4 September 2012

Rwanda: Mugesera's Supreme Court Verdict for September 28

The Supreme Court will on September 28 pronounce its decision on an application by Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera challenging procedures on which the High Court based its decision to deny him more time to study his dossier.

In Mugesera's submission, he argues 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.

However, during the hearing on Monday, the Deputy Chief Justice, Sylvie Zainab Kayitesi, informed Mugesera that, legally, if he is challenging a particular law in view of a constitutional provision, he was supposed to attach the whole copy of the law on his application.

Mugesera had attached only one page with article 162 of the code.

He was also told that his application did not contain receipts of court dues which he was supposed to pay before making the application.

"When I was filing the application on behalf of my client, I was informed that inmates are exempted from paying court charges.

"You are also aware that my client Mugesera owns nothing and has no income, in that case, he can't afford the court charges," said Mugesera's lawyer, Felix Rudakemwa.

On behalf of the state, Principle State Attorney Aimable Marara challenged the litigant on the submission.

"How would you claim Mugesera cannot afford court charges yet he can pay a lawyer? Unless you are telling me that he is getting a pro bono service from you, which we know is not true."

Following the hearing, judges decided not to try Mugesera's case but instead review whether they could accept his application with the missing items or go by the book and reject it.

Mugesera was deported from Canada earlier this year after he lost all legal and political battles to bar his deportation to Rwanda to face Genocide charges.

He fled to Canada in early 90s after making an inflammatory speech in which he partly called upon the extermination of Tutsis saying that they should be killed and 'transported' back to Ethiopia via River Nile.

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