(English) RWANDA: INGABIRE TRIAL: DEFENCE “CROSS-EXAMINATION” AFTER REHEARSALS

Kigali 10th November 2011

After a one week postponement to allow the prosecutor’s «witnesses» to review the “cross-examination” on pre-submitted questionnaire, the show resumed today in Kigali Court. The judges are now pushing for a speedy process in order to wrap the case as soon as possible. This leaves a big question: can really the Rwandan justice handle international criminal cases? According to the presiding judge and the Prosecutors, cross-examination is not allowed in Rwanda.The opposition leader political trial continues to attract much attention of the public, the media and key diplomats. His Excellency Ben Llewellyn-Jones, the British High Commissioner and the Embassy political Affairs councillor spent some time today following the debates in the courtroom.

Suspect Tharcisse Nditurende responded to some defence questions relating to the charges of Complicity in acts of terrorism (arts. 21(3°), 75 and 76, Law N° 45/2008 of 9/9/2008); Attempted attacks on the established powers and constitutional principles by terrorism or armed force (arts. 164, 21, 22 and 24 of the Penal Code, Law N° 21/1977 of 18/08/1977); recruitment into an armed force. The exercise will continue tomorrow.

Though he got a whole week and the necessary assistance to prepare his answers, he surprised the audience when he confessed that he never knew the names used by his courier to Kinshasa allegedly to meet with Madame Victoire Ingabire. This complicates the whole tracking of their travel data. A part from their stories and a visibly made up script there is no other evidence that the real witness KARUTA travelled to Kinshasa that time. The suspect stated that he never received the oral mission report and that it was extremely dangerous to carry written documents. He forgot that, immediately upon the arrest of the political leader Madame Victoire Ingabire, the prosecutor fooled the opinion that the arrest was prompted by the evidence found in a bunch of written documents seized on suspect Vital UWUMUREMYI when he was fleeing back to the DRC.

According to Barrister Iain Edwards, the co-accuseds never met face-to-face the key defendant during their adventures in the Congo. «Their trips to Kinshasa or elsewhere, if they really occurred, have no direct link to my client. Nothing shows they actually had an agenda to meet or do any business together».

Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President
FDU-Inkingi

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