Earlier this month, Vincent Lurquin (62) a rotunda Belgian lawyer arrived in Kigali and was granted a tourist Visa. Clearly he had other motives, ulterior and dishonest. His plan was to visit and represent Paul Rusesabagina (whom he currently represents in Belgium) in his on-going case charged with acts of terrorism and other similar horrendous charges.

Let us be clear. Lurquin is NOT licensed to practice law in Rwanda and he did not take steps to get a reciprocal agreement with the Kigali Bar Association to make an appearance for Rusesabagina, and for that matter practice law in Rwanda. He also did not have a work permit to be gainfully employed in Rwanda.

Lurquin knew, or should have known, what the law demands before one can practice law in Rwanda. The mere fact that he traveled all the way from Belgium with his lawyer’s gown, wore it in court, shows his disrespect of Rwandan courts, and a cavalier attitude towards Rwanda’s laws.

There are no special laws for European lawyers, and there ought not to be. This sense of “white privilege” has no place ,in Rwanda especially and should send a clear and loud message to Lurquin-minded individuals that Rwanda does not tolerate such nonsense.

In the meantime, Rusesabagina’s supporters and sympathizers are crying foul, alleging that he has been denied access to his lawyers. Utter nonsense. In order to practice law in Rwanda there are specific requirements and standards which must be met by all, regardless of nationality, and regardless of the defendant’s notoriety.

Lurquin’s travel to Rwanda was clearly meant as a media stunt to deflect the seriousness of charges Rusesabagina faces. In fact he ought to have been charged with un-authorized practice of law to ensure that this street mentality is not repeated by others. To have attempted to join the defense team this late in the case, weeks before judgement is to be rendered is an indication of dishonesty.

Rusesabagina’s camp has run out of options in light of the mounting evidence against him. The on-going media campaign, especially by his step-daughter who has been making wild and child-like allegations of mistreatment of Rusesabagina are just that: helpless pleas for attention, un-founded and geared at creating sympathy in the West on behalf of this tragic and un-repentant man whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocent Rwandans.

As always, international media and so-called Human Rights organizations will make noise but eventually go mum. Rusesabagina has had his day in court and in the end justice will be served.

On his way out, as he was being escorted to the plane, Lurquin was belligerent and combative having been declared a prohibited immigrant. I bet this is not how he hoped to return home, a trip that was a rude awakening that will not soon be forgotten, and one I hope he shares with his colleagues.

Rwanda welcomes all, but come ready and willing to respect our laws. We are a small country, but we are not simple minded.