12 December 2018

Rwanda: Prosecution to Appeal Rwigara Ruling

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/ New Times
Diane Rwigara (second right), her mother Adeline Rwigara and their lawyers Gatera Gashabana (left) and Pierre Celestin Buhuru in a Kigali courtroom on November 7, 2018.

The National Public Prosecution Agency (NPPA) says that it will appeal against the acquittal of Diane Shima Rwigara and her mother; Adeline Mukangemanyi Rwigara.

Last week, the High Court returned a not guilty verdict on all charges against the duo, citing insufficient evidence tabled by prosecution.

READ ALSO: Why the Rwigaras were acquitted

The duo alongside four others, who were tried in absentia, was accused of inciting insurrection among the population, discrimination and sectarian practices while Diane Rwigara faced separate forgery related charges.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Jean Bosco Mutangana, the Prosecutor General, told journalists that his office was not satisfied with the High Court ruling.

"I believe prosecution has enough evidence to prove the criminality of the duo, which was disregarded by High Court and I can confirm that we have read the full judgement and we will be appealing because we are still within the 30 days set by the law to appeal," he said.

The appeal will in this case be lodged at the recently created Appeals Court.

Asked if he was not concerned over the political tone the trial may lead to, Mutangana said that his job is to make sure a judicial process takes its full course.

"Whether this will take a political tone or not, that is for someone else to worry about. My job as a prosecutor is to put on a gown and go to court to present the evidence I have on a suspect," Mutangana said.

In a tweet posted immediately after the acquittal last week, prosecution had said they would determine their next course of action after reading the full ruling.

"There is a lot of basis for us to appeal; if the High Court decision is upheld on appeal, at least we would have closed the jurisprudential gap," he said, adding that the ruling will be used in judging other cases in the future, which is why the procedure has to be thorough.

The three-person High Court bench had last week ruled that the submissions by prosecution and the subsequent evidence presented did, to some extent pin the accused, but fell short of the beyond reasonable doubt threshold, which automatically favoured the accused.

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