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January 28, 2021

ABA Center for Human Rights issues background briefing on Rwanda’s Rusesabagina trial

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2021 – The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights is monitoring the criminal proceedings against Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda as part of the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative. The Center has prepared a background briefing in advance of the opening of Rusesabagina’s trial.

Rusesabagina – who is best known for his efforts to save lives during the Rwandan genocide, as depicted in the film “Hotel Rwanda” – disappeared from Dubai on Aug. 27, 2020. On Aug.31, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau announced that Rusesabagina was in its custody and alleged that he was “suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits.” He was subsequently charged with multiple offenses, including creating an illegal militia and murder as an act of terrorism.

The briefing describes developments in the case to date and sets forth applicable international and regional legal standards relating to the right to freedom from arbitrary detention, the right to counsel, the right to effective participation, and the right to humane treatment in detention. The briefing does not assess the merits of the allegations against Rusesabagina or draw conclusions.

A copy of the briefing can be read here.

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The Clooney Foundation for Justice's TrialWatch initiative monitors criminal prosecutions of vulnerable persons around the world. For more information, go to