The polarising hero of the oscar-nominated hit movie ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ Paul Rusesabagina — who is currently on trial on 13 charges including terrorism, financing and founding militant groups, murder, arson and conspiracy to involve children in armed groups, appeared in court in Kigali on Friday.
He appealed the denial of his request to post bail last week and also admitted to helping form the armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN) — which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad which he co-founded.
“We formed the FLN as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy. The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy.” The accused told the court on Friday.
Rusesabagina is famed for his depiction by Don Cheadle in the 2004 film in which a moderate Hutu is shown as saving hundreds of lives at a luxury hotel during the 1994 genocide that saw around 800,000, mostly Tutsi, lose their lives. The release of the film thrust him into the global spotlight, giving him a greater platform for his criticism of Kagame’s government.