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Genocide suspect 2Lt Jean Claude Seyoboka rejects Lawyer

On 06 January 2017, former Rwanda Government Forces military officer, 2Lt Henri Jean Claude Seyoboka appeared before the Military Tribunal for hearing on the extension of his provisional detention.

Before the beginning of the court proceedings, the accused objected to the Pro Bono Lawyer, Uwimana Channy, the Rwanda Bar Association had appointed to defend him before the Court. This was following 2Lt Seyoboka's previous request to the Military Prosecution for a free lawyer, claiming to be unable to afford contracting and paying himself a lawyer to assist him in his case.

2Lt Seyoboka rejected the free assigned Lawyer stating that he would prefer to be assisted by his original Lawyer Albert Nkundabatware, who should be payed by the Government of Rwanda, as this has so far been done for other Genocide suspects previously brought back from abroad. On this claim the Military Prosecution observed that the Government of Rwanda legally has no obligation of covering legal representation fees for the accused.

After listening to both sides' arguments, the Court adjourned the proceedings on the raised matter, to give time to the Suspect to provide evidence on Rwanda’s Government obligation in hiring a Lawyer for him, as he claims. The proceedings will resume on 27 January 2017.

2Lt Seyoboka was recently deported to Rwanda by Canada, where he had been hiding for many years. He is suspected for criminal charges including Genocide, conspiracy in Genocide, murder as a Crime Against Humanity and rape.