Paul Rusesabagina, the man who was hailed a hero in a Hollywood movie about the country's 1994 genocide is detained and paraded in front of media in handcuffs at the headquarters of Rwanda Investigation Bureau in Kigali, Rwanda August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Clement Uwiringiyimana/File Photo

Paul Rusesabagina, the polarising hero of the “Hotel Rwanda” film, admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes.

Rusesabagina is famed for his depiction in the movie in which he is shown to have saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide, which left some 800 000 dead.

After years in exile, where he has become a fierce government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being lured into a private jet under false pretences.

In recent years Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad.


While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear.

“We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” he said in court Friday.

“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy.”

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