MRCD-FLN trial to proceed in Rusesabagina’s absentia, court rules

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 24 March, 2021 20:57:45PM
MRCD-FLN trial to proceed in Rusesabagina’s absentia, court rules

The High Court Special Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes on Wednesday, March 24, resolved that the case involving 21 terror suspects linked to MRCD and its military wing FLN continues despite Paul Rusesabagina’s absence.

Rusesabagina, one of the accused, was the sole suspect that did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. 

The court heard that, according to a letter by the Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS), Rusesabagina explained to RCS that he intentionally decided not to show up in court, adding that it will continue to be the case as long as the case is tried by the same court.

The letter also says that the absence is linked to the decision taken by court on March 12 to reject Rusesabagina’s request to push the trial to six months. 

Commenting on the accused’s statement, prosecution said that his absence should not put the case on hold, because it is the defendant’s right to be present in court or not.

Prosecution argued that there were various precedent cases in which the court tried the accused in absentia.

Announcing the verdict, the court heard that though it is important that the accused be present in court, it is also their right to not to be present when they choose not to.

It was ruled that the trial should proceed because Rusesabagina was informed about today’s hearing and did not provide a tangible reason for not attending.

Meanwhile, the court said that as long as the case is still open, the accused will be informed about dates of every hearing, their respective proceedings, and will be allowed to attend whenever he wants to.

All the 21 individuals involved in the case are accused of crimes related to terrorism, following terror attacks that took place in south-western Rwanda between 2018 and 2019 and claimed nine lives.

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