Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga has the right to be presumed innocent and opposes being transferred from France to a UN tribunal based in Tanzania, his lawyers said in a statement.
Kabuga, 84, is accused of bankrolling ethnic militias that massacred some 800,000 people in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and had been on the run for a quarter of a century until his arrest on Saturday in a Paris suburb.
He is due to appear at 1200 GMT before judges at a Paris court who will decide whether to hand him to the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
The international court is based in The Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania.
The lawyers said they would seek a postponement at the opening of the hearing.
It was unacceptable, the lawyers said, that France’s public prosecutor’s office had on Saturday referred to the one-time tea and coffee tycoon as one of the leading perpetrators of the slaughter, before any trial had begun.
Kabuga is Rwanda’s most wanted man and had a 5 dollars million bounty on his head.
He was indicted in 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide and incitement to commit genocide.
Under French law, an eight-day postponement to hearing will be automatically granted. (NAN)