Rwanda: Hearing for Gen. Laurent Nkunda case postponed again.

Rwanda News Agency



lnm_in_jomba.jpgKigali: The Military High Court has again postponed the hearing of a plea to free a Congolese dissident Gen. Laurent Nkunda detained in Rwanda for the past two years, his lawyer said.

"The clerk's office decided to postpone the hearing sine die because the judge (General Steven Karyango) has been suspended," Aime Bokanga, a lawyer for Laurent Nkunda, told AFP news agency.

"We're waiting for a new judge to be appointed. Under Rwandan law he needs to be a general because the person we have brought proceedings against is a general," the lawyer said.

This latest postponement is the fourth since the case was sent to the military courts. The case was scheduled to start on Monday.


Nkunda's lawyers say General James Kabarebe, former Rwandan army chief of staff who was appointed defence minister in April, is responsible for the "arrest and illegal detention" of their client.

In March the Supreme Court ruled that given Kabarebe's military status, it was not competent to hear the plea.

Nkunda was arrested in Gisenyi on Rwanda's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo on January 22, 2009, when he was head of the rebel National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) movement, according to people close to him.

In October 2008, Nkunda's men routed the DR Congolese army in Nord-Kivu province and threatened to take the strategic provincial capital, Goma, near the border with Rwanda.

But after a shift in alliances, the Congolese and Rwandan armies in January 2009 launched an unprecedented joint operation targeting Rwandan FDLR rebels in eastern DR Congo, which also resulted in Nkunda's arrest.

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