Léon Mugesera (Rwanda)

In 2005, CCIJ intervened in a case before the Supreme Court of Canada involving a deportation order against Leon Mugesera, a former Rwandan government official alleged to have given a speech that was later used to encourage others to carry out the Rwandan genocide.

CCIJ briefed the Supreme Court of Canada on numerous legal topics, most related to the issue of incitement to genocide. The Supreme Court upheld the deportation by finding that there was sufficient evidence that Mugesera, a Hutu, incited murder and hatred by encouraging attacks against the Tutsi minority in a speech he made during a 1992 political rally in Rwanda. The Government of Canada had been trying to deport Mugesera since 1995, two years after he and his family came to Canada as refugees. While living in Québec, he served as a lecturer at Laval University.

MugeseraMugesera remained in Canada for many years despite the deportation order and requests from the Rwandan government that he be returned to stand trial. In December 2011, the Canadian government determined that Mugesera would not be subject to persecution upon return to Rwanda and informed Mugesera that he would be deported in early 2012.

On January 11, 2012, Mugesera lost his appeal before the Federal Court in a bid to prevent his removal to Rwanda. However, he succeeded in obtaining a request by the United Nations Committee Against Torture to delay his deportation so that the Committee might examine whether there would be a danger he would be tortured in Rwanda. The Quebec Superior Court granted Mugesera a temporary stay of his deportation, pending a hearing on the Committee’s request. On January 23, the Superior Court refused to block the deportation. A last-second appeal to the Federal Court was rejected and Mugesera was deported the same day. He arrived in Kigali on January 24 where he remains on trial after several years.

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