Bernard Mangain and Lef Forster are lawyers defending Gen. Sam Kanyemera and Lt. Col. Rose Kabuye and Jacob Tumusiime against indictments and arrest warrants issued by Jean Louis Bruguière, a French judge, in 2006. The two senior officers are part of the nine others who are on Bruguire’s arrest list.
The lawyers have tried to engage the French judicial institutions to accord their clients the right to be heard, to no avail. Instead, they are being denied access to the indictment dossiers upon which Bruguire based to issue international arrest warrants.
Now, if this is not blatant unfairness for an institution like the judiciary that is supposed to give people a fair hearing, then one questions the veracity of the accusations, the accuser and the process itself that was used to indict, and also to try the accused when the judges, in their own sweet time, deign to start proceedings.
Given such circumstances, one will agree with Minister of Justice and Attorney General when he says that the warrants do not have value and should therefore be scrapped.
It is easy to see that there are other considerations besides seeking the truth about the officers’ alleged involvement in downing Juvenal Habyarimana’s presidential plane.
The Rwandan leadership is determined to deal judicially with everyone and everything that is thrown at it regarding its conduct in putting down the gruesome massacres of 1994, however far-fetched and untrue the allegations might be.
So, the people who make the allegations should stand up and be counted, instead of hiding under some protective garments of powerful countries like France.
France, and Belgium where other officers like Generals Jack Nziza and Charles Kayonga filed their defences, should play by the rules of the game – a tall order, seeing that the very process of indictment did not consider such rules anyway. Rwanda will continue following the judicial path even when its officers are greatly inconvenienced in performing their duties.