UN appeals judges have ordered that the 90-year-old Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga should be released over dementia which makes him unfit to stand for his trial.
The decision taken on Monday likely means that Kabuga’s trial, which started last year in The Hague, will not be completed.
In June, judges at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals ruled Kabuga unfit to stand trial but said alternative procedures should take place.
Prosecutors had argued halting the trial would be unfair to the victims and said Kabuga’s own actions put him in the position of facing trial at an advanced age with diminished capacity.
However, appeals judges said on Monday that the lower court made an “error of law” and there was no legal basis for an “alternative finding procedure” instead of a trial for Kabuga.
They had “decided to remand the matter to the trial chamber with an instruction to impose an indefinite stay of proceedings in view of Mr Kabuga’s lack of fitness to stand trial.”
“The appeals chamber further instructed the trial chamber to expeditiously consider the issue of Mr Kabuga’s detention on remand,” the judges said in their ruling.
The judges also ordered a lower trial chamber to rapidly evaluate under what circumstances Kabuga could be released.