A judge at Nyarugunga Primary Court yesterday ordered the Kigali Bar Association to avail Genocide suspect Emmanuel Mbarushimana, the full list of lawyers signed by the association’s head.
Extradited from Denmark earlier this month, Mbarushimana, 51, rejected his initial lawyer during his appearance before the court in Kicukiro District, claiming he was an amateur.
He subsequently requested for a list of all the lawyers who subscribe to the Bar, a request the judge granted.
“The list I got from prosecution has 530 lawyers yet I am informed that there are 890 accredited lawyers. Secondly, the list is not signed by the president of the association,” Mbarushimana said.
Mbarushimana, who was in the dock without a legal representative, added; “Maybe the prosecution sent me the list in good faith but I want to be sure that I have the right list of lawyers.”
In response, Prosecutor Ndibwami Rugambwa said the court had instructed his office to facilitate Mbarushimana get the list which they did.
“When Mbarushimana first appeared in court, he asked for four months to prepare his defence. What he is doing is buying time to have his case drag on for four months. It is not our responsibility to get him a lawyer. We only acted on a court order,” Rugambwa said.
After the deliberations, presiding Judge Felix Ndahigwa, ruled that the suspect be given a full list of all accredited lawyers not later than July 28.
“After getting the list, you will have 15 days to pick a lawyer of your choice and prepare for the pretrial which will resume on August 12,” Ndahigwa told the suspect.
The defendant requested for legal aid and his lawyer is supposed to be paid by government through the Ministry of Justice.
However, the Rwanda Bar Association says Mbarushimana was provided with a competent lawyer and that if he rejected him, he would have informed the Bar officially.
“Our membership is in the public domain. We shared it with the concerned authorities including the Ministry of Justice and the courts,” said Victor Mugabe, the executive secretary of Kigali Bar Association.
He added; “We have a total of 1,074 accredited lawyers but not all of them are competent to try cases transferred from other jurisdictions. We have a list of competent lawyers we agreed on with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the lawyer he rejected was on that list.”
Mugabe, however, wondered why person would ask for legal aid and go further to dictate on the kind of lawyer he wanted.
It is alleged that in 1994, Mbarushimana organised and participated in the killings of Tutsi in Kabuye, Dahwe, Gisagara, Ndora, Twarubona and nearby areas, in the current Gisagara District in the Southern Province. He was, at the time, an Inspector of Schools in then Muganza Commune.
The former schoolteacher had lived in Denmark with his wife and children for the last 13 year before he was extradited.
First appeared in the New Times. Slightly edited here by Al. G
Categories: Genocide fugitives