Mugesera, lawyer in cash row
Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera yesterday accused his former lawyer, Donat Mutunzi, of confiscating his entire dossier.
Mugesera made the accusation as he appeared before High Court to challenge a decision by the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court which ruled that he be remanded in prison.
In the middle of his appeal, Mugesera, who for the first time appeared wearing the pink attire normally worn by prisoners, calmly told court that he feels handicapped without the 240-page case file since it was confiscated by his former lawyer, Mutunzi.
“I am seeking consultation regarding the behaviour of my former attorney, first he disappeared without informing neither me, the judge nor the prosecution that he wouldn’t appear in court, then he took my dossier,” said Mugesera.
When contacted on phone, Mutunzi confirmed that indeed he has Mugesera’s documents.
“Mugesera was supposed to pay me before I started defending him which he didn’t. I represented him in court for a while and when he couldn’t pay me, I confiscated his case file. I told his current lawyer that if he wants the file, he should bring my money and I give it to him,” said Mutunzi.
It is not clear how much Mugesera owes Mutunzi but the former had earlier alleged that he terminated the counsel’s due to poor performance.
The case between the two is now being handled by the Kigali Bar Association.
Meanwhile, during the appeal, Mugesera again asked for the Canada file and accused prosecution of not giving him necessary time to study his file but prosecution, led by Jean Bosco Mutangana, challenged this.
“You claim we have been having your dossier for three months but you are wrong, your dossier has been around since 1992 when you gave the hate speech at Kabaya. The former government had also started to investigate you,” Mutangana said in Court.
Mugesera, a former lecturer, is mainly accused of having given an incendiary speech in 1992, which prosecution insist was critical in inciting the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He was deported from Canada in January this year after he lost an almost two-decade legal battle as against deportation.
During the hearing yesterday, the Prosecutor said that the Canadian file Mugesera was asking for doesn’t exist and won’t be referred to in the trial.
“Mugesera should remember that he was deported, not extradited, and he wasn’t accompanied by a dossier. The file we gave the court is the same file we gave him and it’s what we will use in the trial, the Canadian dossier will not be referred to,” said Mutangana.
The High Court is set to pass the ruling on Mugesera’s appeal on Friday July 20.
Mugesera, a linguist, allegedly called Tutsis “cockroaches” and “scum,” and encouraged Hutus to kill them.
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw