Foreign affairs minister Dr Vincent Biruta will not be meeting his Belgian counterpart, Sophie Wilmès, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the ministry has announced. The foreign ministry announced this on Monday evening, following Wilmès comments on the ruling in the FLN terror trial involving Paul Rusesabagina, where she insinuated that the latter did not receive fair trial. Rusesabagina was handed a 25-year jail sentence after he was convicted for terror crimes linked to attacks that took place between 2018 and 2019 in which at least nine people were killed. Response to Statement by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium on the FLN verdict pic.twitter.com/5MwEP9fA6b — Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Intl Cooperation (@RwandaMFA) September 20, 2021 A statement from the foreign ministry said that Wilmès comments reflected contempt towards Rwanda’s judicial system. “For this reason, a scheduled bilateral meeting at ministerial level, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, will no longer take place. However, the Government of Rwanda remains ready to welcome to Rwanda the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium at a convenient time to continue the dialogue between the two countries,” the statement read in part. Rwanda noted that the contempt has been evident since the start of the trial despite significant contribution by Belgian institutions to the investigation of the case. The Belgian judicial system has been involved since 2019 in the investigation of the case. Following evidence gathered from statements by Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara, the Rwandan prosecution in March 2019 requested legal assistance from the Belgian judicial authorities. The assistance included a search on the houses and vehicles belonging to Paul Rusesabagina, Eric Munyemana and Marie Claire Ingabire – both top officials within FLN, and that the latter be also questioned. During the search at Rusesabagina’s place in Brussels and several items were seized, including two telephones, a computer and several documents with the purpose of obtaining different pieces of information pinning Rusesabagina on terror acts. The same documents were handed to Rwanda prosecutors by Belgian judicial authorities in May 2020, including WhatsApp conversations in which Rusesabagina discussed purchase of armed and funding terror in Rwanda. However, despite an open investigation against him, Rusesabagina left Brussels and relocated to the United States where he remained until he left for a trip ostensibly destined for Burundi, leading to his arrest. Rusesabagina himself admitted during interrogations to personally sending a total of 20,000 Euros to FLN militia, adding that he led fundraising drives that raised as much as 300,000 Euros that was sent to the group. Painful ordeal Commenting on the verdict, Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, said that the months-long trial has exposed the terrorist activities of the FLN group led by Rusesabagina and had left Rwandans feeling safer after justice had been delivered. “The trial has been a long and painful ordeal for the victims of FLN attacks, particularly for those who were called upon to testify. Our thoughts today are with these brave witnesses, and the family and friends of the victims,” she said. Rusesabagina, the founding president of MRCD was handed a 25-year jail while his assistant, Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty.