Court fines Rwandan defence attorney for forgery

The defense lawyer representing one of Rwanda’s top genocide suspects Dr. Leon Mugesera has been fined Rwf500.000 for the alleged intent to delay court proceedings in the on and off trial of his client.

At the Supreme Court Tuesday, Judges asked Lawyer Jean Felix Rudakemwa, if he was ready to defend his client for the case to proceed, but he held his ground saying that he was still sick.

“As you see me hear. I am very sick and I am not in position to do my job as a defense lawyer (to Mugesera)” Rudakemwa said.

Rudakemwa had notified court (in a letter on September 14) asking the postponement of the court appearance because was still sick, but the court rejected his request on grounds he had forged the document.

The court decision today was highly anticipated as the court could not rule on the issue in the previous hearing last week when forgery claims surfaced.

Both Rudakemwa and his client said the court fine was unfair and asked for an application to appeal the decision. The next court hearing is slated for September 21.

Prosecutors told court last week that Lawyer Jean Felix Rudakemwa, had forged a medical document by persuading his doctor to write one, while in reality he was not sick.

The doctor (names withheld) who wrote and signed the sick leave letter on September 6, for Rudakemwa said in a court statement that she was not aware of its purpose but went ahead and did what the lawyer requested.