Rwandan judges refuse genocide hero's bid for Belgium trial

APA - Kigali (Rwanda)

The trial in Kigali of the controversial genocide hero resumed on Friday, with judges reaffirming their competency to try Paul Rusesabagina whose bid for the case to be transferred to Belgium was rejected.

The accused had renounced his Rwandan citizenship and claimed to be Belgian in a desperate bid for the trial to be transferred to the European country.

He is one of 21 people charged with involvement in terrorism crimes and are being tried at the the High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes in Kigali

The case is being heard by judges from the High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes, but used the Supreme Court chambers which have a bigger space to accommodate all parties in the case.

Besides Rusesabagina, the group is composed of Callixte Nsabimana, also known as Sankara, and Herman Nsengimana, both of whom are successive spokespersons of FLN militia.

He claims to be a Belgian citizen who had renounced his Rwandan citizenship, and, therefore, requested to be sent back to Belgium and be tried there.

Through an outfit called MRCD and its militia wing, FLN, the group is being accused of conspiring to launch attacks on Rwandan territory in which at least nine people were killed, others maimed and property destroyed.

The terror activities were committed between 2018 and 2019.

Rusesabagina, who was arrested last year, faces nine charges namely; formation of an irregular armed group, membership of a terrorist group, financing terrorism, murder as an act of terrorism, abduction as an act of terrorism and armed robbery as an act of terrorism.

The other charges he faces are arson as an act of terrorism, attempted murder as an act of terrorism and assault and battery as an act of terrorism.

He denied all the charges.

Rusesabagina's heroic actions to save victims of the 1994 genocide were the subject of the Hotel Rwanda movie which was widely acclaimed internationally.


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