29 January 2013

Rwanda: Court Rejects Mugesera's Medical Report

Photo: John Mbanda/The New Times
Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera (left) with his lawyer.

The Special Chamber of the High Court has rejected a medical certificate presented by Leon Mugesera's defence lawyer on grounds that it was not authentic.

Mugesera, suspected of playing a lead role in planning the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was last year deported from Canada where he had sought refuge for close to 20 years.

His trial began in substance last week, but it was suspended due to the defendant's alleged illness.

The trial resumed on Monday and Mugesera was supposed to continue with his defence yesterday, but his lawyer, Felix Rudakemwa, presented a medical certificate indicating that a doctor had issued his client with a two-day medical leave to undergo some examinations.

However, prosecutor Jean Bosco Mutangana objected, citing questionable authenticity of the document.

"We are not contesting the fact that Mugesera might be sick, we just want his lawyer to produce an authentic medical certificate. What we have before us doesn't show where the doctor works, has no letterhead and is not approved by the prison services," Mutangana, said, "we need proof that this is a recognised doctor."

Rudakemwa was asked to respond to the prosecution.

"The doctor who issued this document is called Tegejo Muruhe and works with Muhima Hospital. He issued the medical certificate from Kigali Central Prison where Mugesera is being held. That is why this document doesn't have all the details that this court requires," said Rudakemwa.

After Rudakemwa's failure to convince the court, Judge Athanase Bakuzakundi ruled that the court will not consider the medical certificate.

"Court has decided that this trial resumes tomorrow (today)," ruled Judge Bakuzakundi.

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