Court grants extradited Genocide suspect Iyamuremye more time to prepare defence


Jean-Claude Iyamuremye appeared in court Monday morning (Nadege Imbabazi)

A Genocide suspect extradited from The Netherlands late last year, on Monday appeared before the Specialised Chamber for International Crimes at High Court for commencement of his substantive trial.

He sought more time to prepare his defence.

Jean-Claude Iyamuremye is one of the two Genocide suspects extradited to Rwanda from The Netherlands in November last year.

He is accused of having been a leader of the Interahamwe militia in Kicukiro and being an influential member of the ruling party, Mouvement révolutionnaire national pour le développement (MRND), charges he denies.

At the beginning of the proceedings, the defendant, through his lawyer Canisius Karake, pointed out certain impediments that he wanted looked into by court before the case can begin in substance.

Karake sought the invalidation of the ruling against his client by a Gacaca court held in Niboye, Kicukiro District in November 2007, on which prosecution based to build their case.

The judgement was rendered from a trial held with the suspect in absentia and the suspect said it was only fair to respect his right to present his defence.  

On this, prosecution concurred and asked for the nullification of the Gacaca ruling, but wanted it on record that they didn’t agree with the defendant’s claim that the ruling was illegal.

Subsequently, Iyamuremye told court that there are documents he and his two lawyers had requested to the Dutch Embassy which they claimed they have not yet received, arguing that these would help during his defence.

The presiding judge, Alice Rulisa asked them to present proof of that request to court; which they did, but it could not be immediately deciphered by court since the document was written in Dutch.

She asked for the document to be translated, just like any other document that will be submitted to court in the future during this trial.

The judge subsequently ordered both parties to return to court on October 12 with all the necessary documents and ready for the case to begin in substance.

Rulisa also ordered that a week before this date, both parties present to court the list of all witnesses that they want to be heard in camera following concerns by the defendant over protection of his witnesses.

Iyamuremye, who is also known as Nzinga, was born on December 14, 1975, in the former Kicukiro Sector, Kanombe Commune which was part of the current Kicukiro District.

Back in The Netherlands where he had lived for 14 years, he worked as a taxi driver for the embassies of Israel and Finland before he was arrested and later extradited back to Rwanda.

He was extradited together with Jean-Baptiste Mugimba, another man suspected of the role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which over a million people were killed.