The military tribunal on Tuesday ordered for the release of Mamerito Nsanzimfura, the brother to embattled Rwanda Defence Force officer, Major Aimable Rugomwa, with whom he faced murder charges.
Rugomwa and his brother have been in custody since September last year and are accused of colluding to kill Theogene Mbarushimana, a teenage student who prosecution say was beaten to death from the officer’s home in Kicukiro District.
The decision to release Nsanzimfura was premised on a medical report submitted to court and which was read during the proceedings at the Nyamirambo-based tribunal, indicating that he was mentally incapacitated, thereby rendering him not fit to stand trial.
The psychological examination had been ordered by court on request by lawyers, who insisted that Nsanzimfura could not be criminally charged because of his mental disability.
Following the ruling, court immediately started the trial in substance against Rugomwa, a medical doctor who was prior to his arrest attached to Rwanda Military Hospital,Kanombe.
In its opening statement, military prosecution stated that, on September 4 last year, Rugomwa, in the company of his brother, stopped Mbarushimana who was passing by the former’s home, and started accusing him of theft.
Prosecution said that the deceased, after being battered and bloodied, was dumped on the street in front of Rugomwa’s home in Kanombe Sector, Kicukiro District and was later pronounced dead on arrival at Rwanda Military Hospital.
“Testimonies from both eyewitnesses and experts are there to attest that the boy was beaten from the suspect’s home and DNA results taken from his clothes match with the victim’s blood,” said Captain Felicien Ndaruhutse from military prosecution.
The prosecutor added that even the accused’s wife recorded a statement stating that she had tried to dissuade her husband from beating Mbarushimana but he did not heed her advice.
In his defence, Rugomwa denied the accusations, saying that he was defending his family from robbers whom he said had habitually attacked his home.
His lawyers also said that the charge against their client should be amended to involuntary manslaughter instead of premeditated murder as charged by prosecution.
The trial was adjourned to June 6 when the witnesses will testify.