The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Friday referred the trial of former university don Aimable Uzaramba Karasira to the High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border crimes after it was concluded that the court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to try him due to the serious nature of the charges he faces.
Karasira, who was arrested on May 31, 2021, faces a number of charges, including genocide denial, inciting divisions and illicit enrichment after he was found with huge amounts of money he could not justify the source.
The Nyarugenge court ruled in favour of moving the case to the Nyanza-based international court after several attempts to have it tried but adjourned several times after Karasira refused to stand trial, asking court to have him treated of mental and health conditions, including diabetes.
Court ruled that the crimes the former University of Rwanda lecturer is accused of committing, including genocide denial, are of international nature and were mostly committed on media, especially YouTube, which court said made the alleged crimes cross-border by nature because the videos were watched by people in different countries.
On his part, Karasira said that he was ready to cooperate with the decision of the court, pointing out that “I will go with whatever you decide.”
He said his lawyer Gatera Gashabana will review the decision and decide on the next move, including a possibility of appealing, which they still have time to do till November 25.
Karasira, 41, was arrested after appearing in a series of talk shows in which he made utterances that prosecutors said tantamount to genocide denial and also instigated divisions among the people, based on ethnicity.
According to Article 5 on the law no.59/2018 of 22/8/2018 on the crime of genocide ideology and related crimes, anyone found guilty genocide denial by stating or indicating that the genocide was not planned; commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years and not more than 7 years, with a fine of not less than Rwf500,000 and not more than Rwf1,000,000.
The same law in Article 7 stipulates that any person who deliberately and in public attempts to justify or legitimize Genocide commits a crime and upon conviction is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years and not more than 7 years, with a fine of not less than Rwf500,000 and not more than Rwf1, 000,000.
Article 164 on the crime of instigating divisions states that a person who makes use of speech, writing, or any other act which divide people or may set them against each other or cause civil unrest on the basis of discrimination, commits an offence.
A person found guilty of inciting divisions is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years but not more than 7 years and a fine of not less than Rwf500,000 but not more than Rwf1,000,000.