The 66-year-old was first arrested in August 2020 and faces 9 fees, together with financing terrorism, homicide as an act of terrorism, formation of an irregular armed group, and membership of a terrorist group, amongst others, in keeping with prosecutors.
During the trial — which was heard by Rwanda’s High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes — the outspoken critic of Rwandan president Paul Kagame advised the court docket that he wished to be known as a Belgian citizen kidnapped by the Rwandan authorities, who don’t have any jurisdiction to attempt him.
“I am a Belgian citizen. I am here simply as a hostage,” Rusesabagina mentioned, including that he renounced his Rwandan citizenship in 1996 when he fled Rwanda to Belgium.
“When I arrived in Belgium, I handed over my Rwandan passport and National Identity Card. I immediately ceased to be Rwandan but instead became what you would call an orphan under the care of the United Nations,” Rusesabagina continued, urging the court docket to order for his repatriation again to Belgium to face trial there.
Wednesday’s trial marked the primary joint listening to of Rusesabagina and his co-accused after the prosecution requested final 12 months that the case be mixed right into a single trial for all these they declare are linked to 2 militia assaults in 2018 and 2019 on the nation’s Nyungwe National parks.
Rwandan authorities have denied Rusesabagina’s allegations of kidnapping, whereas prosecutors have maintained that the defendant stays Rwandan by origin and needs to be tried in Rwanda on grounds that the crimes he’s accused of had been dedicated in Rwanda towards Rwandans, thus giving their courts jurisdiction over him.
Other suspects on this listening to included Callixte Nsabimana — also called Sankara — and Herman Nsengimana; in keeping with prosecutors, each are linked to the National Liberation Front (FLN) militia wing of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change opposition group (MRCD).
The prosecutors advised the court docket that Rusesabagina was the top of the MRDC coalition and in command of diplomacy for the opposition group.
The case has been adjourned till 26 February, when the court docket is predicted to make a ruling on the jurisdiction objections offered by Rusesabagina and his lawyer.
Rusesabagina gained prominence for saving tons of of Rwandans throughout the nation’s genocide by sheltering them within the resort he managed. His story was made into the Hollywood movie “Hotel Rwanda,” starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo.
Rusesabagina and his supporters have lengthy maintained that he turned a goal of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s authorities after sustained criticism of the federal government and the conduct of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in ending the genocide in 1994. Around 800,000 Tutsis and average Hutus had been killed within the genocide, which was led by Hutu extremists.
He is the recipient of a number of human rights awards for his efforts throughout the genocide, together with the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and the Human Rights Prize by the Lantos Foundation in 2011, amongst others.