Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda: Mugesera Given Two Months to Prepare for Trial

Photo: T. Kisambira/ The New Times
Leo Mugesera, far right, speaking to his lawyers in court.

The High Court yesterday granted Leon Mugesera two more months to go through a file he recently received from Canada to prepare for his trial in substance. Mugesera and his lawyer had on Monday requested the court to postpone the proceedings.

Presiding Judge Athanase Bakunduzanye granted the two months to Mugesera to study the 40,000-page file, saying that the four days since he received it were insufficient.

Mugesera's lawyer Jean Felix Rudakemwa however told journalists that even two months are not sufficient, pointing out that they had on Monday suggested six months.

Alain Mukurarinda, the spokesperson of the National Public Prosecution Authority, for his part said that they accept the decision, though they had asked the judge to reject Mugesera's request. "We respect decisions taken by judges," Mukurarinda said. "It's right that all sides should go on with a case when they are ready to defend themselves."

The court however rejected Mugesera's request to have his dossier translated from Kinyarwanda into languages used by some members of his defense team from Kenya, Canada and USA. The court said that it had been decided the trial will be held in Kinyarwanda and that so far no one has failed to follow the hearings due to language barriers.

The court also rejected the request to wait for some more documents from ICTR and Canada since they are mentioned nowhere in his dossier.

The trial in substance will resume on November 19.

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