Léon Mugesera 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 delivered in Kinyarwanda, during a meeting of his political party in northern Rwanda.
“Mugesera told the tribunal that he only received a copy of the prosecution file on May 18 and didn’t get enough time to get ready”, his Rwandan lawyer Donat Mutunzi told Hirondelle News Agency on the phone.
However, “judges found that he had enough time and the proceedings should start. Mugesera said he appealed the decision, and that was the end of the hearing”, Mutunzi added.
Mugesera’s trial was due to start on February 2, 2012, but the accused 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. This request was rejected.