The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, has described recent activities in the European Parliament as an attempt to interfere in an ongoing judicial process in Rwanda, a sovereign state with independent courts, which should be left to do their work.
In an interview with KT Press, Minister Busingye said that the resolution on Rwanda by Members of the European Parliament on the arrest and trial of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ protagonist Paul Rusesabagina, currently facing terror-related charges in Rwanda, is nothing but an effort to meddle into the justice process and an attempt to deliver a judgement before the trial.
“I looked through the document, the fact that it expresses absolutely no regard for the people who were killed in the three attacks that FLN claimed responsibility for, is telling,” Minister Busingye said, in reference to the attacks by the National Liberation Front (FLN).
The rebel outfit, known by its French acronym FLN, is the military wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), which Rusesabagina is the leader, carried out attacks in South Western Rwanda between June 2018 and April 2019, claiming at least 9 people, injuring dozens and destroyed properties valued in millions.
Rusesabagina, who was arrested in August last year, before appearing in court in September, was seen in several videos taking responsibility of the attacks in Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts. He is charged with 19 others, all FLN members captured at different times.
Busingye said that European MPs disregarded all the facts at their disposal, regarding the pending trial and instead seemed to deliver a judgement for Rusesabagina ahead of courts.
The Attorney General also wondered why the European legislators disregarded 20 others co-accused with Rusesabagina to focus on the ‘Hotel Rwanda’ character, yet they all face similar charges, which reflects the double standards of the EU parliament.
Among Rusesabagina’s co-accused are two former spokespersons of FLN, Callixte Nsabimana and Herman Nsengimana, who also face terror-related charges, including conspiracy to engage in terrorism activities, murder, arson, kidnapping and others.
“I noticed an unfortunate attempt to clad a one Mr Paul Rusesabagina, one of the 21 suspects of the FLN attacks that left death and destruction in their wake, with a kind of ‘European citizen immunity’ from prosecution in Rwanda. That was strange,” Busingye said.
Busingye said the actions by European MPs are an attempt to undermine Rwanda’s sovereignty and judicial system on the mere basis of prejudicial and NGO and other propaganda.
“When I looked through the document, I saw characteristic undue harassment, questioning of our sovereignty, an attitude of entitlement to manage our politics and an attempt to trivialize our lives and our history,”
“That is what I saw. We have resisted this affront for many years, since the inception and execution of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, until now. We will continue to resist it, to seek engagement and common ground,” Minister Busingye said.
Busingye said that the developments in the EU parliament reflect an attempt to meddle into an ongoing judicial process.
“While at the same time calling for justice to do its work independently, they did not only interfere, they almost read and delivered a judgement!,”
“They should desist from interference not only in the workings of our justice system but in the management of our politics” Busingye said, adding that if they were genuine and bona fide, they wouldn’t be focusing on the trial of only one man, when he is in a case with 19 others.
The terror case, in which the 66-year-old is a key suspect, is set to return to court on February 17 for the substantive hearing which was adjourned last month, due to the New Coronavirus restrictions.
Rwanda maintains that Rusesabagina has access to medical care and has the right to choose his legal representation. His efforts to secure release on bail were rejected by courts several times last year.