Maj. Dr. Aimable Rugomwa will stand trial alone in the student murder case after his co-accused has been proved mentally incapacitated.
A report presented to the Military Tribunal in Nyamirambo by a mental health expert on May 2, 2017 showed that Mamerito Nsanzimfura was a victim of severe mental debility (‘débilité mental severe’) and thus was not fit for trial.
Nsanzimfura is a brother to Maj. Dr. Rugomwa and both are suspects in a case of a student murdered in September last year.
The report comes after the case failed to go to trial and postponed thrice as a result of Nsanzimfura defense team alleging the suspect’s actions which resulted to death of a student, were mentally disoriented.
Maj. Dr. Rugomwa and Nsanzimfura face charges of manslaughter after allegedly beating a student – Theogene Mbarushimana, resulting into his death on September 4, 2016.
The incident happened at Ubumwe Village, Rubirizi, Kanombe Sector in Kicukiro District.
Court was thrown into a heated debate over mental illness terminology and interpretation of the penal code between the defense team and prosecution.
The duo’s defense team comprised of Joseph Ngabonziza and Jean Claude Ntagara said today that their client should not legally be tried for his actions as provide by article 101 of the penal code.
“Article 101 of the penal code is very clear on the issue of mental illness and our client is not mentally fit to stand trial,” Ngabonziza said.
However, prosecution argued that the penal code exempts trial of persons with ‘la démence’ (Madness) not debility as stated in the expertise report. Court took a break to deliberate on this debate, and in less than 15 minutes court decided that the mental health report is valid and Nsanzimfura will not stand as a co-accused in the murder trial.
Court asked the army doctor (Maj. Dr. Rugomwa) if he was ready to proceed with the trial, and if he pleads guilty to the crime of beating to death a student in his home compound.
Rugomwa said that “I am ready for trial. I plead guilty for beating the student but I plead innocent to his death since I didn’t kill him. It is possible that Theogene Mbarushimana died as a result of my actions.”
In the previous trial, the army doctor had denied beating the student and stated that he physically attacked a suspected ‘thief’ who had been found inside his compound days after his home had been vandalized by thugs.
However, prosecution evidence stated a neighbour had seen Maj.Dr. Rugomwa taking Mbarushimana to his house where he was beaten and later dumped outside their fence and called the area leader saying he had beaten and killed a thief that had broken into their home.
New prosecution evidence also showed that Uwase Scovia, wife to Maj. Dr. Rugomwa saw him batting the deceased student with a stick in the head and tried stop him from manhandling the student but in vain.
“These are pure lies and concocted evidence, this is shameful,” Maj.Dr. Rugomwa said when asked to respond to the allegations adding that some of the people behind these testimonies have personal grudges with him.
Defense Lawyer Ngabonziza defended his client saying that the deceased student was the cause of his own death. He said he had come to steal and added, “My client’s actions result into second degree murder and article 157 should be consulted.”
If article 157 is consulted, that means that the doctor may get sentenced between six months and two years in jail for involuntary manslaughter and a fine of Rwf500.000 to Rwf2million.
Court will reconvene on June 6, 2017 and the wife of Maj.Dr. Rugomwa will be among other witnesses in the case.