Embattled university professor Leo Mugesera will get a fresh hearing on Friday.
Mugesera is appealing Canada's decision to deport him back to Rwanda, where he faces charges relating to the 1994 genocide. Mugesera maintains his innocence and argues that the accusations by Rwanda are part of a vilification campaign against opponents of the Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame.
Meanwhile, the Rwandan Minister for Justice has called the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT), "racist". The UNCAT requested an immediate halt on the deportation which was scheduled to happen last week.
The minister's assumption is that the UNCAT is run by some white people filled with prejudice against African countries. In reality, there is nothing racist about questioning Rwanda's use of torture on both suspected and convicted opponents. It is quite bizarre and irresponsible that the minister feels comfortable using the race card.
This is the same minister that denies the existence of ethnicity in Rwanda. It shows that the minister is willing to play ethnicity if it suits his narrow goals. This is, in a nutshell, the paradox of post-genocide Rwanda. A small Tutsi elite maintains power by manipulating ethnicity to their advantage while denying its existence.
For human rights defenders, Mugesera's deportation proceeding has already scored us a few points. The fact that UNCAT has been brave enough to intervene speaks volumes. It makes it clear that state officials are not above the law, and that violations such as torture will have consequences.
One potential consequence is that states refuse to extradite suspects to states that practice torture. This may turn out to be Mugesera's lucky bet.