Mugesera Substantive Trial Begins Today


The High Court will today start hearing in substance, the case involving Genocide suspect, Leon Mugesera, Prosecution Spokesman Alain Mukurarinda told The New Times yesterday.

Mugesera is accused of making an infamous speech in 1992 that allegedly played a major role in sparking the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in which radical ethnic Hutus killed more than one million Tutsi.

He was in January this year deported from Canada after losing a legal battle that lasted close to two decades.

He has since January battled with the courts on his pre-trial making several applications that he appealed against in different courts.

“Mugesera’s case is expected to begin in substance today and his case will be tried by the High Court though not the special chamber,” said Mukurarinda.

The special chamber, which is also at the High Court, is only designated for persons transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Although Mugesera’s case is scheduled to begin today, he still has an outstanding appeal related to his pre-trial procedure in the Supreme Court.

The Spokesman of the Courts Charles Kaliwabo said that Mugesera wrote to the High Court requesting for an adjournment of his case in substance so that the Supreme Court pronounces its decision first.

“The court will review Mugesera’s request before the trial begins which is likely to result into postponement of the hearing or proceed but it will all be a decision of the court, of course depending on the pleadings that will be made” said Kaliwabo.

The Supreme Court will on September 28 pronounce its decision on whether to hear or reject an application Mugesera challenging procedures on which the High Court based its decision to deny him more time to study his dossier during his pre-trial appeal.

The Supreme Court had observed that Mugesara’s application lacked some of the necessary requirements to file a case there, and the highest jurisdiction of the land gave itself time to determine whether or not they will continue hearing the suspect’s case.

In Mugesera’s submission, he argued that article 162 of the code for civil and administrative procedures on which the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court based its decision contradicts article 18 of the constitution.

The article in question stipulates that “any person who was a party to the proceedings in the first instance may appeal the judgment if he/she has an interest therein, except when the law provides otherwise.”

It adds that “However, the appeal against an interlocutory judgment shall be made only jointly with the final judgment. In this case, the time limit for appealing against the interlocutory judgment starts running from the date on which the final judgment was notified to the party”.

According to the applicant, if the decision based on article 162 of the procedural code is upheld, it would undermine the constitution and his right to have more time to study his dossier.

 

Souce: Edwin Musoni, 17 September 2012, The New Times

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