TRIALWATCH Says Rusesabagina Trial “More Public Spectacle than Judicial Undertaking”

NEW YORK – April 4, 2022 – PRLog –

This morning the TrialWatch initiative of the Clooney Foundation for Justice produced a final report on the case of Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda. The results leave no doubt that this was a Show Trial, and the report reiterates that the proceedings were “more public spectacle than judicial undertaking.”  (Link to the report at end of release)


This report reinforces the similar Opinion issued last week by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that because of the mass violations of Paul Rusesabagina’s rights, the trial should never have taken place. (Link to the opinion at end of release)


The report’s author Geoffrey Robertson, an acclaimed British human rights lawyer and member of the TrialWatch Experts Panel, concluded that in the trial of Paul Rusesabagina:

  • The trial did not conform to international and regional legal standards.
  • The Court relied on untested, unsworn testimony to find that Paul had merely been ‘lured’ to Rwanda and not in any sense ‘kidnapped,’ and that therefore it could hear the case.
  • The Court protected the main state witness who testified about Paul’s arrival in Rwanda by allowing him to speak as an ‘informant’ and not provide sworn testimony. This testimony was accepted without any questions.
  • The Court did not investigate allegations that Mr. Rusesabagina’s ‘admissions’ had been extracted by torture or maltreatment, and without a lawyer present. This amounted to the admission of potentially coerced evidence and admission of evidence obtained without the right to counsel.
  • The two main witnesses against him were allowed to give their testimony without any examination of their motives, including their connections with the Rwandan government. Both of these witnesses talked only about alleged crimes committed before this case.
  • While the Court ruled that authorities had denied Paul the facilities to prepare his defense, it then declined to provide an effective remedy for this breach of a fundamental right. Paul never received access to the documents needed to defend himself.
  • The Court failed to distinguish clearly between Mr. Rusesabagina’s role as a political organizer and the allegation that he had directed terrorism.
  • The evidence provided by Belgium that allegedly implicated Paul was never explained or examined in Court.
  • Finally, the trial was overshadowed by President Kagame’s extravagant declarations of Mr. Rusesabagina’s guilt.


Robertson notes that: “For all the reasons given in this report, and its predecessor published last year, I consider that the procedures in a number of respects violated international and regional standards for fair trial procedures, and smacked of a “show trial.””


TrialWatch is one of the world’s premier trial monitoring organizations, partnering with the ABA’s Center for Human Rights to monitor every aspect of this case. This is a major, objective review of the entire trial process in the Paul Rusesabagina case.


The report concludes that the trial was seriously flawed, and the judgment convicting Paul should not be relied upon.


Report links
* TrialWatch initiative of the Clooney Foundation for Justice: Final report on the case of Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda (…).

*UNWGAD Opinion: Issued last week by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (…)


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