Rwanda: ICC Nyanza to Proceed With Nsabimana's Case

17 January 2020

Former spokesperson of FLN terror outfit, Callixte Nsabimana, will continue to be tried in a civilian court, the High Court Chamber for International Crimes has ruled.

During a previous court session held in December last year, uncertainty had arisen about which court was competent to try the self-proclaimed Major after it was discovered that a trial of similar nature had was going on in the military court.

This followed a revelation by prosecution that a similar trial was in the military high court, involving a group of repatriated Rwanda Defence Force deserters who had joined FLN, the outfit which Sankara spoke for.

The FLN militia operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it is blamed for terror attacks on Rwandan territory in which people lost lives in 2018, especially in areas around Nyungwe National Park.

Both Nsabimana and the other group in the military court led by Private Dieudonne Muhire, are accused of participating in these attacks.

In the court session that took place on the 24th of December last year, prosecution asked for delay of the substantive hearing so that they can get time to compare Nsabimana's file with those of one Muhire and a group of other RDF deserters who had joined FLN.

Prosecution's request implied that if a link was found between Nsabimana and the deserters, then they would be tried in the same court. This meant there was chance of transferring Nsabimana to the court-martial.

However, in a hearing that took place Friday in the Nyanza-based court, prosecution said 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.

Therefore, prosecution said it Nsabimana does not qualify for a court martial trial because he still remains a civilian.

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.

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

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