Former Rwanda presidential aspirant Diane Rwigara and her family members return to court on Friday to face charges related to insurrection, forgery and divisionism.
This follows a heated exchange of defence lawyers and prosecution on accessing the file containing the charges.
Diane, who is charged alongside her mother Adeline Rwigara and sister Anne Rwigara, maintain the family’s innocence.
She recently said the prosecution was triggered by her decision to challenge President Paul Kagame in the recently-concluded national election.
During the pre-hearing stage at Nyarugenge Intermediate Court, Diane told the judge: “Frankly speaking, I still don’t understand what we are accused of and I don’t understand what I have to answer.”
Diane said all efforts to access the entire file including the annexures are yet to bear fruit.
However, prosecution affirmed the accused had accessed the confidential file.
But the Rwigara family lawyer, Celestin Buhuru insisted he was yet to obtain the audios and messages in possession by prosecution.
Highly placed sources say Diane’s family members made communications via WhatsApp with associates of former Rwandan Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa.
The general, who lives in a military facility in South Africa, has publicly vowed to remove President Kagame from power.
Kayumba survived an assassination attempt which he linked to the Rwandan security services. Kigali vehemently denied the charge as baseless.
What the Rwigaras discussed with Kayumba’s allies remains unclear to us but those informed about the progress of the investigation confided in ChimpReports the wealthy family sought a form of partnership.
At Nyarugenge Court, the Rwigaras and their lawyer insisted on accessing the prosecutor’s file and to be allowed enough time to prepare a solid defence.
They also want millions of Rwandan Francs seized from the family’s palatial home in Kigali to be handed back to them.
At the end of the session, the judge ruled that Article 18 of the Rwandan Constitution supports Rwigaras’ request to access the file.
The article reads: “No one shall be subjected to prosecution, arrest, detention or punishment on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a crime under the law in force at the time it was committed.”
It adds: “The right to be informed of the nature and cause of charges and the right to defence are absolute at all levels and degrees of proceedings before administrative, judicial and all other decision making organs.”