Kabuga allegedly found protection from senior officials in the previous government, denies he is in the country and has pledged to arrest him if discovered there.
Officials of the ICTR say they remain unconvinced he is not here as long as the Kenyan authorities are unable to say when Mr Kabuga left, through which border post and to which destination.