Region: Central & East Africa

Number of Trials: 1

Paul Rusesabagina

In Rwanda, TrialWatch monitored the trial of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ figure Paul Rusesabagina, who was convicted of terrorism-related offenses in September 2021 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A June 2021 report by TrialWatch Expert Geoffrey Robertson QC and staff at the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights concluded that Mr. Rusesabagina’s trial entailed severe violations of his fair trial rights and had the hallmarks of a “judicial spectacle.” A final Fairness Report gave the trial a D grade.

Paul Rusesabagina

Mr. Rusesabagina, a vocal critic of Rwanda’s ruling party, was convicted of terrorism-related activities for his alleged role in attacks by the National Liberation Front (FLN). Prior to trial, Rwandan President Kagame made statements in public that violated Mr. Rusesabagina’s right to be presumed innocent. The June 2021 TrialWatch report on the case further found that the Rwandan authorities violated Mr. Rusesabagina’s right to counsel and his right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense, among other procedural flaws. Following the verdict, TrialWatch Expert Geoffrey Robertson QC said that “This was a show trial, rather than a fair judicial inquiry.”

A final Fairness Report, released in April 2022, gave the proceedings a D.

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