Rwanda: Rusesabagina - Victims Await Justice as Court Makes Ruling

20 September 2021

The High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes will today read its verdict of a case involving Paul Rusesabagina and other 20 suspects linked to MRCD and its military wing, FLN.

The trial in which all the suspects face terrorism-related charges has been ongoing for the past seven months.

The terror group's alleged acts claimed a total of nine innocent lives, left more injured and looted property in the Southern Province of Rwanda.

Particularly, Rusesabagina who is the political figurehead is being charged with nine terrorism-related charges. Prosecution is seeking a life sentence for him.

The 67-year-old is reportedly likely expected to be absent in the verdict hearing, as he continues to boycott the trial.

What are the charges?

Rusesabagina is faced with 9 counts, including forming an illegal armed group, financing terror activities, murder as an act of terror, kidnap as an act of terror, arson as an act of terror, among others.

The first major attack was carried out in Nyabimata, Nyaruguru District. Here, two people were killed on the spot, while a third victim succumbed to gunshot wounds later.

The second one targeted public transport along the Kigali-Rusizi highway, where the FLN assailants ambushed at least three buses, killing at least six passengers in the Nyungwe forest.

In previous hearings, Rusesabagina denied involvement in the rebel attacks, although he founded the opposition group, the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), that prides the FLN as its armed wing-based in eastern DR Congo.

More recently, however, new court-based evidence revealed that he had used WhatsApp to coordinate arm deals for terror attacks.

Rusesabagina is charged alongside 20 other members of the FLN rebel group.

Besides Rusesabagina, the group is composed of Callixte Nsabimana, also known as Sankara, and Herman Nsengimana, both of whom are successive spokespersons of FLN militia group.

Angelina Mukandutiye is also among the accused, being the sole woman in the group.

She faces the charge of being a member of a terrorist group returned to Rwanda after an offensive by the national army of DR Congo routed FLN and other fighters out of their positions in the eastern part of the country.

Alice Kayitesi, a survivor of the Nyungwe attacks.

Lawyer Ndutiye whose car was burnt in Nyungwe attacks.

Vincent Nsengiyumva, former Nyabimata Executive Secretary.

Vianney Bwimba, a survivor.

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