He appeared before the Nyarugenge intermediate court Friday in the capital, Kigali, where a judge ruled that a decision will be made on his bail application October 2.
Rusesabagina, 66, was appealing against last week’s ruling to remand him for 30 days.
His lawyers, Emelin Nyembo and David Rugaza, told the court that Rusesabagina should not be tried for crimes committed by the MRCD party, a coalition of opposition parties. The group’s military wing, FLN, is accused of several attacks on Rwandan territory in 2018.
Rusesabagina faces 13 charges related to terrorism, and is accused of being the “founder, leader and sponsor of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits,” Rwandan authorities have said.
He admitted to the court that he was a member of the MRCD and that general decisions were taken under the leadership of all parties, with each party having different functions.
He said, “MRCD was a coalition of four opposition political parties, my own party PDR-Ihumure was in charge of diplomatic mission, CNRD party was in charge of military operations hence forming military wing (National Liberation Front-FLN), others had other responsibilities.”
“The FLN was an armed group with specific role, mine was different. I was in charge of diplomacy,” he added.
At a hearing on September 17, the judge said the court had analyzed all 13 charges against Rusesabagina and concluded that there were compelling reasons to remand him for 30 days.
His lawyers questioned the jurisdiction of the court to try their client, saying he is a citizen of Belgium, with residence in the United States.
It is a sentiment echoed by his family. His daughter Carine Kanimba told CNN that he has no right to be put on trial as a Rwandan, as a Belgian citizen.
“We do not accept this whole attempt at pretending that this is a fair trial. We are begging the international community to help us. We are worried that they will kill him and they have already silenced him. The pictures we saw of him in court told us that he is frail and weak,” she said.
Kanimba said that a Belgian diplomat was able to visit her father, but that Rwandan officials were present.
There are also questions about how Rusesabagina came to be in Rwanda. His family believes he was kidnapped from Dubai in late August. In a video interview with the New York Times on September 15, Rusesabagina said he was supposed to go on a private plane to Burundi to speak to churches on August 28, but when he woke up, he was in Rwanda surrounded by soldiers.
Longstanding Kagame critic
Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide, which was led by Hutu extremists.