Rwanda on trial in South Africa

By: Jennifer Fierberg

Once again, a court in South Africa has called foul on the Government of Rwanda and their involvement in the attempted assassination of Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa former Chief of staff of the Rwandan Army, now leader in one of Rwanda’s most vocal opposition groups, the Rwanda National Congress. The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA)  whose “main objective are the promotion and protection of the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and international migrants,” brought an application against the President of the Republic of South Africa and General Kayumba Nyamwasa with the goal of having the General extradited back to Rwanda to serve the prison sentence for which he was tried for in absentia in 2011.

The Court announced on Friday September 26, 2014 that the  case  is “baseless” and without cause. Further, the court found that all cases calling for the arrest or extradition of General Kayumba Nyamwasa in other International courts are also without cause and dismissed all calls for Nyamwasa’s extradition.  The court put on record that Kayumba Nyamwasa was correctly granted asylum in South Africa and that his status will not be changed.

However, the court did not stop there. They stated clearly, “The Government of Rwanda has made numerous attempts on the life of Kayumba Nyamwasa.”   This is the second time a court of law in South Africa has stated, on record, that the Government of Rwanda is trying to assassinate Nyamwasa. One government  trying to assassinate a former national of their country while a refugee in another country is an act of terrorism as defined by Chapter 2,Part 2, section 8 of the South Africa Terrorism Legislation which clearly defines terrorism on South African soil to include, “Offences relating to causing harm to internationally protected persons.”

Below is the press statement made by the lawyer of General Kayumba Nyamwasa following the verdict:



On this day, the 26th/09/2014 the Pretoria High Court in Pretoria dismissed the application brought by CORMSA (Consortium for Refugees and migrants in South Africa) against the Government of South Africa and General Kayumba Nyamwasa as baseless and unfounded and with costs.

The application was found to be baseless and unfounded, but informed by false allegations that Gen Kayumba committed crimes which they failed to prove to the Judge as they alleged.

The Judge further found that the Rwandan military court’s decision of guilty in absentia to be irrelevant and cannot be relied on or be taken serious.

The Judge found that the indictment by both French and Spanish courts on allegations of war crimes, to be unsubstantiated and to be mere allegations and therefore no reasonable grounds that he must be extradited to those respective countries or to be excluded as a political refugee.

The Judge found that there was no reason for exclusion as a refugee in terms of both South African law specifically Sec 4 of the refugees Act 1998 and under UN Convention of 1951 read together with the OAU Convention of 1969 and its protocol on refugees.

The Judge found that the South African Government did consider all the allegations and indeed correctly found that there was no reason to believe that Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa committed these crimes in the absence of any evidence to that effect.

The Court noted the following in its Judgment;

1. That General Kayumba’s life was in danger and that there was no dispute about it, since his fallout with General Kagame President of Rwanda and became his political opponent.

2. That there where many attempts on his life by the Govt of Rwanda.

3. That the Government of South Africa was aware of the allegations and considered them,

4. That the indictment by French Judge Bruguiere was declared by new investigative Judges Trevidic and Nathalia Poux to be false.

5. That this court could not consider the Spanish indictment because it was based on Judge Bruguiere’s findings which were found to be false.

6. That General Kayumba was correctly granted political refugee by South African Government in terms of both national and international law.

Therefore, the court dismissed the application with costs.


Attorney for the Gen. kayumba Nyamwasa: Kennedy Gihana

Cell: + 27 76 739 3505

Family of Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa: Frank Ntwali

Cell: + 27 82 834 0061


This is another big victory for South Africa, Kayumba Nyamwasa and the Rwanda National Congress as well as Rwandan refugees the world over who are fighting to stay alive despite the President of Rwanda wanting to eliminate so many as he did on December 31, 2013 in which Patrick Karegeya was viciously murdered in a hotel room. The list of President Kagame’s victims is endless and every day the list grows longer.

South Africa continues to hold Rwanda accountable for their subversive actions on their soil and, clearly, will not tolerate these attempted terrorist activities any further. How these continued legal decisions against Rwanda affect the diplomatic row between the two countries remains to be seen. 

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