Mugesera trial gets underway
Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera yesterday requested the High Court to postpone the trial against him because, he said, there are still a lot of issues to be fixed.
The hearing in substance was scheduled to run from Monday to Friday at the High Court, but Mugesera and his lawyer Jean Felix Rudakemwa aked the court to postpone it, among others because he is still waiting for some members of his defense team from abroad as well as certain documents. Judiciary spokesman Charles Kariwabo told this The Rwanda Focus that the exact number of the lawyers Mugesera expects is only known by the accused.
Mugesera also requested the court more time to go through a document he received recently from Canada. He informed the court that he only got a laptop on September 12 to read the 40,000-page file, and had therefore not yet managed to finish it. He also insisted on the postponement due to the fact that he still has an appeal at the Supreme Court where he is contesting some articles of the law he claims to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will decide on the appeal on September 28.
In addition, the accused told the court that he should wait for some documents from the ICTR regarding his case.
However, the prosecution requested the court to refute all these arguments, saying it was just a way to delay the proceedings. Prosecutors said that all the necessary facts on the case are available as the crime was committed in Rwanda, therefore there is no reason to wait for documents from abroad. Prosecutor Jean Bosco Mutangana requested the court to proceed with case, saying Mugesera had received the full dossier that will be used during the hearings.
“Mugesera’s case is entirely domestic and we filed the case after being satisfied with the evidence that we had gathered in Rwanda,” Mutangana told the court, adding that Mugesera should therefore not request a postponement base on documents that are not included in his dossier.
Deported from Canada on January 24, Leon Mugesera is accused of masterminding the Genocide, inciting people to exterminate Tutsis and spreading hate among people, as exemplify in a speech he made in 1992 in Kibilira, in the former Gisenyi prefecture.
The judge ruled that the decision on the request will be announced on Tuesday at 10 am.