29 June 2012

Rwanda: Mugesera Denied Bail

The Intermediate Court of Nyarugenge, yesterday, remanded Genocide suspect, Leon Mugesera to 30 days in prison.

Judge Saudah Murererehe, the vice President of the Nyamirambo-based court, while reading the verdict, said the gravity of Mugesera's case, which might result into a life sentence, does not merit bail.

She said Mugesera's hate speech made in 1992 played a major role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which radical Hutus massacred more than one million Tutsis in just 100 days.

The former lecturer's virulent speech was made at a political rally of the then ruling party, MRND, in Kabaya, in former Gisenyi Prefecture, where he urged Hutus to kill Tutsis, whom he called 'scum'.

"You are hereby remanded for 30 days at the Central Prison of Kigali," said Murererehe, in her ruling.

This means that Mugesera will now be transferred from the special detention centre to the international prisoners section and will now have to wear the pink inmates' uniform.

Mugesera immediately said he would appeal.

"We are going to appeal against this decision in the High Court in the next five days as the law stipulates," Jean Felix Mudakemwa, his lawyer, told journalists shortly after the ruling.

Mugesera had also petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that the decision by the High Court to uphold the Intermediate Court's ruling to deny him enough time to study his dossier ignored some laws.

While appearing before the Intermediate Court on Thursday, he requested that the court halts the hearing of his case until the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

The court refused the three months he had requested to "thoroughly scrutinise" his 240-page case file, a decision which was maintained by the High Court.

During yesterday's ruling, however, Murererehe also said Mugesera did not follow legal procedures when lodging his complaint to the Supreme Court, since he didn't inform the court currently handling his litigation.

This, she said, can't stop the court from going ahead to hear his case.

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