KIGALI, RWANDA – Mar. 9, 2021 – The High Court ruled the kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina is legal and the show trial can move forward. The judges focused on the fact that the government admitted Paul was lured to Rwanda, but claimed force was not used thus it did not qualify as kidnapping. This is another clear breach of international law and practice.
Paul was lured from home in San Antonio to Dubai to Rwanda. This was done by an agent of the Rwandan government. “Luring” an individual, called “inveigling” in US kidnapping law (18 U.S. Code § 1201), is illegal in the U.S. and under international law (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9). Due process must be followed anytime an individual is transferred from one jurisdiction to another. The Rwandan government is making a distinction between “force” and “luring” that does not exist.
The court does not believe that Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped despite the fact the Minister of Justice, the head of RIB and President Kagame have talked about the kidnapping as a “flawless plan” and have admitted that Paul was lured to Rwanda.
The court said that Paul Rusesabagina was arrested legally and presented with an arrest warrant on August 28th, but no arrest warrant has been produced. Additionally, Paul was without benefit of counsel on that date as he was being held incommunicado, bound and blindfolded for the first three days of his capture.
Earlier, the Court made a written ruling on Paul’s ability to prepare for trial and on the privileged and confidential documents provided to him by his attorneys that have been seized. They ruled Paul can have a computer with his casefile on it and that all documents seized should be returned and privileged documents to be protected, “after having been identified.” The Court did not say who will determine if a document is privileged or not, or, how it will be determined. In addition, the Court did not address, nor provide any remedy for the fact that the government has already had access to all privileged communications, including documents outlining his defense strategy. This breach of confidentiality would require an immediate end to the case in legal systems in which an independent judiciary was permitted to function.
Félix Rudakemwa, the attorney for the Paul Rusesabagina immediately appealed the ruling, stating that “we demand that the trial is adjourned until the appeal is resolved.”
The microphones went silent and the video feed from the court stopped abruptly. No future court date was announced.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kitty Kurth