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Kagame’s Former Military Officers Withdraw Petition from East African Court


Kigali, Rwanda | Ex-Rwandan military officers, Tom Byabagamba and Frank Rusagara, have retracted their appeal from the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), where they were contesting their conviction by Rwandan courts.

Currently, both are serving a 15-year prison sentence in Rwanda after being convicted on charges such as disseminating rumours to incite citizens against the government, illegal possession of firearms, and actions intended to defame the country.

After pursuing all legal options in Rwanda, they appealed to the regional court.

Initially, the Military High Court sentenced them to 21 and 20 years in prison respectively in 2016, but their sentences were reduced to 15 years by the Court of Appeal in Kigali.

In addition to the sentence, Byabagamba, a former Colonel, was dishonourably discharged from the Rwanda Defence Force. Rusagara had retired with the rank of Brigadier General.

In 2020, they filed a petition at the EACJ’s sub-registry in Nairobi, seeking to have their conviction and sentences overturned.

Represented by their lawyer Michael Osundwa, they contended that their detention violated Articles 6,7 and 8 of the treaty establishing the East African Community.

Byabagamba also requested the court to order Rwanda to reinstate his military position without demotion.

Petition Withdrawal

On Wednesday, March 13, through their lawyer Osundwa, they requested the EACJ to dismiss the petition. The reasons for their decision to withdraw the case were not disclosed.

An attorney general from Rwanda, who attended the court session via video link, responded to the request, affirming the applicants’ right to withdraw their application.

The five-judge panel agreed to the request and dismissed the case.

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