Gerrie Nel in court over judicial inquest into death of former Rwandan Head of Intelligence

Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, today appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in a judicial inquest into the death of Col. Patrick Karegeya, the former Head of Intelligence in Rwanda. The magistrate will give judgement on Monday 21 January 2019 regarding AfriForum’s application that the judicial inquiry be stopped.

Karegeya, who sought asylum in South Africa after fleeing Rwanda, was found strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg in 2013. According to the police docket, Karegeya visited a former colleague and friend in the relevant hotel. After the death of Karegeya, three Rwandan men (including the friend) left South Africa within hours. There are allegations that the Rwandan embassy picked up some of them outside the hotel and flew them to Rwanda.

After five years of inaction, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has now decided to submit the matter before the Magistrate for a judicial inquest to be held into the death of Karegeya. This follows after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit was approached on behalf of Karegeya’s family and other parties to determine why his death was not proficiently investigated.

“We however regard this judicial inquest as an abuse of legal proceedings, as well as the ‘cover-up’ of an abhorrent crime, which resulted from the NPA’s unwillingness or prohibition to prosecute and/or to direct an in-depth and proficient investigation. A judicial inquest is not the suitable legal route in this case and the NPA’s decision is inexplicable based on the contents of the docket,” says Adv. Nel.

A judicial inquest should only be held to determine the following: The identity of the deceased; cause and date of death; and whether the death was brought about by any act amounting to an offence on the part of any person. The answer to all four questions is apparent. The NPA also did not apply for mutual legal assistance from the Rwandan government, nor for the extradition of the relevant individuals.

Adv. Nel and his team have therefore requested the convocation of a pre-trial meeting with the presiding Inquest Magistrate, during which they would have raised their concerns. This however never materialised and Nel raised these concerns at the commencement of the inquest hearing. The proceedings will be used to show that the legal system failed the victims of this crime, as there were no attempts to find and arrest any of the known suspects.

AfriForum trusts that our Government would never allow South Africa to be used by assassins as an arena to hunt down and terminate targets, whether politically motivated or not. That is why Adv. Nel and his team are assisting Karegeya’s family in this matter.

View a video with feedback from Advocate Gerrie Nel here.

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