The verdict in the trial of the 21 terror suspects, including Paul Rusesabagina, has been read and it is what every right-thinking person expected. Rusesabagina is guilty of terrorism charges and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Some might say he and his co-accused have got off lightly. His supporters will no doubt see it differently. Whatever the viewpoint, justice has been done. Crime has been punished. Rwandans know that nobody will threaten their lives and livelihoods and the security of their nation with impunity. Those that try will answer for their crimes in a court of law. As we never tire to hear, actions have consequences and, we should add, those who commit them must bear responsibility. Victims and survivors of their crimes got some justice. It may not be what they prayed for and no and no award of damages can ever be sufficient for the loss suffered. Those killed will not come back to life. The widowed and orphaned will always mourn the loss of their loved ones. But they can take comfort from the knowledge that perpetrators of those crimes have been duly punished. Justice can therefore be said to have been served. Ordinarily, the matter would end there and life return to normal. But you can be sure it will not. The supporters of Rusesabagina in his present incarnation, many of them the real makers, midwives and disseminators of this creation, will protest the verdict and sentence, and ratchet up the din they have been making throughout the trial. They will intensify demands that the so-called international community put pressure on Rwanda to release their man. If that cannot be achieved, punish the country, ironically, for upholding the rule of law. This has been the strategy of these noisemakers all along, politicising the case, drawing in other countries and strenuously avoiding any legal or moral aspects of the trial. They have wisely kept clear of the evidence and that will continue. They could not refute it because it is incontrovertible. Some of it was provided by the very countries they want to lean heavily on Rwanda so as to release Rusesabagina. Nor could they find fault with the witnesses, their character, credibility or knowledge of what they testified about. They also avoided the victims of the terror attacks as if they did not exist. This they did for a number of reasons. Admitting the existence of victims would be an admission of such acts by their man and therefore culpability, or at the very least, complicity. Such was to be avoided at all costs. Again, accepting that there were victims would divert attention from their man whom they want to be the centre of focus in whatever was going on. Admitting that there were victims would be proof that their rights, including the most sacred of all – life, were violated. That would destroy the profile that they had carefully constructed, of their man as a human rights activist. Rusesabagina’s defenders never mentioned the twenty co-accused. Again the reason is simple. The guilt of these others was always assumed and expected to be proved. Associating their man with him would mean the man was equally guilty. And so his defenders chose to focus attention on Rusesabagina’s artificially created role as genocide hero, human rights defender, fighter against dictatorship and victim of a vicious autocratic regime. However, in doing this and, indeed, their conduct in the whole trial, they have revealed who their man really is and reasons for their own attitudes. It appears human rights are not universal, applicable equally to all. They are only for a select few whom they deem worthy of protection. They will adopt the cause of anyone claiming (for whatever reason) to fight the government of their country. In this sense, they are actually political meddlers and saboteurs of legitimate governments. The majority of Rwandans and the victims of acts of terrorism by their adopted hero apparently have no rights worth protecting. They do not matter. They have no recognisable names, no known profile, have not been to the White House, or addressed university audiences across the United States or hobnobbed with famous people. They can safely be ignored. If anything happens to any of them, no one will know and the world will move on. Clearly, as we have seen in this trial and in other instances, human rights are not a measure of human worth we think they should be. Rather it is a weapon those with power use against those who refuse to toe their line. Aid is similarly a weapon in the same manner. All reports about the defence of Rusesabagina have always included an appeal to the so-called international community to punish President Paul Kagame and the Government of Rwanda by withdrawing aid or imposing sanctions. Rwandans have been reminded that they depend on aid from those countries and so should not do anything that displeases them. In Rwandan culture, this is despicable behaviour. You cannot remind someone and in public that they exist because of your generosity and you will take it away if they don’t do as you direct. It is simply not done. Only the most uncultured can even think of doing so. It betrays bad upbringing. Expect a lot of this kind of bad manners in the coming days. While the noisemakers have done everything to tarnish Rwanda’s image, it has actually come out shining. The judiciary has shown itself to be independent. It was not swayed by threats or other forms of intimidation from individuals, groups or organisations within and outside the country. They gave their verdict based on the evidence presented in court, the relevant laws and even precedents in other jurisdictions. Rwanda will not be bullied or distracted from its path. It will do what is right and beneficial to its citizens and demand that their rights are respected. There is going to be a lot of noise but it will change nothing because, if anyone is honest, there could not have been a fairer trial and a more just verdict and sentence for Rusesabagina. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.