Kigali, April 17, 2012 (FH) - Rwandan former politician Leon Mugesera appealed on Tuesday a Kigali judge ruling stating that his case proceedings would be conducted, from the preliminary hearings to the trial, in Kinyarwanda.

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The Rwandan academic was extradited from Canada in January this year after a legal battle lasting more than 15 years. He is accused of inciting genocide in a 1992 speech during a meeting of his political party in northern Rwanda.

His trial was due to start on February 2, 2012, but Mugesera had asked for additional time to make sure his defence team would be complete. He was also requesting that the official language for the trial would be French and not Kinyarwanda, arguing that he had just spent 20 years in a non-rwandophone speaking country and that there were some judicial terms he was not familiar with in Kinyarwanda.

However, Judge Sauda Murererehe ruled on April 3rd that the Prosecution was right to request the use of Kinyarwanda, the accused mother tongue, as the 1992 speech was in Kinyarwanda. The prosecutor had argued that translating the speech into another language would dilute its genocidal message.

The appeal will be heard on April 23rd.

The trial is slated to open on May 9.