Rwanda: Nsabimana Terror Trial Begins at Nyanza High Court Chamber

18 January 2020

The trial of Callixte Nsabimana, the former FLN spokesperson, started at the High Court Chamber for International Crimes in Nyanza, on Friday.

The hearing started with a testimony by the former executive secretary of Nyabimata Sector, Nyaruguru District, an area which was attacked by the FLN terrorists in 2018.

During the attack, people were killed, harvest stolen and property, including the official car of the sector executive secretary, burned.

The day's trial was first delayed as judges deliberated on which court is competent to try the self-proclaimed army major since prosecution in an earlier hearing had requested court to examine the competence issue claiming that a trial of similar nature was going on in the military court.

At that time, prosecution asked for time to compare Nsabimana's file with that of a one Dieudonné Muhire and a group of soldiers who deserted RDF and joined the FLN and were suspected to have taken part in the attacks that the militia orchestrated on Rwandan soil.

Prosecution's request implied that if a link was found between Nsabimana and the deserters, then they would be enjoined and tried in the same court.

This meant there was a chance of transferring Nsabimana, who is considered a civilian, to the court-martial.

However, during yesterday's hearing, it was established that there was no major connection between Nsabimana and Muhire apart from the fact that Muhire and his group had joined FLN - the same anti-Rwanda militia group for which Nsabimana was a spokesperson.

Appearing before court, according to local news website, Vincent Nsengiyumva, the former executive secretary of Nyabimata gave an account of the attack.

He petitioned court to compel Nsabimana to pay for the former's car that was burnt by the militia during the attack.

Among the submissions prosecution made during the hearing was that Nsabimana was not only a spokesperson of FLN but was also one of the leaders of MRCD, an umbrella of anti-Rwanda groups led by Paul Rusesabagina and Faustin Twagiramungu.

Nsabimana earlier headed an outfit called RRM, which joined three others to form the MRCD coalition.

Prosecution said that the violent activities conducted by FLN that claimed Rwandan lives were led by Nsabimana because he was the spokesperson of the group.

Nsabimana is facing 16 charges including; formation of an illegal militia group; taking part in terrorist activities; conspiring and sensitizing people towards joining terrorism; killing; kidnapping; denying and undermining the genocide against the Tutsi, among others.

He pleaded guilty to all charges during the pre-trial hearing.

The trial is expected to continue on January 28.

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