Ottawa has information that proves the Rwandan government is criminal and that fabrication of evidence about the 1994 genocide is a common occurrence sanctioned by the authorities, claim lawyers trying to stop the deportation of suspected war criminal Léon Mugesera.
In a motion to be presented in Quebec Superior Court on Friday, law firm Roy Larochelle Avocats Inc. says that documentation never before presented shows it’s impossible for Mugesera to have a fair trial in Rwanda and that the judiciary is not impartial.
This latest legal manoeuvre by Mugesera, 59, to try to avoid returning to his native Rwanda, where he is wanted on charges of inciting the 1994 genocide, has some Canadian observers shaking their heads at how absurd the 15-year battle has become.
“It’s simply delusional to think anyone has to fabricate a single word about the genocide,” said Gerry Caplan, an expert on Rwanda. “Besides a mountain of other unequivocal evidence, we now have 15 years of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda documenting exactly how the genocide was carried out, including the full confession of the prime minister during the 100 days. No one has to fabricate anything.”
Others are against the deportation on the grounds that Mugesera’s life will be in danger.
The Canadian government, which ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in 1987, said it would ignore the request, prompting Mugesera’s lawyers to ask Quebec’s Superior Court for an injunction until the committee can review the case. That will be decided Friday.
Gary Caroline, a Vancouver lawyer who has been involved in teaching conflict resolution to legal aid lawyers in Rwanda, called the move an “act of desperation.”
“You can’t make allegations at this stage unproven and expect that courts are going to act on them,” he said. “They’re just trying to use everything to delay what probably is the inevitable.”
He arrived in Canada with his wife and five children in 1993, a year after he made a speech in his native Rwanda encouraging the majority Hutus to send the minority Tutsis back to Ethiopia by way of a tributary of the Nile River.
At the height of the 1994 genocide, the river running through Rwanda was clogged with the bodies of some of the estimated 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus who were slaughtered in a three-month period.