Rwandan genocide suspect skips court

One of Rwanda’s top genocide suspects, Bernard Munyagishari declared that he will not appear in court for unspecified period of time, according to a letter he wrote to the Rwandan Supreme Court in the capital Kigali this week.

The former leader in the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND)-Gisenyi town, had been scheduled to appear before court this Monday, but did not show up, prompting the prosecution side to proceed with the case trial in the absence of the accused.

In a letter to the Supreme Court judges, Munyagishari notified court that he would not appear in court until his plight in the case trial is resolved by the justice sector.

But the letter did not indicate whether there was any specific time he plans to return to court. Under the law (penal code article 167), court can proceed with the case even without the suspect.

Basing on this, the court resolved that the trial should proceed as planned. This is not the first time that the suspect is seeking to delay court proceedings, after he recently told court that he was not a Rwandan but a Congolese national and doesn’t deserve to be tried in Rwanda.
The suspect has also declined the defense lawyer that was appointed by the justice system to represent him and court at one moment resolved to proceed without his defense lawyer.
Munyagishari has since 2013 been on trial for genocide crimes and is accused of allegedly planning and organizing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, conspiracy in Genocide, rape and crimes against humanity- charges he denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Munyagishari was arrested in May 2011 in DR Congo, following an arrest warrant issued by the ICTR, and later held at the Arusha-based Court cells. He was transferred to Rwanda in 2016 after the ICTR approved his case transfer. Skip