Prosecution Seeks 20-Year Sentence For A Man Who Pleaded Guilty of FLN Attacks

Ntibiramira (R) before court

On the third day, the Prosecution continues to conclude cases involving Paul Rusesabagina and 20 co-accused who are alleged to be behind terror activities that killed innocent civilians and made several damages in Rwanda in different years.

On June 17, the prosecution requested the court to hand to Rusesabagina a life sentence following his alleged capital role as founder and president of a terror coalition – Mouvement Rwandais pour le Changement Democratique (MRCD) which has an army wing-Front de Liberation Nationale(FLN).

FLN claimed attacks that cost lives of innocent civilians in Southern Province and Western Province in 2018-2019.

Today, the prosecution was heard proposing sentences against other suspects and starting the day was Innocent Ntibitura against whom the prosecution prayed the court to sentence to 20 years.

According to the prosecution, Ntibitura collaborated from investigation through the trial and never changed his language in regards to four terror charges which include joining a terror organization and recruiting for the later and conspiracy and incitement of terrorism.

According to Prosecution, Ntibitura explained thoroughly how he was part of the terror group that torched vehicles in Nyungwe national park.

“He was in a company of one Bizimana Cassien a.k.a Passy who was determined that on the d-day, vehicles had to be burnt,” said the prosecution.

The prosecution further said, that Ntibitura crossed from DR Congo to Rwanda with co-accused Ntibiramira, Sibomana and Byukusenge and came to throw grenades in Kamembe, a border town located in Rusizi district, Western province.

The suspect explained the person who was in charge of supplying them with arms and ammunitions – one Mutakamba who is also in the trial.

“All the information he provided to court is exactly similar to those that he provided during investigation and prosecution,” said the prosecutor.

“They are vital information that confirm the position of prosecution according to which, the terror organization has a network that allows them to organize attack and to provide supply to elements in terror activities.”

Following the concurrence of offences, the prosecution would have requested for 25 years against Ntibitura, but lenience applied because “he pleaded guilty duly and apologized to the Rwandan community at large and he has never been tried and sentenced in a court of law before this.”

After Ntibitura, the next suspect to decide about had initially pleaded guilty but did not convince the prosecution.

One Byukusenge Jean Claude had said he participated in several terror activities but defended that they never targeted civilians, but soldiers.

The prosecution however indicated that on any occasions, the attackers targeted civilians and their activities, including at Bar Stella in Kamembe where Byukusenge personally threw grenades.

“As a matter of fact, one groupmate had advised that they threw grenades in the forest so it does not cause damage, but Byukusenge refused that if they threw it in the forest, they would not be rewarded,” the prosecution said.

In this trial, the prosecution gave its take on some defendants who said that their case is unconstitutional because there are cases of former members of armed groups who are arrested and sent to Mutobo reintegration centre located in the Northern Province.

“All citizens are equal according to our constitution. I am in a trial that should not be,” the prosecution quoted one of the defendants.

However, the prosecution said that the Lusaka convention proposed that in the interest of peace in the region, countries “may consider to pardon members of armed groups and reintegrate them in the community, BUT it never compelled any country to give an amnesty.”

They said the defendant did not show any proof that Rwanda has provided for an amnesty for the armed groups and therefore, everyone should be answerable for their wrongdoings.




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