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Rwanda: “This woman will be where she belongs”, says Kagame about opposition leader Victoire Ingabire

In his exclusive interview with Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki, President Paul Kagame shows, in strong terms, that he is determined to bar opposition leader Ms Victoire Ingabire from running for presidential office.
Here is what The Monitor reports:

Daniel Kalinaki:
Q/ How do you respond to criticism that the arrest of Victoire Ingabire has been done to try and prevent her from establishing a political party and running against you as a candidate, that you are using genocide laws to clamp down on political dissent…

Kagame:
“First, Ingabire is not accused of having been involved in the genocide because she was not here. She was abroad. She’s actually been out of the country for 17 years but that’s not the problem.

But while she was there, before she came to contest in these elections, she had been doing things that, in the end, would put her into trouble and she knew about it but of course these people always operate under the assumption that, you know, ‘we can do all this but when we come for things like elections in the country the international community will not allow these people to [do anything about it]’ even when they know they have been involved in wrong doing.

Even the UN itself has information; they wrote about this person, giving details about how she was connected with the FDLR, these genocidaires who live in the Congo and who have been killing Congolese and our own people.

On our side we have evidence, which has been brought to her attention, and about 10 things she has been denying. Now she’s saying that seven of them are actually true and this has come as a result of the overwhelming evidence that was put in front of her including the people she was working with, the former soldiers in the FDLR who are here in our hands, who are testifying to these accusations.”

Daniel Kalinaki:
Q/ What are the accusations?

Kagame:
“First of all that she had been visiting FDLR in the Congo just before she came.
Initially she had denied, that she only used to just give supportive comments. Then the evidence of these FDLR colonels who are here with us and when they confronted her they said ‘you were with us’ and she said ‘yeah, I’m sorry I visited you so many times’. This is in court of law.

Then they said you were contributing money, supplied money to FDLR she was saying no. In our collaboration in the Congo and so on, through their justice institutions and ours, they now have bank documents which prove that she actually supplied money, not once, not twice, but several times.

She visited them, not once, not twice. When initially she was being accused, she did not know that we had these people in our custody.

When we confronted her afterwards she almost collapsed. This is in broad daylight, in courts of law.

This is somebody, a candidate, a so-praised opposition leader, yes, but wait a minute; if there are cases to answer, you answer them.
It doesn’t matter how outsiders talk about it and insult us and abuse us and all sorts of things and praise her for being so Godly and being a very powerful opposition leader but there are cases here to answer.

Yes we’ve earned a bad name for no good reason but issues are being sorted out. This woman will certainly be where she belongs.
She was charged in the court of law, she’s now out on bail but the matters are serious and are there as a matter of fact.

How then do I explain myself or for this country beyond that? Now the outsiders who want so badly Ingabire to be an opposition leader here or later on be our president, well, they may wait for a while.

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May 24, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda: Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire has confessed, says President Kagame

Here is an article from Daily Monitor in which Kagame claims Victoire Ingabire confessed seven out of ten counts.

Kagame speaks exclusively to Daily Monitor

Kampala – President Paul Kagame has defended the arrest of opposition politician Victoire Ingabire over allegations that she supported and funded groups linked to the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
In an exclusive interview with Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki in Kigali last week, President Kagame denied criticism that Ms Ingabire’s arrest was a ploy to keep the opposition politician from running in presidential elections in August.
First Ingabire isn’t accused of having been involved in the genocide because she was not here. She was abroad. She’s actually been out of the country for 17 years but that’s not the problem,” he said.

But before she came to contest in these elections she had been doing things that, in the end, would put her into trouble and she knew that.

We have evidence, which has been brought to her attention and about 10 things she has been denying. Now she’s saying that seven of them are actually true and this has come as a result of the overwhelming evidence that was put in front of her.”

Ms Ingabire denies the allegations and officials close to her, as well as international human rights groups and observers say her prosecution is politically motivated. However, President Kagame, who was nominated as the ruling RPF party candidate for the elections, said Ms Ingabire’s trial would go ahead.

