Rwandan genocide suspect rejects defense team, silences prosecution

Emmanuel Mbarushimana

Emmanuel Mbarushimana

The Rwandan high court has been forced to appoint a defense team for a Rwandan high profile genocide suspect, Emmanuel Mbarushimana, who has since his extradition in 2012 failed to get a defense team.

He has also rejected the court-appointed attorneys.

The Rwandan Court Tuesday ruled Shoshi Jean Claude Bizimana and Christophe Twagirayezu take up the suspect’s case such that the long awaited trial can commence.

In May, Emmanuel Mbarushimana could not secure a defense team as he couldn’t afford legal fees.

The Suspect says since February this year, he has requested, in five separate letters, the chairman of the Rwanda Bar Association to provide a lawyer for his case, but in vain.

He has yet again rejected the two aforementioned court-appointed lawyers and asked court not to hand his case files to the two advocates. He also asked the court to order the prosecution not to askhim any questions regarding the case until he secures proper legal representation.

“I cannot allow the prosecution to ask me any questions since I don’t have a defense team. That way I would be on trial if I did,” Mbarushimana said.

The appointed defense team told local media that they are willing to pursue the Mbarushimana case in court, however it will require the suspect to trust and work with them in preparing the case files, of which he has denied them access.

The case has been postponed to the next court hearing slated for August 9, 2015.

However prosecutor, Mutangana Jean Bosco interjected telling court that the case cannot be dragged even if the suspect continues to appeal the court’s decision.

Mbarushimana is facing charges genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, murder and extermination, among others and all the crimes allegedly occurred during the 1994 Genocide.

Prosecution says the suspect committed the crimes against the Tutsi in the former regions of Kabuye, Dahwe, Gisagara, Ndora and Twarubona , in Gisagara District, Southern Province.

Mbarushimana, a former teacher, was extradited to Rwanda from Denmark in 2012 – where he had been living with his wife and four children for over 10 years.