21 January 2013

Rwanda: Mugesera Supplied Guns - Prosecution

Photo: T. Kisambira/ The New Times
Leo Mugesera (far right) talking to his lawyers in court (file photo).

Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera distributed guns to the youth in Kabaya sous prefecture, ahead of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, prosecution said on Friday.

The trial of Mugesera in substance opened last Thursday at the Special Chamber of the High Court.

He was charged with several counts, including inciting the masses to take part in genocide, planning and preparing the genocide, conspiracy in the crime of genocide, torture as a crime against mankind, and inciting hatred among people.

Court asked him to plead guilty or not guilty but he ignored it.

During hearing on Friday, court heard that Mugesera in his complicity to commit Genocide, distributed guns to the youth in Kabaya sous prefecture, telling them that they were a support to them and they should make good use of the guns.

The prosecution headed by Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, added that in his persecution, Mugesera used derogative language to refer to Agathe Uwiringiyimana, the former prime minister, calling her a tomboy in public.

Uwiringiyimana served as Prime Minister of Rwanda from July 18, 1993 until her death on April 7, 1994. Her term was ended when she was assassinated during the opening stages of the Genocide.

"In his speech dubbed Kabaya, he threatened other political parties, saying they shouldn't operate in Gisenyi, while they were legal parties allowed to operate in the whole country," said prosecution.

Prosecution presented to the court written evidence from individuals and the media.

In general, the witnesses mentioned much more than what the Kabaya speech contains. They said Mugesera used to go to different meetings, propagating the notion that Tutsis were not Rwandans, were to be returned to Abyssinia via Nyabarongo, that they were accomplices of Inyenzi, then rebels.

Several times, the prosecution reiterated the impact of the Kabaya and other speeches Mugesera allegedly pronounced in Muhoro parish, Gikongoro and Cyamakamba stadium in Kibungo.

Witnesses said that his speeches were always followed by killings. They cited a family of eight family members whose killing he ordered.

Newspapers like Kanguka, Kinyamateka, Rwanda Rushya, Le Tribun du People also served the prosecution's evidences where they read to the court some stories several journalists wrote referring to Mugesera as being a small minded man, because he dared to pronounce an odd speech.

Many of them wrote that he would be arrested wherever he would go.

The prosecution presented a list of 46 witnesses residing in Rwanda, whom they want the court to call on prosecution side.

They will, however, not include Thadée Ngirabatware, who was willing to offer evidence against his brother, Mugesera, but the prosecution found it not fair.

Defence has lined up 92 witnesses from Rwanda and abroad, according to Jean Felix Rudakemwa, Mugesera's advocate.

Hearing continues today with defense expected to start its submission.

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