Saturday, 12 May 2012

Rwanda : Léon Mugesera asks court for more time

Rwandan genocide suspect, Léon Mugesera, this May 9, 2012, put prosecution and lawyers in a tight debate on whether he should be granted more to time to prepare for his case ahead of the preliminary trail on five genocide counts.
Through his lawyer, Donath Mutunzi, Mugesera told Nyarugenge Intermediate Court, that he has health problems to deal with and has not had time to comprehend the case files (dossier), thus asking for additional time of one more month to prepare his case.
Mugesera also said that he needs to be in good health in order to appear before trail; however government prosecutor, Ndibwami Rugambwa said that the doctor assigned to the accused has handed in a report that shows that Mugesera is in good health.
Rugambwa said that the Mugesera’s case is being delayed for not good reason and yet it is supposed to follow that convention signed between the Rwandan and Canadian government. Rugambwa said that the delays have been caused by Mugesera giving lame excuses for not appearing in court for over seven time despite the fact that he has been summoned to court in vain.
Dressed in his red shirt and grey suit, Mugesera pleaded with the court to have his requests considered. He said: “I would like to deal with the health problem so that I have a sound mind in order to stand before trial, when the time comes. For now, I feel unable to proceed to the next step unless I deal with my health issues
Prosecutor Rugambwa however urged court to overrule the request and proceed to the next level, since the accused is still under provisional detention, and that all the requests he had made earlier on had been granted to him.
“The accused is still on provisional detention and the case is supposed, by now, to have moved on to trial” Rugambwa said “In the beginning, Mugesera asked for two months…on grounds that he needed to get his own choice of lawyers and time to study the case, and that was granted. Prosection is convinced that there is no reason for asking more time since court has adhered to all his requests from day one”.
Mugesera’s lawyer (Mutunzi) responded that the case should not proceed if the client is not in good health. “It is not a trial for the sake of keeping time. My client was only summoned twice not seven or ten times as claimed. The dossier wasn’t given to him early in order to study it and delays are not his own causes in his own making.
“What we want is more time for him to study the case so that he can prepare the case and come in front of the court to be tried with full knowledge of the case”. This is because he wasn’t given the dossier in the first place and that is the same problem he raised earlier on during the first appearance”
Court Judge Saudah Murererehe said that the case will be reheard this Friday May 11, 2012 at 3pm.


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