Arusha, March 26, 2012 (FH) - Rwandan scholar Leon Mugesera has refused to be interrogated in Kinyarwanda, the Office of the Prosecution in Kigali reported on Monday. His trial is still slated to open on April 2.

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Mugesera fled to Canada in 1993. In 1995, he was accused by the Rwandan judiciary of inciting genocide in a 1992 speech. After a long judicial battle, he was finally extradited in January. On Feburary 2, he was indicted for planning the genocide, incitement to commit genocide and distributing weapons. In the absence of a lawyer of his choice, he has not decided yet if he would plead guilty or not guilty.


The procedure is expected to go on in Kinyarwanda, even if the accused decides not to answer questions in that language. « He opted not be interrogated in Kinyarwanda. This procedure must continue. It is not just a matter of language, it is a matter of substance. The speech was delivered in Kinyarwanda. Some expressions and insinuations which were used lose their meaning in the process of translation from one language to another. He knows this very well. That was part of his defense in Canada. The speech must be kept in is context and language”, Rwanda Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga told Hirondelle News Agency on the phone.


“We don’t want to move away from the context and the language”, Ngoga added. “The records of the case must be in Kinyarwanda. We know he understands and speaks Kinyarwanda very well”.

The Prosecution argues that Mugesera’s 1992 speech was one of the events that triggered the 1994 genocide.