The trial of Paul Rusesabagina and his associates on terrorism charges is coming to an end. The judges are writing their judgement and will deliver it on September 20 at 11.00 a.m. The date is known; the time precise. There is no ambiguity. It is all in the open as indeed the whole trial has been. But that has not stopped its denunciation by an alliance of terror apologists and racists, Rusesabagina’s image builders, Rwanda haters and President Kagame bashers and demands that it be stopped and their man released. Theirs can only be described as a campaign to subvert the cause and course of justice. They have tried threats and intimidation to abort the trial. Some of this included calls for cut in aid. Rwandans and the world were reminded that the country survives on the mercy of taxpayers in the west. It didn’t work. Rwandans and their partners were unmoved by the argument. They flashed the superiority card. Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen and US resident. So what? Rwandans asked, clearly unimpressed. He is Rwandan too and even if he weren’t, he has plotted against this country and committed crimes against Rwandans and on Rwandan soil. Throughout the trial, they tried to shape and control the narrative in order to abort the proceedings or influence the outcome. They portrayed Rusesabagina as a hero, humanitarian activist, stalwart against dictatorship and fierce critic of Kagame. They presented him as a legitimate political actor. That was part of a wider strategy – to frame the proceedings as a political trial and a tussle between him and President Kagame. Rwandans disagreed. We know our man and here are the facts. He is a fraud, a thief and a braggart. Worse, he is a terrorist with blood of Rwandans on his hands and has bragged about it. This is a criminal trial pure and simple. Still, the unholy alliance continues to make loud pleas to foreign leaders to lean heavily on Rwandan authorities and have him released before the case is concluded. They have gone about it in the most disrespectful and insulting manner as an article by Tom Zoeliner in The Washington Post illustrates. He calls a legally constituted court, presided over by qualified, well-trained and experienced judges a ‘sham court’. Their man is facing a ‘fake trial’, there is ‘no real evidence’. And to cap the insults and lies, ‘the judiciary is a servant of the will of President Kagame’. In contrast, the court he disparages has gone about its business in a professional, impartial manner, given all the accused a fair hearing and even bent backwards to accommodate demands courts in other jurisdictions would not consider. It does not appear to have been swayed the aspersions he has cast on it. When none of these worked, they resorted to condescension. Last week, Mr. Vincent Lurquin, a Belgian lawyer purporting to represent Rusesabagina flew into the country, went to the correctional facility where he is held and tried to talk to him. Naturally he was turned away. Undeterred, he turned up in court in full advocate’s garb ready to represent his client knowing very well that he did not have the right or authority to do so. He had entered Rwanda on a tourist visa. Mr Lurquin’s actions mean several things. He is being contemptuous. This is a small African country, once ruled by Belgium. He could well do as he pleased. Or he is being provocative, to see what Rwandan authorities will do and then use it to claim the trial was not fair. Rwandans reminded him this is Rwanda. This is a country of a people who have agaciro (dignity), where things are done in a designated manner, and arrogance and supposed superiority have no place. The Rwanda Bar Association told him to mind his manners. There is a professional etiquette and procedure to follow in these matters. You can’t flout them because you think you are very important. He had also done one of the most “unlawyerly” things – being disrespectful to his Rwandan colleagues. Lawyers are known to be courteous to each other even when viciously tearing into the other’s arguments. If Lurquin thought the matter would end with mere disapproval, he was gravely mistaken. The immigration department soon deported him for abusing his visitor’s visa and attempting to work without a valid work permit. These fellows either never learn or have a short memory, or simply do not give a damn. Mr Lurquin is not the first foreign lawyer to think he can jet in, appear in court the next moment and secure the acquittal of his client. All this after trashing the local judicial system. Eleven years ago, a certain Peter Erlinder from the United States came in the same manner – with bluster and inflated ego and blowing hot. He was invited to cool down a bit. He deflated quickly. By the time he left, he knew his place and had been disabused of his arrogance. Not much has been heard from him since. Again, these fellows, whether it is Vincent Lurquin, Tom Zoeliner, Ken Roth or others, seem to be unaware of the contradictions in their actions and their professed beliefs and sermons from their part of the world. Or, as is more likely, they are simply hypocritical and contemptuous. They constantly preach respect for the rule of law and institutions, separation of powers and non-interference by politicians in judicial matters. Now they turn around and demand that a judicial process be stopped because they fear the man they created will be convicted and their project with him at the centre come to nought. But they need not worry. A verdict will be given and their man will get justice as will survivors of his terrorist attacks. It will not be influenced by insults, intimidation and arrogance. It will be based purely on the evidence and the law. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.