Karongozi made these comments on October 12, 2023, during the trial of the two suspects at the Court of Assise in Belgium. Pierre Basabose was notably absent from the proceedings due to health issues, similar to the trial’s opening day on Monday.
In a confrontational tone, Flamme expressed his disbelief in the events that transpired in Rwanda and labeled them as fabricated facts, attributing the turmoil to the RPF Inkotanyi.
He further claimed that four genocides had occurred in Rwanda, citing the Genocide against the Tutsi, ’Genocide against the Hutu’, ’Genocide against the Twa’, and ’another targeting people from the Democratic Republic of Congo’.
The presiding judges swiftly interrupted Flamme, arguing that his statements were veering off-topic and delving into an attack on Rwanda’s leadership rather than focusing on his clients’ defense.
In an interview with IGIHE, Lawyer Karongozi raised concerns about Basabose’s mental health conditions and the apparent inconsistency in his request to be represented while also claiming to be unable to stand trial due to illness. Karongozi emphasized that defending the suspects should not imply assuming responsibility for the actions they are accused of committing.
Karongozi further pointed out that Flamme’s statements do not reflect the views of his client, Basabose. He voiced his suspicions about whether Flamme’s beliefs aligned with his statements, as they appeared to be a form of genocide denial.
"This becomes the sixth trial handled by Belgium involving suspects accused of a role in the Genocide against the Tutsi, underlining the country’s commitment to pursuing and prosecuting individuals associated with this tragic event. Though not the primary architects, Basabose and Twahirwa played significant roles in the Genocide against the Tutsi," Karongozi stated.
He also called for heightened measures to combat genocide denial, which he noted was manifesting in various forms.
François Kayijuka, an observer following the trial, expressed his reservations about Flamme’s conduct, particularly his attempt to attribute blame to RPF Inkotanyi, yet it is credited with halting the Genocide.
Kayijuka remarked, "Flamme seems unwilling to acknowledge that the Genocide was perpetrated against the Tutsi; instead, he refers to it as a Genocide against Rwandans. His assertion that there were four genocides in Rwanda appeared to trigger frustration among judges and others present, not just among Rwandans."
Furthermore, Kayijuka questioned Flamme’s motives, suggesting that the defense lawyer was propagating Genocide ideology rather than genuinely representing the defendants.
Both Basabose and Twahirwa are facing charges related to genocide and war crimes, with Twahirwa additionally accused of rape. The trial is expected to continue from October 9 to December 8.