Rusesabagina says will not return to court

On 12 March 2021 at 06:25

Paul Rusesabagina facing terrorism charges has said that he won’t return to court citing zero expectation of fair trial because ‘his rights have not been respected’.

Rusesabagina revealed this as he appeared before the High Court Special Chamber for International and Cross-border crimes.

Rusesabagina faces nine counts linked to terrorism, and he is co-accused with other 20 individuals who were allegedly involved in terror attacks that took place between 2018 and 2019 and claimed nine lives.

Rusesabagina who has been heard claiming that he was abducted has today appeared before the court requesting six months to review his dossiers. After consultations between judges, the court rejected Rusesabagina’s request saying that the trial should proceed as usual.

Following the court’s decision, Rusesabagina made his objection saying, he won’t return to court because his rights are not respected.

“I would like to tell the court and judges that my basic rights to present my objections and fair trial have not been respected. The court failed to respect that,” he said.

“As a result, I would like to tell the court that I don’t expect justice here. That is why I will not take part of this trial again,” added Rusesabagina.

Rusesabagina’s defense lawyer, Rudakemwa Félix said he has nothing to add to what his client said.

“He is my employer. So I will respect his wishes,” he explained.

Lawyer Buhuru Célestin has told IGIHE that Rusesabagina’s decision is normal but it doesn’t halt trial proceedings.

“It is the right of the accused. He can decide to keep quiet or not to return to court. However, the court still has the power to proceed with trial in absentia,” he said.

Rusesabagina might not return to court but can allow defense lawyers to represent him during further proceedings.

“He can allow his defense lawyers to represent him. The court also has power to continue the trial despite the suspect’s unwillingness to return to court,” said Buhuru.