Home Politics In court Rusesabagina confesses to creating the terrorist armed militia, FLN

In court Rusesabagina confesses to creating the terrorist armed militia, FLN

By Jean Gatera

Terror suspect Rusesabagina appeared before court to appeal his pre-trial detention, in the session confessing to having created the terror outfit, FLN

Paul Rusesabagina the recently arrested head of the terrorist organization MRCD-FLN, appeared today in Nyarugenge Intermediate Court to appeal last week’s ruling by the Kicukiro Primary Court to confine him to 30 days of pre-trial detention. Accused of 13 counts including terrorism, terrorism financing, arson and other serious crimes, the Kicukiro Court had rejected his plea for bail. In the proceedings Rusesabagina confessed to creating the FLN in addition to being a principle founder of MRCD-Ubumwe of which FLN is the military wing.

International attention has focused on Rusesabagina who gained fame due to the 2004 movie “Hotel Rwanda” which heaped accolades upon him as “a hero that saved 1268 refugees from the government forces and Interahamwe militias” – an account of events that many that were there have debunked as completely fictitious.

Rusesabagina has been turned into the focus of attention but he is not alone in the networks of terror that have killed Rwandans, as Prosecution outlined in detail during the appeal hearing.

In the application for bail Rusesabagina claimed that “he was not in command of MRCD-FLN.” He confessed that he indeed created the outfit when he said, “We created FLN”, but as justification he said: “We did it to draw the Government to the attention of the plight of refugees. We never created it to commit terrorism. I, however, do not discount the crimes committed by FLN.”

The Kicukiro Primary Court judge, where the pretrial hearing took place, had said: “Court analyzed the merits of each of the 13 charges and found that indeed there was serious incriminating evidence against Rusesabagina”. The judge then added “there are reasonable grounds to keep the suspect in custody”. That was when Presiding Judge Dorothy Yankurije ruled that Court found it necessary that the suspect be confined to a 30-day period of provisional detention, given the preponderance of the evidence.

In the appeal against the ruling, Rusesabagina’s advocates Emeline Nyembo and David Rugaza took a different approach. They opted to deny Rusesabagina’s leadership and command of MRCD-FLN. They also attempted to distance him from the MRCD online radio Ubumwe. “We raised an issue of responsibilities within MRCD but court never pronounced itself on it. My client didn’t head this outfit”, said one of his lawyers.

“The MoU (of the founding of FLN) named five key activities we were to embark on including forming an armed group. The armed group was under the ambit of CNRD (another terrorist group), led by ‘Gen.’ Wilson Irategeka,” Rusesabagina said. “My docket was diplomacy and we operated independently.” He also tried to distance himself from MRCD’s online radio saying, “about Ubumwe Radio I cannot be held accountable for pronouncements by presenters,” he said, adding, “the radio is for MRCD and not Rusesabagina’s”.

Prosecution, however, presented what has been described as “overwhelming evidence” tying Rusesabagina to every terrorist activity by MRCD-FLN. MRCD-FLN launched several attacks on civilians in the southern province of Rwanda.

It openly claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Ubumwe Youtube channel in interviews with Callixte Nsabimana, who was the outfit’s “second vice president”.

Nsabimana, a self-proclaimed “Major” and also the group’s Spokesperson, who is also in custody on terrorism charges, now is insisting that he be tried concurrently with Rusesabagina, whom he calls “my boss.” Nsabimana, who was arrested from the Comoros earlier last year was well known for repeatedly claiming FLN responsibility for attacks in Nyungwe on Facebook and YouTube. Using the same platform (YouTube) Rusesabagina as president of MRCD and FLN also regularly rallied for support, financing and recruitment for these groups’ terrorist activities.

After Callixte Nsabimana was arrested, Rusesabagina in April 2019 went on MRCD’s online radio to announce that “all efforts were being deployed ‘to secure their second vice president’s release.’”

After Callixte Nsabimana was arrested, Rusesabagina in April 2019 went on MRCD’s online radio to announce that “all efforts were being deployed ‘to secure their second vice president’s release.’”

Rusesabagina’s loyalty to his accomplice only changed when the latter pleaded guilty to all charges (including terrorism) and asked for clemency claiming he had been fooled and indoctrinated by his leadership, including Rusesabagina.

Now with Rusesabagina behind bars Nsabimana wants Rusesabagina’s case to be merged with his. “Rusesabagina cannot distance himself from FLN and it’s activities,” Prosecution charged during the appeal hearing. “Between 2017 and 2019 he was the president of MRCD. All the atrocities committed in Rwanda were during the tenure of his leadership,” Prosecution charged while reminding Court that the case still was a pre-trial and not on substantive material of the alleged crimes. The prosecutor, however, recalled that lives were lost and families destroyed in FLN’s terrorist outrages. He said this while dismissing application for cash bail for the suspect, wondering what monetary value could be placed of the lives lost.

To the defense plea that Rusesabagina was stateless, Prosecution presented facts that Rusesabagina indeed is a Rwandan national and had no documents to prove otherwise.

When the defense challenged court on availability of evidence, Prosecution clarified that defense had access to all evidence via the Integrated Court Management System (ICMS). Prosecution pointed out all evidence was gathered legally. “About the chats (WhatsApp) that linked the suspect to the terror activities, we explained that they were retrieved from Rusesabagina’s phone. Other evidence was obtained from a search of his home by Belgian police. Everything was done legally,” said the public prosecutor.

During pretrial hearing Prosecution told the court it had documents showing a trail of money that the suspect sent to FLN. Rusesabagina has already confessed to personally funding FLN to the tune of 20,000 Euros, and raising US$ 300,000 for the militia.

Rusesabagina’s other accomplice Herman Nsengimana, who took over as FLN spokesperson and commander after Nsabimana aka “Sankara” was arrested shortly after which he too (Nsengimana) was arrested, is said to be eager to spill the beans on Rusesabagina. Analysts say Nsabimana and Nsengimana may be banking on some kind of mitigation in their sentences, “because as their leader Rusesabagina was the one that gave orders.”

At the end of today’s hearing, Rusesabagina said: “my submission should not be misconstrued by Prosecution to mean I am complaining of the way I am being taken care of. I am well catered for and I have met many medical personnel for the past one month that I have been here.”

Court adjourned to 2 October, at 2 pm when it will deliver its ruling on the appeal.

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