KIGALI - Genocide fugitive Leon Mugesera was, yesterday, deported from Canada after losing a last-minute court battle to stay in the North American
country, bringing to end a case that span almost two decades.
A Quebec Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the plea by the United
Nations Committee Against Torture, to stay deportation on grounds that
he would be tortured, was beyond the jurisdiction of the provincial
Justice Michel Delorme ruled that Mugesera's latest case was strictly
a matter for Federal Court, saying if he granted the suspect an
extension of his stay he would create confusion and "tribunal
shopping" in the courts.
Federal lawyers argued officials had already assessed the risk of
torture faced by Mugesera and found it to be minimal. They also said
international treaty obligations do not take precedence over Canadian
The Federal Court later turned down the last-minute appeal and the
59-year old Genocide suspect was put on the plane by Canadian
The Minister of Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, said on her
Twitter account: "Leon Mugesera's deportation, while decades past due,
is welcome news for a people committed to healing and justice."
She later added: “Leon Mugesera is now air bound for Kigali. Thank
ordinary people in Canada who saw through confusion in international
legal labyrinth and said ‘he must go’.”
Janvier Forongo, the Executive Secretary of the survivors’ umbrella
group, IBUKA, said: “We welcome this ruling, and Canada’s justice
system should be an example to other countries that still house
killers – they should deport them to the country where they committed
the horrors so that they are tried.”
On his part, Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga observed that it “was a
right decision, adding to many more taken before to prove the point
that our justice system has gained credibility and recognition.”
In a 1992 speech, Mugesera called the Tutsi “cockroaches” and “scum,”
as he encouraged the Hutus to kill them and dump them into River
Nyabarongo – a tributary of the Nile – supposedly as a short cut to
Abyssinia (Ethiopia), where he said they originated from.
Mugesera was the vice chairman of the MRND party that plunged Rwanda
into the Genocide that claimed over a million lives.
He fled to Canada to avoid prosecution, and has ever since waged a
16-year legal battle to avoid deportation.