Mugesera to foot own bill if he hires foreign lawyers
Léon Mugesera will have to dig into his own pockets if he is to have Canadian lawyers of his choice.
This was revealed yesterday by Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga.
This follows reports in Canadian media that Mugesera’s family had released a statement asking the Rwandan government to provide Mugesera financial and legal assistance necessary to enable him to pay his lawyers when his case resumes in April.
It is stated that his family also petitioned the Canadian government to send an observer to ensure that Mugesera is well treated, and that whatever “happens to him in detention, the Canadian government will be liable”.
Ngoga said that while no one has approached prosecution over the issue of an observer, the claims that something “evil” could happen to Mugesera is baseless, but in any case, an observer would be allowed if the need arises.
“Much as we have nothing to hide, the story by Mugesera’s Family about Canada sending observers is just ridiculous,” Ngoga told The New Times.
“The only arrangement under which he can get a lawyer under our resources is if he applied and arranged with the Rwandan Bar Association for a Pro Bono representation.
“If he wants his Canadian lawyers whom he says he trusts, he is free to have them with his own resources,” Ngoga said.
He added that Mugesera’s lawyers in Canada were manoeuvring through media campaigns, adding that the prosecution would fight against manoeuvres aimed at delaying Mugesera’s trial.
Mugesera Canadian defense lawyers, led by Guy Bertrand, have been quoted by several Canadian media alleging that Mugesera won’t get a fair trial, but Ngoga described the interviews as “loose talk” which he suspects are delaying tactics.
“His Canadian lawyers are failing to realise that the case is now here. It is as if they are still fighting court battles they lost long ago,” Ngoga said.
Mugesera, who was deported from Canada in January, appeared in court on February 2 where he was charged with three counts that include planning the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, inciting the public to commit Genocide and distribution of weapons.
Mugesera, a former leader of the then ruling party, MRND, in Gisenyi, is accused of giving an incendiary speech in which he incited the killing of Tutsi ‘scum’ and throwing their bodies into River Nyabarongo, a tributary of the Nile, as a shortcut to Ethiopia where, he alleged, they came from.
Contact email: edmund.kagire[at]newtimes.co.rw