lawyer pleads incompetence of the High Court

Paul Rusesabagina at the opening of his trial in Kigali, February 17, 2021.

Paul Rusesabagina at the opening of his trial in Kigali, February 17, 2021.

The trial of Paul Rusesabagina opened on Wednesday February 17 in Kigali. The Rwandan opponent, considered a “Just” during the Tutsi genocide of 1994, and whose story inspired the film Hôtel Rwanda, is today accused of terrorism for his alleged involvement in several attacks in southern Rwanda in 2018. His lawyer pleaded the incompetence of the Rwandan High Court for international crimes in this case.

With our correspondent in Kigali, Laure broulard

Paul Rusesabagina appeared alongside twenty other defendants, all suspected of terrorism and links with the MRCD, the opposition platform he founded, and the FLN, his armed wing. The court read his nine charges including forming an armed group and murder as an act of terror. ” I am a Belgian citizen who has been kidnapped “Said Paul Rusesabagina. ” How did he stop ? And according to what procedure ? », Added his lawyer, master Gatera Gashabana. According to him, the High Court is not competent to try a Belgian national extradited according to an irregular procedure.

Arguments rejected outright by the prosecution, which considers the opponent to be a Rwandan citizen and which presented a prosecution witness, Callixte Nsabimana, former spokesperson for the FLN, who declared: “ When we started this rebel group, Paul Rusesabagina wanted to become president of Rwanda. How could he have done it if he said he was Belgian? The next hearing is scheduled for February 26. The judge would then have to rule on the question of the jurisdiction of the Court …

► Read also: Rwanda: from Hollywood hero to prisoner accused of terrorism, the fall of Paul Rusesabagina

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