September 23, 2021

Rwanda’s Rusesabagina guilty verdict declared unfair by ABA Center for Human Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2021 — The guilty verdict on terrorism charges and 25-year sentence issued today against Rwandan activist and former hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” was declared as unfair by the ABA Center for Human Rights, which monitored the trial as part of the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch program.

Throughout the monitoring, ABA CHR found serious discrepancies and severe violations of Rusesabagina’s fair trial rights. Among the procedural flaws documented, the Rwandan authorities violated Rusesabagina’s right to confidential communication with a lawyer, his right to adequate facilities to prepare for trial, and his right to the presumption of innocence.

“This was a show trial, rather than a fair judicial inquiry,” said Geoffrey Robertson QC, the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch expert who co-authored the TrialWatch report with ABA Center for Human Rights staff.

The ABA Center for Human Rights background report can be read here.

The TrialWatch report can be read here.

The Clooney Foundation statement on the case can be read here.

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