A Rwandan High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes has found Paul Rusesabagina, a former hotel manager who told a story that inspired the Hollywood film about the 1994 genocide, guilty of terrorism-related charges that were levelled against him and his co-accused.
Pronouncing the ruling today, judge Beatrice Mukamurenzi said the accused “should be found guilty for being part of this terror group – MRCD-FLN. They attacked people in their homes, or even in their cars on the road travelling.”
Among the charges that Rusesabagina and his co-accused were answering include murder and armed robbery relate to a series of attacks carried out by an armed group called National Liberation Front (FLN) in southwestern Rwanda between June and December 2018.
About nine civilians were killed in those attacks and several people wounded including damaging and looting property. The FLN is the military wing of the Mouvement Rwandais pour le Changement Democratique (MRCD), which Rusesabagina co-chairs. In a September 2020 hearing, Rusesabagina admitted to being involved in setting up the MRCD-FLN.
However, during this trial, he denied all the charges that were levelled against him.
Prior to the ruling, one of her daughters, Carine Rusesabagina Kanimba, estimated that the Rwandan Court was going to find his father guilty and called upon the international community to intervene.
Rusesabagina’s case attracted international attention following circumstances of his arrest. Rusesabagina left Rwanda in 1996 and acquired Belgium citizenship. He was arrested in August last year after being abducted in Dubai. He was reportedly kidnapped from Dubai by Rwandan agents who tricked him into boarding a private plane, a development which was confirmed by Rwanda’s former Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, who said the Rwandan government had paid for the flight that brought Rusesabagina to Rwanda.
Author: Zola Nyirenda
Editor: Innocent Ian Marshal