Taarifa Rwanda

Why Did The Judge Adjourn The Rwigaras Case?

The presiding judge of the Rwigaras case took the accused by surprise when, after over an hour of deliberation behind closed doors together with three other judges, made a ruling on two major items in their favour.

First, Adeline had confidently declined to be represented by the family’s lawyer Celestin Buhuru, claiming that he already has a lot on his table to handle.

She vehemently insisted before the judges that she was not willing to be tried without legal representation.

She then requested the judges to allow her find a lawyer of her own. In fact, she immediately mentioned that she has already made arrangements to have Me Gatera Gashabana as her lawyer.

“Look at this file. Hundreds of pages. I got these files today. Am not ready,” she said.

Secondly, Adeline requested the four judges that they instruct prosecution to allow her access the funds that had been confiscated during investigations.

She said that she needs the funds to foot her legal bills.

The judge ruled in her favour.

Prior to this ruling, Judge began with asking the accused what they had to say about the charges. “We are innocent,” said Adeline first. “Frankly speaking, I still don’t understand what we are accused of and I don’t understand what I have to answer,” added Diane.

Until this time, Anne had said no word.

Celestin Buhuru arrives at the court

The judge asked the lawyer to respond. “Madam judge,” he said, “I will defend Anne, Diane and not Adeline,” he said. “She has declined, like you heard, I am ready to partner with her lawyer.”

The prosecution made a rebuttal. “We can’t accept this. They know the charges. We allowed them access everything as requested in the previous hearing.”

“Madam judge. Can we now be given the right to present our case. This is the third time. They have already been presented with the file,” the prosecutor said. “This is not justice on our side.”

In defense, the accused’s lawyer said that he actually has also not looked into the file. “I have not accessed the audios and messages in possession by prosecution.”

The judge quickly challenged the lawyer. “We had a settlement over this matter in the previous session. We can’t go back. I don’t consider the substance of your argument.”

The lawyer replied that: We were not contented with the ruling. Besides, we have not seen the content. Unless this content is omitted from the file.”

The prosecutor dismissed the lawyer’s defense. “I guess the lawyer is ready. He is already battling the case before we present it.”

Then Diane asked to speak: “Prosecution has had this file for over a month. I have only found it here. I don’t know what’s in this file. I need time.”

The judge told Diane that she was going astray. “Can we stick to one thing,” the judge said.

As contention escalated, the lawyer gave in. “Madam judge, I am ready now, but I will not defend Adeline because she has requested for another lawyer.”

Before the judge proceeded, she announced that, “We ate taking a break for thirty minutes to deliberate. We will be back.”

The fully packed courtroom was in a deafening silence as the audience attentively followed the trial.

The judge and the prosecution finally agreed that the accused have the right to due process of law, which includes the right: to be informed of the nature and cause of charges and the right to defence and legal representation; the right to counsel.

The judge adjourned the case to October 13, at 9am.

The trio are charged with offenses against state security, forgery and plotting a violent uprising against the government (insurrection).


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