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Rwanda: High Court Dismisses Appeal by Genocide Suspect Ntaganzwa

High Court yesterday rejected the appeal by Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa’s and upheld a lower court ruling remanding him for 30 days pending conclusion of investigations by prosecution.

Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa still in serious detention.

Ntaganzwa, 54, who was extradited from the Democratic Republic of Congo in late March, had appealed the decision to remand him which was made by Nyarugunga Primary Court, faulting the court’s competence to take his plea.

The former Mayor of Nyakizu, through his lawyer, Laurent Bugabo had equally appealed the earlier decision saying his trial should follow legal provisions as stipulated in the protocols governing Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT).

Ntaganzwa, who was arrested on a warrant by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has been since replaced by the mechanism, is supposed to be tried under the special provisions on the referral of cases from international jurisdictions.

Pronouncing the verdict on the appeal, the presiding judge at High Court yesterday told the suspect that after thorough scrutiny, the court has found his reasons of appeal unjustified hence denying him bail and upholding earlier decision.

Quoting a series of legal provisions from the law governing criminal procedure, the judge confirmed that the lower court has competence to take his plea, because this can be done at any nearby court, unlike the substantive trial.

In this case, Nyarugunga was chosen because his arrest was technically made at the Kigali International Airport, after his deportation and the airport is in the precincts of that court.

During the Genocide, Ntaganzwa is alleged to have been at helm of organizing and coordinating large scale killings of Tutsis who were residing in his home area and others who had fled from the neighbouring districts.

He is mainly accused of personally commanding a mob that included Burundian refugees which killed over 20,000 Tutsi in his former commune.

Ntaganzwa equally stands accused of ordering repetitive and collective rape and other sexual assaults against women in his district, while others were held hostage for over two months.

He was one among the nine Genocide masterminds indicted earlier by the ICTR, which closed last year and he was under the US-backed Reward for Justice Programme where a bounty of $5 million had been put on his head.

The list of most wanted 1994 Rwanda’s Genocide suspects.

By Robert Muriisa, sources.

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