From a silent genocide suspect that did not want to speak in court, 2nd Lt Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka has began talking and cannot wait for another 30 days in jail.
On Tuesday morning, Seyoboka arrived at Kanombe military high court in a Military van. He jumped out with lots of energy; “is there anything else you want?” he asked the press but received no response from any.
Walking confidently, Seyoboka alongside his lawyer appeared before the court to appeal against previous court decision to have him detained for another 30 days.
He had previously been handed a pretrial detention of 30 days when he appeared before court in December last year. He has completed serving the 30-day detention pending investigations.
This time, Seyoboka has stood ground and is speaking more for himself with minimal counsel from his lawyer. He says that he doesn’t want to go back to jail for another 30 days.
“I am ready for an in-depth trial even when I was detained without seeing a copy of the detention letters from both court decisions. This case has taken too long… I deserve my dignity,” Seyoboka said when asked why he appealed the January 30th court detention ruling.
Prosecution says that there is need for more time to interview more witnesses to make the case valid for trial according to Captain Kayihura Kagiraneza, the military prosecutor.
According to prosecution, earlier Nyarugenge military court took the decision to detain the suspect for another 30 days because they had only one witness testimony taken from the case file in 1994 investigations.
“Justice should be served on time, yes but this case file is not complete, with only two witness testimonies. We need more time to investigate evidence by talking to 10 other witnesses” Cpt. Kagiraneza told court today.
Kagiraneza said the Seyoboka case shouldn’t be determined by time factors but evidence and hurrying its process may jeopardize genocide charges levied against the suspect.
“We are dealing with a genocide case here. However long it takes, the law military law article 104 provides for at least one year of pretrial detention…we are only asking for 90 days and if we get challenges we will ask for more time,” Kagiraneza said.
Seyoboka’s defense lawyer, Albert Nkundabatwari said prosecution reasons were delaying the case on baseless arguments to ask for more time.
“Thorough investigations were done in Canada and in Rwanda before my client was deported. He was initially detained for reasons of investigation and now the same reasons are being carried on…what has come out of these investigations?” Nkundabatwari asked court.
After listening to both arguments, the presiding Judge, Major Bernard Hategikimana, said that investigation details cannot be exposed in court sessions but court procedure on whether to try Seyoboka will be followed accordingly.
Court recessed with a postponement of the case till February 10, when a decision will be delivered to either have Seyoboka in detained for another 30 days period.
Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka is the son-in-law of Colonel Elie Sagatwa who died on the plane with ex-president Juvenal Habyarimana on April 06, 1994.
Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka who was popularly known as “Zaire”, was common within the elite community of the pre-genocide era. Col. Sagatwa was a relative of former First Lady Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana.