The High Court Chamber of International and Transboundary Crimes has set the date to deliver verdicts in the terror trial involving Paul Rusesabagina and 20 others, all linked to the National Liberation Front (FLN).
In an interview with KT Press, the Judicial Spokesman, Harrison Mutabazi confirmed the date saying that the verdict reading will be held at 11am on August 20th 2021 in Kigali.
“It’s confirmed, the time is 11:00 in the morning” Mutabazi said.
Rusasebagina and two former FLN spokesmen Callixte Nsabimana and Herman Nsengimana are key suspects in the MRCD- FLN terror case.
Just like other 20 suspects in the FLN case, both Nsabimana and Nsengimana pleaded guilty and gave court damning details of the terror attack targeting Rwandan citizens between 2018 and 2019 in the south western part of the country.
Rusesabagina pleaded not guilty and has not been appearing in court for months.
However, Prosecution has requested for a life sentence to be handed to Rusesabagina while seeking 25 years in jail for each of the other FLN suspects and compensation of 80 victims.
The victims and survivors of the FLN attacks are seeking compensation of damages caused during the attacks which are at over $2.3million.
The verdict reading is expected to be broadcast live on YouTube.
Meanwhile the trial continued on Thursday with some of the co-accused making submissions on the Prosecution requests. Angelina Mukandutiye , the only woman in the case, pleaded guilty to the charges but things turned dramatic when she requested court to be lenient on her and instead give her the opportunity to mobilise female convicts to join and serve in the army, as she did in the jungles of DRC.
When asked to comment about the 20-year sentence requested for her by prosecution, Mukandutiye said that she is guilty as charged but she was remorseful and was willing to use her mobilisation powers as did in CNRD Ubumwe, under Gen. Wilson Irategeka, to mobilise women to join the army this time, instead of a militia.
Prior to joining PDR Ihumure and later Rusesabagina and Nsabimana’s groups, Mukandutiye’s prowess to recruit female fighters was renowned but she said she only did it with CNRD Ubumwe.
“I am 70. When would I complete the 20 year sentence to prove that I have reformed? I plead to the court to show some leniency in its decision and give me a light sentence. Alternatively I can be given other tasks to fulfil, including recruiting females in prison to join the army. I am responsible for whatever I did but I fault myself for following the bandwagon,” Mukandutiye said.
She said that they had been told by the so-called parties that they were pushing the Rwandan Government to go into talks, similar to Arusha Peace talks of 1993 but they later realised they were being misled. She apologized to Rwandans and the President of the Republic.
Regarding the compensation of victims, Mukandutiye said that she had no role in issuing orders to carry out attacks but said that indeed the victims deserve compensation. She pointed out that she wouldn’t have anything to compensate the victims because her properties in the country were auctioned in 2006 due to Genocide-related crimes she committed.
Other defendants who spoke in court include Théogène Hakizimana, who claimed he was forced to join the militia, and Jean Damascène Nsabimana alias Motari, both facing a possible 20 year sentence. Nsabimana said he only transported people and was not aware of FLN or its planned attacks.
The suspects in the trial will know their fate on August 20.