18 September 2012

Rwanda: Genocide Suspect Granted Trial Delay

The High Court yesterday granted Genocide suspect, Leon Mugesera, until November 19, to review his Canadian case file before the trial can begin in substance.

His trial was scheduled to begin on Monday but he requested for an adjournment presenting a list of reasons.

Passing the court's judgment, Justice Athanase Bakuzakundi, said, "The only reason the court finds permissible is that he was given a copy of the Canada dossier on two CDs and a laptop but he needed more facilities to review the document."

The court turned down several of Mugesera's request to consider delaying the trial indefinitely and considered only the request of giving him more time to review his Canadian case file.

Some of the other reasons fronted by Mugesera was a pending case he filed in the Supreme Court challenging the law based on to deny him more time during the pre-trial period but the judge ruled that such an application would not affect the substantive hearing, hence turning down the request.

"Regarding the pages in the case file that are not clear, Mugesera should have cross checked with the originals from the court but instead he claimed he did not want to bother the court. The court cannot base on this to adjourn the hearing," the judge read.

Mugesera's request for translation of the case file was also turned down by the judge on grounds that the foreign lawyers he claimed needed the translation, none of them has appeared in court.

Mugesera had said in previous hearings that he wanted to put together a team of foreign lawyers to help with his defence.

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 Tutsis.

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

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