27 September 2011

Rwanda: Ingabire Trial Postponed to Next Week

Kigali — The trial of Victoire Ingabire and her four co-accused, was yesterday adjourned to October 4 after her defence counsel argued that there are some charges that the High Court has no jurisdiction over.

The trial was entering the fourth consecutive week.

Addressing High Court panel of judges, Ian Edwards who is among Ingabire's counsel, told court that they had objections to make before the trial proceeds.

"We have two major objections we want to make so that you pronounce yourselves on them before our client's defence proceeds," Edwards said.

He explained that almost all the charges against Ingabire, including the terrorism and genocide ideology charges, were allegedly committed outside Rwanda and therefore the High Court has no territorial jurisdiction over her.

"Based on this, we find that our client is not supposed to submit herself to this court or answer any charges before this court because the alleged crimes were not committed on Rwandan territory," he said.

Another objection, according to Ingabire's lawyer, is that the charges preferred against her, especially the terrorism charge and the Genocide ideology, were committed before the laws punishing them had been published in the official gazette.

"All the evidence shown by prosecution dates from 2006 up to when Ingabire was arrested, and yet the laws on counter-terrorism and genocide ideology were published in 2008 and 2009, respectively," explained Edwards.

But the prosecution did not take it lightly.

"Your honour, it is unfortunate that our counterparts can do such a thing and at the same time request for a quick trial. They never submitted their objections before this day, and yet they had our submissions for close to ten months now," said prosecutor Alphonse Hitiyaremye.

"Following the irresponsible actions of the defence, we request that we be given enough time to examine the document and research since there are many articles that have been quoted".

Prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa reiterated that most of the objections were invalid saying the defence opted for the objections as tactics to delay the trial.The trial is expected to resume on Tuesday next week.

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