Rtd Major Mudathiru expresses remorse, apologizes

On 8 December 2020 at 03:30

Rtd Major Mudathiru accused of working with terror groups intending to threaten Rwanda’s security has appeared in Military High Court in Kanombe during the last hearing where he apologized for his acts and requested lessened punishment.

Mudathiru is part of 32 people accused of working with terror groups including P5 and FLN.

During the previous hearing, the prosecution requested the court to consider provided evidences pinning the suspects to give them heaviest punishments granted by laws.

The Military prosecution separately requested punishments for each charge and overall, sought life sentence for all suspects on ground of involvement in coordinated activities.

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 yesterday present in court except Private Ruhinda tried in absentia.

As they appeared at Military High Court for the final hearing of the case that opened last year, Mudathiru told the court he was part of soldiers raiding Rwanda on 1st October 1990 during the liberation war. Mudathiru was at the rank of Sergeant got from Uganda’s military he had joined in 1981.

Mudathiru later held different positions including appointment as a military instructor until 2005 when he was promoted to the rank of major.

In 2009, Mudathiru was arrested for issuing unguaranteed cheque but later won the case.

He returned to work, reintegrated in National Police and retired in 2013 when Mudathiru requested authorization to join his family in Uganda. That’s when RNC lured him until he joined and arrested.

Admitting three of five charges

Mudathiru admitted three charges namely’ joining illegal armed group, bad intentions against the Government and maintaining relations with a foreign government with the intent to wage a war.

He however denied charges pinning him to the foundation of the armed group and terror activities.

“I admit the three charges only and apologize for that,” said Mudathiru.

He admitted to have facilitated trainings but denied involvement in recruitment processes.

Mudathiru expressed gratefulness to Rwanda for the support he received since arrest including treatment for wounds inflicted in DRC forests, diabetes and blood pressure.

Among others, he thanked the court for granting them freedom of expression during different hearings, apologized to the President of the Republic and all Rwandans.

Considering humane treatment in Rwanda despite his accusations, Mudathiru expressed remorse for his acts.

“I admit what happened and apologize to the country. Rwanda is our parent. Honorable judge, have mercy on me as you make rulings. I am apologizing from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

Mudathiru requested lessened penalties committing to respect the laws after pardon and return to normal life.

Ildephonse Rusigariye also sought forgiveness expressing commitment to be a good and exemplary citizen in the community. He explained that he was seduced for a job but ended up finding himself in a terror group.

Jean de Dieu Ndirahira, a Burundian held for involvement in activities intended to destabilize Rwanda’s security appreciated kind treatment in Rwanda and requested the court to consider his innocence citing that he was abducted in Burundi’s market by Kinyarwanda speaking people.

A Ugandan, Desideriyo Fred who is among arrested terror suspects said he willingly reported himself to DRC security before they were handed to Rwanda.

The Defense Lawyer of the suspects, Rwagasore requested the court to acquit his clients proposing an alternative of keeping them in a camp as they await reintegration to normal life.

The Presiding Judge, Lt Col Bernard Rugamba Hategekimana declared end of the hearing and announced ruling schedule on 15th January 2021.

Judge Lt Col Rugamba has been attending to the case along with two colleagues namely; Major Charles Sumanyi and Maj Narcisse Cyubahiro Nsengiyumva.

Staff Sergeant Sylvain Mutabaruka was the secretary while prosecutors include Major Dennis and Captain Rugamba Jacques.

Mudathiru requested lessened penalties committing to respect the laws after pardon and return to normal life.