On the night of June 19, 2018, armed gang attacked Nyabimata sector in Nyaruguru district. A year later, the government official who was injured and his car torched, wants compensation.
During the attack the gang killed two people and seriously injured three others, among them the Nyabimata sector executive secretary Vincent Nsengiyumva. They attacked his home, location of which they knew very well, and set his car ablaze.
A few days later, a new group calling itself national liberation forces or FLN issued a statement claiming the Nyabimata sector attack. They also shared photos of heavily armed men claiming to be FLN forces based in Nyungwe forest national park, also shared with Burundi.
The man who signed on the statement, and face of FLN in the months that followed, was Nsabimana Callixte alias Major Sankara. Fast forward, Sankara was captured from Indian ocean islands of Comoros and handed to Rwanda.
Today, at the High Court International Crimes Chamber in Nyanza district, southern Rwanda, Sankara was in the dock for the start of substantive hearings for his trial. He had been scheduled to be tried by a military court, but the case will now be handled by this High Court division.
The case has changed several times, and today was not any different. Inside the chamber, amid tight security manned by dozens of police officers, former Nyabimata sector executive secretary Vincent Nsengiyumva was seated in the same chamber with his lawyer.
It was announced that Nsengiyumva has filed petition seeking compensation. The court said he is the only person so far who has made the petition. It remains unclear if Nsengiyumva wants compensation from Sankara or another instance.
Prosecution took the podium, detailing for hours, the state’s case against Sankara, who sat passively – his lawyer to his left and bible on the table with other documents. He is charged with 16 counts.
Chief among the charges is formation of terrorist organization. Others include terrorism, murder, looting, collaboration with foreign states to destabilize Rwanda, and kidnapping.
Also on the charge sheet is attempt by armed group for which he was spokesman to occupy a part of Rwanda yet they are not state authority. Sankara is also accused of spreading harmful propaganda meant to undermine government among the people.
As spokesman of these terror activities, said prosecution, Sankara took pride in the acts that were killing people and looting their property.
After hours, Prosecution stopped its submissions and has indicated that they have a lot more evidence to give court. The court was adjourned to January 28.
Different from the previous session, today security was tight. Anyone entering the chamber went through two security check points. Journalists were not allowed to take pictures, unlike previous first session.