Rusesabagina Extracts Himself from Terror Trial after Six Months Delay is Rejected

Rusesabagina says he won’t be returning to court to answer charges after his six months request was rejected.

Terror suspect Paul Rusesabagina has pulled out of the case in which he is accused and 20 others of terror-related crimes, telling Judges that he will not be returning to court because his rights were not granted.

The ‘Hotel Rwanda’ protagonist, who faces up to 9 charges linked to the terror activities of Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD and its armed wing National Liberation Front (FLN), which he was the leader, had requested for six months and facilities to prepare his case but the request was rejected by court.

Rusesabagina was accused by his co-defendants, whose cases were merged with his, as well as lawyers of civil parties, of deliberately attempting to delay the due process, by requesting a length period to prepare his case and read his ‘huge’ file, which would affect their right to justice.

“I would like to tell the court that this is my last appearance in court. I will not return to this court because my rights have not been respected,” Rusesabagina told the court, with the lead Judge Antoine Muhima telling the registrar to take note of his stand.

His lawyer Felix Rudakemwa also told the court that he would not go against his client’s wish and also requested to leave the case. Earlier, Rusesabagina had told the court that he needed facilities including a computer, printers, scanners and papers to prepare his case and six months to be able to read every page of the over 1,000-page file.

The request drew deliberations in court, with lawyers representing Rusesabagina’s request protesting the request, saying that it will delay further the trial which has already been crippled by Rusesabagina’s objections, which have prevented the case going into substance over the last five or so appearances.

Prosecutors had also opposed the idea of the delay, emphasizing that Rusesabagina’s requests and objections were depriving others involved in the case the right to justice. It had been suggested that Rusesabagina would be allowed to defend himself last after the 20, thereby giving him time to prepare but that too was found to be an issue if he still had issues continuing with the case.

Rusesabagina had also told court that his right to choose lawyers of his choice, including some from outside Rwanda, had also not been granted, but Judges reminded him that the two lawyers representing him were individually picked by him, but he insisted on having foreign ones who don’t have license to stand in Rwandan courts.

Rusesabagina said that he should be granted a right to get a lawyer of his choice, including from heaven if he wanted but the court overruled the claim, saying that the issue of legal representation was not a valid one because he had two lawyers of his choice.

Following the withdrawal of Rusesabagina, court continued with the trial, hearing Callixte Nsabimana, alias Sankara, a spokesperson of FLN, who faces up to 16 charges as on of the leaders of the military outfit which attacked South Western Rwanda between 2018 and 2019, killing at least 9 people, injuring scores while others were kidnapped. Property worth millions in the districts of Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Rusizi and Nyamashake were ransacked or set ablaze.

Nsabimana pleaded guilty to all charges but said that he took orders from his seniors, who should be directly held accountable. The trial continues.

The ‘Hotel Rwanda’ protagonist, who faces up to 9 charges linked to the terror activities of  Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD and its armed wing National Liberation Front (FLN), which he was the leader, had requested for six months and facilities to prepare his case but the request was rejected by court.

Rusesabagina was accused by his co-defendants, whose cases were merged with his, as well as lawyers of civil parties, of deliberately attempting to delay the due process, by requesting a length period to prepare his case and read his ‘huge’ file, which would affect their right to justice.

“I would like to tell court that this is my last appearance in court. I will not return to this court because my rights have not been respected,” Rusesabagina told court, with the lead Judge Antoine Muhima telling the registrar to take not of his stand.

His lawyer Felix Rudakemwa also told court that he would not go against his client’s wish and also requested to leave the case. Earlier, Rusesabagina had told court that he needed facilities including a computer, printers, scanners and papers to prepare his case and six months to be able to read every page of the over 1,000 page file.

The request drew deliberations in court, with lawyers representing Rusesabagina’s request protesting the request, saying that it will delay further the trial which has already been crippled by Rusesabagina’s objections, which have prevented the case going into substance over the last five or so appearances.

Prosecutors had also opposed the idea of the delay, emphasizing that Rusesabagina’s requests and objections were depriving of others involved in the case the right to justice. It had been suggested that Rusesabagina would be allowed to defend himself last after the 20, thereby giving him time to prepare but that too was found to be an issue if he still had issues continuing with the case.

Rusesabagina had also told court that his right to choose lawyers of his choice, including some from outside Rwanda, had also not been granted, but Judges reminded him that the two lawyers representing him were individually picked by him, but he insisted on having foreign ones who don’t have license to stand in Rwandan courts.

Rusesabagina said that he should be granted a right to get a lawyer of his choice, including from heaven if he wanted but court overruled the claim, saying that the issue of legal representation was not a valid one because he had two lawyers of his choice.

Experts weigh in

Phil Clark, a professor of International Politics SOAS University of London, focusing on Central Africa, said that Rusesabagina asking for six months is a right but it is a stretch.

“Asking for more time to prepare is fair but 6 months (on top of the time since he was arrested) seems a stretch,” tweeted Phil Clark, who has been closely following the case.

Nsabimana continues

Following the withdrawal of Rusesabagina, court continued with the trial, hearing Callixte Nsabimana, alias Sankara, a spokesperson of FLN, who faces up to 16 charges as on of the leaders of the military outfit which attacked South Western Rwanda between 2018 and 2019, killing at least 9 people, injuring scores while others were kidnapped. Property worth millions in the districts of Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Rusizi and Nyamashake were ransacked or set ablaze.

Nsabimana pleaded guilty to all charges but said that he took orders from his seniors, who should be directly held accountable. The trial continues.

More details to follow…………

Callixte Nsabimana now defending himself.

 




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