Paul Rusesabagina

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Paul Rusesabagina (2013)

Paul Rusesabagina (born June 15, 1954 in Murama-Guitarama ) is a former Rwandan hotel manager who became known through a rescue operation during the genocide of the Tutsi .

He was arrested on August 31, 2020 in Rwanda on charges of terrorism and sentenced to 25 years in prison on charges of terrorism in September 2021.


Rusesabagina was deputy director of the Hôtel des Mille Collines and later the director of the Hotel Diplomate, both in Kigali . In 1994 Rusesabagina took over the management of the Hôtels des Mille Collines, where he managed to save 1268 people from certain death. Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu himself and married to a Tutsi , lived in exile before his arrest, including in the United States and most recently in Belgium as a taxi operator. His family said he was kidnapped in Dubai , but authorities said he was arrested on entering Rwanda.

In 2000 Paul Rusesabagina was awarded the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity ; in 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom .

In February 2021, the trial of Paul Rusesabagina and 20 other co-defendants for supporting terrorist activities began before the criminal chamber for international crimes at the Rwandan Supreme Court. Supporters described the process as politically motivated because Rusesabagina is an opponent of Paul Kagame . In March he announced that he would be staying away from the hearing in the future. Trial observers from the Center for Human Rights of the American Bar Association criticized various procedural errors in a report in June 2021. The findings of the Belgian judicial authorities that incriminated Rusesabagina, passed on to Rwanda, played an important role in the process. On September 20, 2021, Rusesabagina was found guilty of the financial and logistical support of the Front de liberation national (FLN), the armed arm of the opposition coalition Mouvement rwandais pour le changement démocratique (MRCD), which Rusesabagina co-founded . The FLN was responsible for fatal attacks on civilians in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019. The sentence was 25 years imprisonment.


In 2010 it was reported that the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, which he set up, had not used any money for its purpose of supporting survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media, Rusesabagina is said to have taken money from the refugees as if they were hotel guests. Those who could not pay allegedly received neither water nor food and are said to have been locked out of the hotel room. In some cases he is said to have asked for property to be transferred instead of cash. The refugee Edouard Kayihura also described in his book Inside the Hotel Rwanda in 2014 that Rusesabagina exploited the refugees in the hotel and treated them badly. Rusesabagina defends himself against the allegations. Although he initially took money from hotel guests, he was still in a situation when genocide was not yet to be expected. Terry George , director of the film Hotel Rwanda , also protested against the allegations made against Rusesabagina in 2006 and 2014.


The film Hotel Rwanda is essentially based on the story of Rusesabagina, with Don Cheadle in the lead role . Occasionally he was referred to as " Oskar Schindler of Rwanda" because of his courageous actions .


  • Paul Rusesabagina, Tom Zoellner: An ordinary person. The real story behind "Hotel Rwanda". Berlin-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-8270-0633-3 .

Web links

Commons : Paul Rusesabagina  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Suspicion of terrorism: "Hotel Rwanda" hero arrested. Accessed August 31, 2020 .
  4. Why Rwanda cannot win US backing to try Rusesabagina , The Independent, November 16, 2010
  5. "Hotel Rwanda" - Hero in Criticism , SZ, January 2012
  6. Book Excerpt: The Real Story Behind 'Hotel Rwanda' , Newsweek , April 7, 2014
  7. Terry George : Smearing a Hero , The Washington Post, May 10, 2006
  8. Terry George : How a Film Could Get You 25 Years in Jail! , The Huffington Post, April 11, 2014
  9. Michael Kohler: Hotel Ruanda (film review), film-dienst 7/2005, p. 20.