Mugesera wants to be tried in Canada
CTV.ca News Staff
Leon Mugesera wants to be tried in Canada rather than Rwanda, after the Supreme Court of Canada ordered him to be deported to his homeland to stand trail for crimes against humanity.
"I'm not afraid of the courts," Mugesera told reporters in French Wednesday during a press conference in Montreal. "I have never tried to flee justice."
Mugesera was a district vice-president of the hardline Hutu party Mouvement republicain nationale pour la democratie et developpement.
In 1992 he made a speech during a political rally inciting violence against the Tutsi minority.
Addressing 1,000 party members, Mugesera was quoted telling the crowd they should kill Tutsis and "dump their bodies into the rivers of Rwanda."
Mugesera and his family moved to Canada in 1993 as refugees, where they settled in Quebec.
In Rwanda, violence continued to escalate until the 1994 genocide of over 800,000 Tutsis. It was part of a horrific campaign of ethnic-cleansing.
The Supreme Court ruling states that "given the context of the ethnic massacres taking place, he knew his speech would be understood as an incitement to commit murder."
Mugesera's lawyer Guy Bertrand said his client's speech "was not broadcast on television or on the radio."
He also suggested Mugesera could face the death penalty when he is tried in Rwanda, despite any protests from Canada. If this is the case, Mugesera could not be tried there.
"I can tell you, as soon as he gets to the airport, we will never hear of Mr. Mugesera again," Bertrand told reporters.
However, Rwanda officials have reportedly said they will not impose the death penalty if Mugesera is convicted.
"We are happy with the decision and we are ready to make any necessary guarantee that any party would require, including that this man would not face the death penalty," Rwandan Deputy Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga told the Associated Press.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 8-0 that there is evidence to support claims Mugesera incited genocide in the east-African country more than a decade ago.