Rwandan president removes justice minister amid 'Hotel Rwanda' hero trial

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Johnston Busingye has been dismissed as the justice minister.
  • He has now been appointed Rwanda's ambassador to Britain.
  • Busingye's sacking comes amid international scrutiny over the trial of Paul Rusesabagina.


Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has removed the justice minister but made him ambassador to Britian amid international scrutiny over the trial of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotelier credited with saving many lives during the 1994 genocide.

A government statement issued on Tuesday gave no reason for the dismissal of Johnston Busingye, who had served as justice minister and attorney general since 2013.

Busingye was appointed Rwanda's ambassador to Britain, the statement said.

Kagame did not immediately name a new justice minister. Requests for comment to government spokespeople and the presidency office were not answered.

Rusesabagina was hailed as hero after he used his connections as the manager of a Kigali hotel to save ethnic Tutsis from slaughter during the genocide. He was portrayed in the 2004 Hollywood film "Hotel Rwanda".

Now he is accused of nine terrorism-related charges, including forming and funding an armed rebel group. Before his arrest, Rusesabagina, who was living in the United States, was a vocal critic of the Kagame government.

ALSO READ | Life sentence sought for 'Hotel Rwanda' hero

Prosecutors have requested a life sentence for Rusesabagina, whose family says he is in poor health and being mistreated in prison. The court is scheduled to issue its verdict on 20 September.

In an interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel in February, then Minister Busingye said the government had paid for the flight that brought Rusesabagina to Rwanda last year, which Rusesabagina's family said resulted in his kidnapping.

Rusesabagina's trial has drawn attention to Kagame, whom rights groups say has used authoritarian tactics to crush political opposition and extend his rule.

The government's arrest of Rusesabagina amounted to an enforced disappearance, a serious violation of international law, New York-based Human Rights Watch said at the time.

Kagame became head of state in 2000 after he and his rebel forces halted the genocide in 1994 after 100 days of bloodletting and around 800 000 deaths of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

He won landslide victories in subsequent elections, the most recent in 2017, when he won nearly 99% of the vote. He changed the constitution in 2015, enabling him to rule legally until 2034.


We want to hear your views on the news. Subscribe to News24 to be part of the conversation in the comments section of this article.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
The EFF has voted with the DA to ensure they now govern Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. Was this:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
A brilliant strategic move by the DA not to make formal coalition agreements
25% - 1491 votes
A brilliant strategic move by the EFF to force the DA to negotiate with them
16% - 982 votes
A recipe for disaster and five more years of unstable local government
59% - 3556 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.27
-1.9%
Rand - Pound
21.71
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
18.42
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.59
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.2%
Gold
1,792.60
0.0%
Silver
23.13
0.0%
Palladium
1,751.49
0.0%
Platinum
955.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
72.72
-11.6%
Top 40
62,411
-2.6%
All Share
68,615
-2.8%
Resource 10
64,074
-2.5%
Industrial 25
92,909
-1.3%
Financial 15
12,995
-6.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE