High Court rejects Mugesera’s appeal
The High Court on Friday rejected the appeal of Leon Mugesera to be granted more time to study his dossier before the start of his trial.
Mugesera, who is accused of incitement to Genocide, had asked for a delay of 3 months and 24 days, arguing that this was the time it took the prosecution to hand him the file by May 18. This argument had been rejected by Nyarugenge intermediated court, hence the appeal at the High Court.
Yet judge Eugene Ndagijimana of the High Court also didn’t accept the reasoning. “Based on the arguments given by both the prosecution and the defendant, the court found the prosecutor’s argument irrefutable,” he said.
The judge added that the case should now go back to the intermediate court to deliberate Mugesera’s request for provisional liberation, which was initially scheduled for May 24. Yet the issue was never put on the table due to the defendant’s question for more time.
The prosecution has always accused Mugesera of trying to delay the trial by continuously asking for ever more time to study his dossier.
Mugesera’s defense team, on the other hand, argues the principle of a fair trial is at play, and expressed its disappointment with the High Court’s decision. “We are unhappy with the decision which we consider a violation of constitutional provisions of equity and equality before justice,” said Jean-Felix Rudakemwa, one of Mugesera’s lawyers, adding that it is also a threat to the guarantee of fair justice given by Rwanda to Canada to obtain the defendant’s extradition.