Kicukiro Primary Court on Tuesday, May 24, ruled to conduct the pre-trial hearing of Miss Elsa Iradukunda in camera (closed to the public)

Kicukiro Primary Court on Tuesday, May 24, ruled to conduct the pre-trial hearing of Miss Elsa Iradukunda in camera (closed to the public)

Kicukiro Primary Court on Tuesday, May 24, ruled to conduct the pre-trial hearing of Miss Elsa Iradukunda in camera (closed to the public).

Iradukunda was crowned Miss Rwanda in 2017 and is pinned on various charges which are influencing assistants in judicial organs, giving false testimony as well as forgery, and use of forged documents.

She arrived at Kicukiro primary court at around 8:35, clad in a dark blue with white squared stripe suit and apple green shoes.

The case was called for mention at around 8:46 and the suspect was accompanied by her lawyer, Raphael Nyamaswa.

After reading her identity and outlining the crimes she is being accused of by the prosecution, the judge gave the prosecution time to present reasonable grounds for pinning her.

However, Iradukunda’s lawyer immediately requested that the proceedings be held in camera to let his client defend herself comfortably as well as protect other parties involved in the case, among other reasons.

The prosecution also agreed to the request, arguing that according to the nature of the case which includes elements that can endanger public morals, they also support holding the session in camera.

After listening to both sides, the presiding judge resolved to proceed with the session in camera.

The court will rule on the bail application on Wednesday, May 25.

What does the law say about holding the hearing in camera?

Law Nº 027/2019 of 19/09/2019 relating to the criminal procedure Official Gazette n° Special of 08/11/201

Article 131 states that a Hearing is conducted in public.

However, the court can decide to conduct the hearing in camera if the contents can endanger public order or public morals and at any time the judge believes it is necessary.

In case a hearing in camera is decided, the pronouncement of decisions on objections and incidental proceedings can also be conducted in camera.

The judgment on merits is always pronounced in public.

To what extent is the case held in camera?

In the interview with The New Times we thanks to this story, Faustin Bismarck Murangwa, a lawyer revealed that it is not a must to conduct the whole trial in camera citing an example where the bail hearing can be in camera and when the case reaches the substantial trial then the judges open it to the public among other possibilities.

In addition, he said that it all depends on the judge’s decisions.

Iradukunda was arrested on May 8. She was detained a few days after the arrest of Dieudonne Ishimwe, who is commonly known as Prince Kid, the CEO of Rwanda Inspiration Back-Up—an organisation that used to organise the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant.

She is accused of working to sabotage the investigation in a case in which Ishimwe faces charges of sexual harassment against contestants in the beauty pageant he organised.

Iradukunda was expected to appear in court with her co-accused Nasra Uwizeye, a public notary who allegedly illegally notarized documents believed to be affidavits from different people with view to absolve Ishimwe of the crimes he faces.

However, Uwizeye did not appear in court.

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