Genocide Suspect Leon Mugesera Detained In Rwanda
Mugesera, 59, arrived in white private jet – C-GIRE bearing a Canadian flag, after a long flight from Montreal, Canada.
Clad in an army green jacket, Mugesera lost a 16-year deportation battle on Monday. The Supreme Court ruled the former University lecturer should be deported for making a 1992 virulent speech urging Hutus to kill Tutsis and throw their bodies in the river.
Moments after arrival, he was un-handcuffed, served with an arrest warrant before being hand-cuffed again by a Rwanda police officer. He was later led to a waiting police Land Cruiser and chauffeured away.
Dozens of local and international journalists scampered as they positioned themselves for good camera shots.
“Mugesera, you remember me in Canada. It’s me. I have been following your case since 1997,” Marie Grace Ruzindana, a member of the Rwandan Diaspora in Canada shouted, according to The New Times.
A vividly relieved Ruzindana said she was happy that, although it took so long, the deportation finally came.
“I can’t express how happy I am,” she said.
A Government statement later said that Mugesera will be held for a maximum of 72 hours, after which his file will be forwarded to the National Public Prosecuting Authority.
According to Prosecution, Mugesera will appear before a court within seven days, where “readiness by both parties to commence substantive trial will be assessed”.
The Government of Rwanda welcomed the deportation.
“It has been a rocky, long and circuitous road, but Canada has made the right decision in the case of Leon Mugesera. Mugesera returns to find a country at peace, far removed from the vision of ethnic hatred and bloodshed he propagated before seeking exile in Canada two decades ago,” Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga was quoted in the statement.
The development marks the end of the dramatic legal battle and a test for President Paul Kagame government ability to deliver justice.
Legal experts had expressed pessimism that Mugesera would not get a fair trial.
But Rwanda has in the past insisted Mugesera will get justice.