The suspects are segmented into two groups mainly the group comprising of 25 led by Rtd Major Mudathiru Habib (a former RDF soldier) facing charges including formation and being part of an irregular armed group or joining it, conspiracy against the established Government or the President of the Republic, maintaining relations with a foreign government with the intent to wage a war and formation of or joining a criminal group.
They were captured last year in terrorism activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), as part of an intensified campaign by the Congolese military against militia groups operating in the country. The 25 suspects were extradited to on 18th June 2019. Another suspect connected to the case is Pte a Jean Bosco Ruhinda who escaped to DRC forests. He is tried in absentia because he has not yet been captured.
Another group connected to the case includes Corporal Viateurv, Corporal Jean Bosco Dusabimana and Private Champagnat Igitego led by Pte Dieudonné Muhire.
They are accused along with two civilians Pacifique Muhire and Richard Nzafashwanimana.
The group is accused of escaping the military, conspiracy against the Government or intending to overthrowing it by means of war or other powers, formation of a criminal group and subsequently seducing new recruits, and taking part of terror group’s activities.
The 31 co-accused were present in court except Private Ruhinda tried in absentia.
Prosecutor Capt Jacques Rugamba has requested the Military High Court to accept the request of the prosecution based on provided evidences.
He also requested the court to consider 10-year sentence separately for the crime of joining irregular armed group.
“We seek ten-year sentence for 30 of 32 suspects excluding Major Rtd Habib Mudathiru and Pte Muhire Dieudonne. They particularly conspired with founders of the armed group because Mudathiru was involved in recruitment for P5 and training recruits how they would plot a war against the Government of Rwanda. We request 15-year sentence for him and Pte Muhire Dieudonne,” he said.
On the accusation of maintaining relations with a foreign government with the intent to wage a war and formation of or joining a criminal group, the prosecution sought 25-year sentence for suspects in the group led by Mudathiru.
On the accusation of forming a criminal group, the prosecution requested 10-year sentence for all the 32 suspects.
The prosecution also sought 20-year sentence for all the 32 suspects over terror activities.
On the charge of conspiracy against the established Government, the prosecution requested life sentence for each of the 32 suspects.
Pte Champagnat Igitego also faces genocide ideology charge for which the prosecution demanded 7-year sentence and Rwf 1 million fines.
On the accusation of escaping the military, the prosecution requested 2-year sentence for Pte Muhire Dieudonne and Pte Ruhinda.
“Finally, we request the Military High court to consider the article 61 and 62 of the penal code determining crimes and punishments, and approve the presence of a coordinated terror activities. Thus, the court should hand the heaviest punishment to all the 32 suspects, life sentence to everyone,” stated the prosecutor.
The prosecutor, however, told the court to consider that Muhire Pacifique facilitated processes by admitting and apologizing for all crimes which should be taken into account while making the judgment.
The prosecutor explained that heavier punishments determined by laws would leave a lesson to those seeking to join terror groups intending to destabilize Rwanda’s security.
Following the request for life sentence, suspects requested the court to alleviate their punishments and apologized to the Government and Rwandans.
The hearing is expected to be concluded on tomorrow when the court will announce dates for reading the ruling.