Five RDF soldiers in rape case denied bail

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 14 May 2020 at 10:24

The Military Tribunal, on 13th May 2020, remanded for 30 days the five Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers and a civilian charged on seven counts including rape and assault. They allegedly committed the offenses in March 2020.

The soldiers, Privates-Patrick Ndayishimiye, Fidele Nishimwe, François Gatete, John Gahirwa, and Theoneste Twagirimana, are accused of committing several acts of aggression against citizens of Kangondo 2 village, Nyarutarama cell in Remera sector, Gasabo District in the month of March this year.

Military Prosecution said that the alleged crimes were committed on separate occasions and there is evidence from victims’ testimony that the crimes were committed and so asked court to remand the suspects pending an in-depth investigation before trial hearings.

The defense lawyer, Moses Sebudandi argued during the earlier hearing, on Monday, that there was no sufficient evidence that the crimes were committed and the allegations leveled on his clients were not based on the legal provisions to suite a proper reason for detaining any of the accused.

Sebudandi, came to agree with the prosecution on testimonies collected but asked that all the suspects be released on grounds that the allegations were not sufficient to have them detained for 30 days.

The court said that there was enough reason to suspect the crimes were committed however found no sufficient evidence on one of the charges in which the suspects are accused of forming a terror group.

“Court finds no reason to suspect the accused of forming a terror group because they didn’t know each other and only met as a result of abandoning duty at their respective posts,” said Presiding Judge Major Gerald Muhigirwa.
“The six suspects, however, have five days to appeal the remand ruling,” the presiding judge advised.

All the suspects were taken for custody at a military facility pending the next appearance in 30 days, which can be extended depending on how much more evidence is needed before trial.

The Military Tribunal remanded for 30 days the five Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers and a civilian charged on seven counts including rape and assault.

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