Mugesera’s lawyer skips court
Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera, yesterday, appeared before the High Court to challenge a decision by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court that refused his request for a further delay of his trial.
His lawyer was absent in court without communication and during his appearance before court, Mugesera said he had expected to meet his attorney at court.
Mugesera last appeared before the Nyarugenge court on May 24, seeking a two-month delay to “thoroughly scrutinise” his 240-page case file but the court turned down his request, saying he had delayed the process long enough.
“My lawyer, Donat Mutunzi, informed me of the day I am supposed to appear in the High Court. I gave him a copy of my appeal notice to share it with relevant authorities. This indicates that he clearly knew I was supposed to appear in court, but he notified me he would be absent,” Mugesera told court.
Mugesera told the court that he would not stand trial until he gets his lawyer. This is the first time he appeared without his lawyer.
When contacted by phone, Mutunzi said; “I will not give reasons why I didn’t show up in court,” he said tersely.
Meanwhile, the prosecution led by John Bosco Mutangana complained, that despite Mugesera’s verbal submission before the lower court that he would appeal, not written submission was made.
However, the court could not go into substance of the case due to Mugesera’s lack of legal representation.
“Mugesera has the constitutional right to be represented in court; this is why court has adjourned to Monday June 11. We expect his lawyer to be available on this date, and we expect the prosecution to have got Mugesera’s written appeal application,” ruled Judge Eugene Ndagijimana.
This is the second time Mugesera, who was extradited early this year from Canada, has appealed against a decision taken by the same court.
He previously appealed against a decision ordering him to conduct his trial in Kinyarwanda, but lost.
Mugesera made an infamous speech in 1992 that allegedly played a major role in sparking the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed over a million lives.
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw