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Rwanda genocide suspect to appeal for extra time

Leon Mugesera made a speech in 1992 that allegedly played a part in sparking the 1994 genocide (© 2009 AFP)

Rwandan genocide suspect Leon Mugesera, who was deported by Canada to Kigali after a long legal battle, said Thursday he would appeal a court decision to refuse his request for a further delay of his trial.

Mugesera returned to court Thursday after the latest two week adjournment of the trial and requested a further two months so as to “thoroughly analyse” his 240-page case file.

“I received a copy of my dossier six days ago, there is no way I could have analysed 240 pages in such a short period,” Mugesera told the court.

“The prosecution has had this dossier for three months … and if we are to consider the principle of equality before the law then I should be given more time,” he added.

However, the judge turned down the request.

Mugesera immediately told the court he was appealing the ruling in the high court, and the judge said the pre-trial proceedings would resume after the appeal.

This is the second time Mugesera has appealed a decision taken by the same court. He previously appealed a decision ordering him to stand trial in Kinyarwanda, but lost.

No date has been set for the latest appeal hearing.

Mugesera made an infamous speech in 1992 that allegedly played a major role in sparking the 1994 genocide, in which radical ethnic Hutus killed as many as 800,000 Tutsis.

Mugesera, a linguist, allegedly called Tutsis “cockroaches” and “scum,” and encouraged his fellow Hutus to kill them.

Prior to his most recent two-week extension, Mugesera, who returned to Rwanda in January, had already obtained two postponements on the grounds he was still putting his defence team together.

Signature : KIGALI (AFP)

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