Yesterday, in broad daylight in Kigali, Leon Mugesera pleaded “not guilty.” The law demands a plea, and it is Mugesera’s right to enter one, as he so wishes.
He is charged with inciting people to take part in genocide. Planning. Preparing. Inciting hatred.
The basis of the charges against Mugesera emanate from his hate, vitriolic speech in November 1992 in which he implored the masses to kill Tutsi, and expedite their return to Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia) whence (he contends) we come from by throwing bodies into NYABARONGO.
Noteworthy: Mugesera does NOT deny making the speech. He insists his words have been twisted and misinterpreted. Really? How else would such a call to arms be interpreted?
“I have never planned genocide; this has never come in my mind” Mugesera says.
Put Mugesera’s silly and empty legal tango aside. He passionately and emphatically called on Hutus to target Tutsi, specifically, for slaughter, thus he is guilty of the crime of genocide.
“There is a serious issue of imprecision in all the charges …” Mugesera pleads. This can only be in his tormented mind. His message is clear to even an infant. It is on tape. His audience took his words to heart, acted on them, and therefore, Mugesera’s pleadings are simply fallacious and do not hold water.
His comedic plea further argues that the ICTR has so far not convicted anybody of planning and preparing genocide against the Tutsi. Such banality defies logic. Guilt by association is not permissible in law, nor is innocence.
“So who did I plan the Genocide with, because planning involves many people?” Mugesera asks. Really?
Mugesera argues that when the genocide broke out in 1994 he was in Canada, therefore he has an “alibi.” I cannot make sense out of this, especially in light of the fact that Mugesera admits to making that infamous speech of his in 1992, the catalyst to the genocide.
Let the chips fall where they may. Mugesera has much to answer for, and his bloody hands have left imprints on the conscience of the Nation.