CHICAGO – Jan. 29, 2021 – Today the ABA released a preliminary report in the proceedings against Paul Rusesabagina entitled Rwanda: Background Briefing on Proceedings Against Paul Rusesabagina.
Professor Brian Endless of the #FreeRusesabagina movement said, “We are very happy that the ABA/Clooney Foundation took this unusual step of issuing a report before the trial. That said, we understand that they released this first report because of the amount and intensity of the violations of Paul Rusesabagina’s rights to a fair trial. We thank them for their diligence.”
In the accompanying statement from the Clooney Foundation, Geoffrey Robertson QC, the TrialWatch Expert who will assess the fairness of the trial and assign a grade, said:
“Mr. Rusesabagina’s trial must be fair and must be perceived as fair. There are a number of issues that will be before the court as it takes up its work that warrant careful review, including:
• The indictment states that Mr. Rusesabagina “could not be extradited” from Belgium to Rwanda. What were the circumstances of his transfer from Dubai to Kigali and were they lawful?
• The indictment references close cooperation between Rwandan authorities and Belgian police, including searches of Mr. Rusesabagina’s home in Brussels and his electronic equipment, and the handover of material seized there to his Rwandan prosecutors. Was this conduct lawful? If not, the admissibility of this evidence must be considered.”
Endless said, “The Clooney/ABA group agreed in September to monitor Paul’s case, and they generally only take on cases where a fair trial is in question. While the ABA remains scrupulously neutral until the trial is completed, their pre-trial synopsis raises numerous legal issues and clearly shows that Paul Rusesabagina is NOT going to be subject to a fair trial. His rights have already been violated in numerous ways that invalidate any idea of fairness. While they are not in a position to publicly make judgments or give legal advice, the report is quite damning toward what the Rwandan government has already done, or not done in several cases. Paul’s family and team are very pleased that a renowned and neutral international observer group has now made this perfectly clear.”
Here is the report in website form: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/human_rights/reports/background_briefing_rwanda_paul_rusesabagina