Brussels, April 2nd, 2021
We, the children of Felicien Kabuga are greatly discouraged by out father’s deteriorating health and the lack of information that is shared with us by his court-appointed lawyer, Emmanuel Altit.
On 1 April 2021, the Trial Chamber of the United Nations International Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals issued a decision refusing to dismiss Me. Altit as the lawyer for Felicien Kabuga. Felicien Kabuga had requested that Me. Altit be removed because he refused to share information on his medical condition, and the steps he is taking to protect Mr. Kabuga’s interests, with his children.
Donatien Nshimyumuremyi, the eldest son of Felicien Kabuga, said, “Our father’s health has been deteriorating since he arrived in The Hague and his lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, has not been in contact with our father or his children for more than two months, even after he had an accident within the detention unit and had to go through a major surgery. We feel that our father is being held hostage by his lawyer, who refuses to communicate with him or his family and is not defending him in his best interests.”
We have consulted several international criminal lawyers and have been advised that it is possible, with the consent of our father and the Trial Chamber, for our father’s lawyer to share information on his medical condition, and what he is doing about it, with us. The children have been primarily responsible for the care of their father during recent years and it has been very painful to be excluded by someone who is supposed to be looking out for our father’s best interest.
We note with great concern that our father remains hospitalized in The Hague for more than a month and is so weak and confused that the last status conference had to be only through writing because he was not able to appear. That means, as the lawyer had not seen him for a long time that our father is completely excluded from a proceeding deciding about his fate. He appears to be completely unfit to stand trial. To be without an advocate who can provide us proper information about our father, and what is being done to protect his health and rights, has been devastating. We fear that the lawyer is working with the authorities to put our father on trial regardless of his physical and mental conditions and that our father’s and our human rights are being violated.
We ask that the proceedings in our father’s case be conducted with greater transparency and that he be allowed to have a lawyer who he trusts and who we can be sure will look out for his best interests.
On behalf of Félicien Kabuga Family