Thursday, March 15, 2012

Will Dutch Court Ignore Lessons From Kobagaya & Munyenyezi Trials?

 The Kobagaya and Munyenyezi trials hold lessons for other cases in the US and beyond.

In her written statement on behalf of  the federal public and community defenders before the United States sentencing commission public hearing on human rights offenses March 14 2012 Melanie Morgan states:
"As one court noted in connection with a case (Beatrice Munyenyezi case) that is currently on trial in New Hampshire:

Critical witnesses for the government and defendant reside in Rwanda, and counsel for both sides must necessarily travel to Rwanda to investigate, marshal evidence, and make arrangements for witnesses to come to the United States to testify.... Language barriers, differences in customs, and international relations issues all add other complexities that must be navigated. Discovery and relevant investigatory materials are voluminous."
Prosecution and defense must investigate is what the court in New Hampshire in the Beatrice Munyenyezi case noted. The Dutch prosecutors in the case against Yvonne Basebya have travelled to Rwanda and published an article about it on RNW, what about the defense? Has the defense in that case been denied the funds to investigate, as prosecutor Hester van Bruggen and her colleagues wanted?
The Kobagaya, Munyenyezi and Basebya cases played an important role in Paul Kagame's PR abroad in the months leading up to the 2010 elections in Rwanda. Nobody can deny that. The outcome in Kansas and New Hampshire strenghten the perception that these were not just convenient coincidences, but a concerted propaganda effort by the regime in Kigali.
The valuable lessons from both cases are multiple! The context of convenient PR combined with the outcomes in Kansas and New Hampshire will impact the dynamics of the Basebya case, no doubt about it.

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