Ingabire’s legal team not ready for Monday’s start of trial
By Sophie van Leeuwen and Ruben Koops.
The trial against Victoire Ingabire is up for a rocky start. On Thursday, Rwandan Public Prosecutor Bonaventura Ruberwa confirmed to Radio Netherlands Worldwide that the prosecution team is ready to begin the case against the Rwandan opposition leader. But according to Iain Edwards, one of Ingabire’s lawyers, it’s not possible to start the long expected trial just yet.
“On Monday we want to start the cross-examination in the Kigali High Court at eight in the morning” says Ruberwa, who is the leading prosecutor in the Ingabire case. He also confirmed that Ingabire will be transported to the court on Monday.
But there she won’t be represented by her legal team. “No, the trial won’t be proceeding on Monday and the prosecution knows this!” says Edwards. “We told the court that the defence won’t be ready to start this Monday.”
According to the defence attorney Edwards there are several reasons for the delay. A very practical one is that none of Ingabire’s legal advisers is going to be able to make it to Monday’s session, he says.
“Her Rwandan lawyer Gatera Gashabana will be out of the country, and so are the international members of her team.” The court date was fixed without the consultation of the international members of the team, says Edwards.
Another problem is the translation of the case file, which counts over 2000 pages written in Kinyarwanda, the local language. “Two out of three members of the defence are not able to read the file,” says Edwards.
“The prosecution chooses not to provide the file in English, so the responsibility of translating the file has fallen on us exclusively.”
The Rwandan opposition leader, arrested in her Kigali home on 14 October 2010, has been awaiting trial in a prison in the Rwandan capital Kigali. Ingabire is the chairperson of the Unified Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), and is suspected of collaborating with a terrorist organization, dividing the people of Rwanda and denying the 1994 genocide.