The year 2023 witnessed several court trials that captured public attention, revolving around significant issues like crime or the need to amend laws which were argued to be “unconstitutional.” For instance, many people followed with serious attention the case of Denis Kazungu, a man who allegedly murdered a dozen people. However, there are many major court cases that came up in 2023, and in this article, The New Times presents some of them. Kazungu on trial for alleged murder of a dozen people In a story that gripped the nation, Denis Kazungu, 34, a resident of Kicukiro district in Kigali was apprehended by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) in September, suspecting him of murdering multiple people and burying them in a pit he had dug in his kitchen. ALSO READ: Serial killer’ Kazungu arraigned in court, claims killed sex workers because they infected him with HIV He was arraigned in court the same month and charged with murder, rape, torture, robbery, damage to property, forgery, desecration of human corpses, and so on. Having pleaded guilty, he was remanded, with the substantive trial scheduled for January 5, 2024. Kicukiro woman sentenced to life imprisonment for role in murder of her husband In May, the intermediate court of Nyarugenge handed a life sentence to Assoumpta Mutatsineza, a 25-year-old woman from Kicukiro district, after convicting her of playing a role in the murder of her husband, Theogene Twagirayezu. The crime was committed in November 2022 in Kabeza cell, Kicukiro district. Twagirayezu was found lifeless at his home, having been struck with a hammer and stabbed with a knife. ALSO READ: Woman sentenced to life for husband murder Mutatsineza was convicted alongside four men: Alphonse Uyisenga, Vianney Rubabaza, Evariste Ndizihiwe, and Athanase Habiryayo, who collaborated in the crime. The trial was conducted within the residential area where the crime was committed, giving an opportunity to community members to follow closely. Former minister Bamporiki sentenced to five years in prison for bribery In January, former Minister of State for Culture, Edouard Bamporiki, was sent to prison for five years, having been found guilty of bribery related crimes. This decision was issued by the High Court after appeal cases filed by the prosecutors and the accused himself. Earlier on, the intermediate court of Nyarugenge had handed him four years in jail. Bamporiki is said to have received a bribe worth Rwf 5 million from local businessman Norbert Gatera, promising to assist him reopen his alcohol factory which had been closed down by city officials because it was in a residential area. Kwa Dubai real estate investor tried for substandard houses In another notable case in May, real estate investor Jean Nsabimana, also known as Dubai, found himself in court, facing charges related to construction of substandard houses. The proprietor of Urukumbuzi real estate in Kinyinya garnered attention for the wrong reasons when a wall in one of his houses collapsed earlier in 2023. ALSO READ: Court adjourns 'Kwa Dubai' estate case to December After alot of media attention, he was apprehended alongside more individuals including former Gasabo Mayor Stephen Rwamulangwa, former Vice Mayor Raymond Chrétien Mberabahizi, former Director of One Stop Center Jeanne d’Arc Nyirabihogo, and engineer Jean-Baptiste Bizimana. They are being tried for various charges rotating around the substandard houses. The case is now on the level of trial in substance. RIB’s powers to search premises challenged in court A court case challenging the legality of Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB)'s authority to conduct searches without a court warrant was also a prominent one in 2023. In May, city lawyer Edward Murangwa approached the Supreme Court and challenged the constitutionality of the fact that investigators possess the power to carry out searches without a warrant if there exist reasonable grounds to suspect that a criminal act is taking place there or there are objects linked to a crime. ALSO READ: Supreme Court to hear petition on RIB “unconstitutional” searches Murangwa's petition sought to prompt the Supreme Court to re-evaluate the alignment of RIB's search powers with specific articles of the constitution. A search warrant is a written order permitting law enforcement officers to search a specific person or premises, typically issued by a judge or magistrate in some countries. Murangwa's primary argument revolves around the assertion that investigative searches infringe upon human rights. Therefore, he contended that the judiciary, as the entity responsible for overseeing human rights, should authorize such actions. He underscored that conducting investigative searches without a judicial warrant violates Article 43 of the Constitution, which stipulates, The Judiciary is the guardian of human rights and freedoms, exercised in accordance with this Constitution and other laws. Additionally, Murangwa referred to Article 23 of the Constitution, which safeguards individuals' homes from unwarranted intrusion, except in circumstances defined by the law. The article reads, A person's home is inviolable. No search or entry into a home shall be carried out without the consent of the owner, except in circumstances and in accordance with procedures determined by the law. The New Times understands that a decision regarding the case has not yet been published by the Supreme Court.