Rwandan Genocide Suspect pleads not guilty

Genocide Suspect Mugesera

Genocide Suspect Leon Mugesera

Dr. Leon Mugesera has denied charges of playing a central role in the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, Prosecution alleges Mugesera incited the masses to kill Tutsis.

Mugesera is accused of being one of the representatives of “Hutu Power” an extremist Hutu movement founded by relatives of former President Juvenal Habyarimana, and masterminded widespread purge of Tutsis.

On 22 November 1992, whilst he was Vice-President of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) in Gisenyi Prefecture, Mugesera allegedly gave a speech before 1,000 people in Kabaya in the western province, in which he threatened that Tutsi, would be forcefully returned to Ethiopia (their ‘origin’)

Prosecution charges Mugesera notoriously called for the massive killing of Inyenzi (derogatory term for Tutsi).

While appearing in court today, Mugesera denied the statements had no role in genocide saying that he was only making remarks to common Rwandans at the public gathering.

Since his extradition from Canada and subsequent commencement of his trial in 2012, Mugesera has been playing hardball with the court.

The suspect has at several times claimed he doesn’t speak Kinyarwanda for example, he cannot be tried in Kinyarwanda- his mother tongue in which he made the above statements, and opted that the case be tried in French

Mugesera is facing five charges of Genocide-related crimes: inciting masses to partake in Genocide, planning and preparing the Genocide, conspiracy in the crime of Genocide, torture as a crime against mankind, and inciting hatred among people.

Mugesera is considered to be one of the senior politicians responsible for planning the genocide.