In the wide-ranging interview, President Kagame also spoke about falling out with senior officials in his government, his relationship with France, Uganda and DR Congo but also takes some personal questions about his family and his own life.
Full interview on Monitor online on Sunday and Monday.

Source: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/923224/-/x061xv/-/index.html

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May 24, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda: Victoire Ingabire to Paul Kagame: “Do not hold in contempt your own justice system”

by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Victoire Ingabire - Chair FDU-Inkingi

Victoire Ingabire - Chair FDU-Inkingi

As the United States defence legal team led by Professor Peter Erlinder set foot in Rwanda today, a presidential exclusive interview justifying why his government will freeze in jail Ms. Victoire Ingabire, FDU INKINGI presidential candidate, is making headlines. Though the threat is clear crystal, the saddest is that it’s full of sheer lies and an obvious contempt of the Rwandan justice. I was honoured by the incumbent’s calumniation alleging that I confessed to 7 charges out of ten things the prosecution came up with, and that his regime has overwhelming evidence for my trial.

The exclusive interview granted in Kigali last week by President Paul Kagame to Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki (online since 22nd May 2010) is disturbing.
Either the Monitor is spreading forgery, fiction or falsification, either the President is overtaking and derailing the justice system he tailored from scratch. In either case, he needs to clear this situation.

He stated:

“…Now she’s saying that seven of them are actually true (…). Initially she had denied that she only used to just give supportive comments. Then the evidence of these FDLR colonels who are here with us and when they confronted her they said ‘you were with us’ and she said ‘yeah, I’m sorry I visited you so many times’. This is in court of law”.

He continued:

“When we confronted her afterwards she almost collapsed. This is in broad daylight, in courts of law. This is somebody, a candidate, a so-praised opposition leader, yes, but waits a minute; if there are cases to answer, you answer them… This woman will certainly be where she belongs. She was charged in the court of law …”

I am seriously wondering if the President is talking about my case or another story.
Of course everybody knows he can arbitrary order my arrest anytime he wants, but if he needs a court of justice to do that job for him he should respect some legal rules as well.
The separation of powers and the rule of law are guaranteed by the constitution.

The President should avoid putting pressure on courts and judges. Most judges in Rwanda are nominated but under the current regime only a super-judge can resist such injunction. Nevertheless it’s in nobody’s interest to challenge a presidential command. This is a blatant violation of the independence of a judge.
The colour of the court ruling in my case will be a result of this unrelenting presidential pressure on the system. We all know that this politically motivated case was initiated by the President who, visibly and closely is still pulling the strings all the steps around.

The current justice system built on scratch in the last decades is still very fragile and politicians, especially the President or any of his cronies should not meddle into pending court affairs and deliberations.
How Rwandans and the world will know the truth in case of an expeditive justice? As the case is still pending with the court, there is such thing as sub judice and he can not just publicly comment on a case, interfere with judicial proceeding or put pressure on magistrates and still make people believe there is independent justice.

Many Rwandans are victim of similar practices under the mercy of those in power.
Justice appeared to be served, but the scars would never heal for the victims, their families and our people.
This might be one of the reasons why the regime has sealed off the political space, and is instead yelling out the pretext to avoid backsliding to genocide.

As far as I am concerned, the court hearings on the so-called overwhelming evidence or ghost proofs have not yet started.
I was arbitrarily arrested on 21st April 2010, and released on bail the second day. Until now the prosecutor is not yet in order with his papers.
I have never met the much publicised FDLR renegades in the hands of the regime. There has never been any confrontation.
The non-violence is and will always be my motto.

Many questions remain unanswered: how is the President planning to extract forced confessions? Considering the fact that only 3 counts were levelled against my person, while the President is talking about 10, when his services will release and substantiate the remaining charges? Will it happen after the presidential campaign is closed?

Since my return to Rwanda in January 2010, I have been trying to get my political party, FDU INKINGI, registered and by 6 times, the government derailed our constitutional congress. The official reason is the criminal charges levelled and the subsequent never-happening trial.

Don’t shy away free and fair competition and to stop using justice for your own purposes. There will be no democracy and justice for all without truth and healing.

Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza,
Chair FDU INKINGI

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May 24, 2010   5 Comments

Criminal defense lawyers dispute Rwanda’s genocide history

Here is an interesting article written by Ann Garrison and published in Sfbayview


Rwandan Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga threatened Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza with arrest if she keeps talking to the press and accused the international criminal lawyers at the Second International Criminal Defense Conference in Brussels of genocide denial.

The ad hoc organizing committee of the Second International Criminal Defense Conference being held in Brussels on May 21-23 thanked Rwandan Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga and Kigali’s New Times for publicizing their efforts.

This week, as the conference dates approached, The New Times published several articles condemning it and quoting Ngoga saying, “For a few years now, some defense lawyers at the ICTR have badly deviated from their professional duties and turned into activists and advocates of genocide denial.”

Ngoga and The New Times thus drew international attention to the significance of the conference to the ongoing struggle over disputed histories of Rwanda’s 1994 tragedy and related violence in Central Africa, both before and since.

Last week Ngoga warned leading opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire that she might be jailed once again if she continues speaking to the press. The election is scheduled for Aug. 9. Ingabire has not been allowed to register to formally run against Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The ad hoc conference organizing committee also said that they are defending the right to freedom of speech and thought and expect the conference to be a non-disruptive exchange of ideas that would be subjected to public critique and historical and scientific evaluation, as the ideas exchanged at the November 2009 Hague Conference on the Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda were.


Cover of the Human Rights Watch publication, “Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: A Digest of the Case Law of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,” issued in January 2010.

They said that Rwanda Chief Prosecutor Ngoga had mischaracterized the historic Military-1 Trial Judgment of February 2009 in the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, which completely rejects the theory that what the world has come to know as the Rwanda Genocide was the result of a longstanding conspiracy planned well in advance of April 1994, as the Nazi death camps were planned by the Third Reich.

They reaffirmed that the judgment had:

  • Acquitted all four defendants of “planning or conspiracy” to commit genocide or other crimes, either before or after April 6, 1994;
  • Acquitted the highest ranking officer to be tried at the ICTR, Gen. Gratien Kabiligi, of all charges; and
  • Acquitted Col. Bagosora (who is represented by Rafael Constant of Paris, not Professor Erlinder) of all charges that occurred before April 6 and after April 8, 1994.

The committee also said, “Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s regime habitually calls its political opponents ‘criminals’ as has been demonstrated in the arrest and prosecution of Madame Victoire Inagabire and others in the run-up to the August presidential elections,” and “Kagame used the same tactic to virtually eliminate political opposition in the 2003 sham presidential election that formalized his monolithic regime.”

The conference organizing committee rejected the Kagame government’s efforts to make it illegal to question the role of Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front Party (RPF) in crimes that the RPF instead accuses its opponents of.

They said that Kagame and the RPF’s responsibility for the assassinations of the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda is the subject of French and Spanish indictments and of a wrongful death civil case in U.S. federal court and that RPF responsibility for these crimes has been confirmed by former Chief ICTR Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and others from ICTR Prosecutor’s Office.

Members of the ad hoc organizing committee of this week’s International Criminal Defense Conference in Brussels were Professor Peter Erlinder, Beth Lyons, Ken Ogetto, John Philpot and Andre Tremblay.

Kagame threatens challenger with prison for talking to press

President Kagame’s chief opponent in the Aug. 9 election, Victoire Ingabire, is now facing criminal charges brought against her for challenging Kagame and his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front Party government. According to Ngoga:

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, presidential candidate of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi Party, has been warned that she will be arrested again if she continues to speak to the international press. – Photo: FDU-Inkingi Party

“The prosecution is more specifically concerned with the continued posting of declarations and newspaper interviews she has been doing. The case against her is not one of robbery in which restraining physical movement would be enough to contain further damage. It is a case of destructive and divisive ideology whose damage does not require physical proximity of the offender.”

Law Professor Peter Erlinder, the U.S. attorney and lead defense counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, who has been retained to defend Ingabire, said:

“Ngoga’s threats reveal that the real purpose of the criminal charges against Madame Ingabire is to serve notice that no political opposition will be tolerated in Rwanda. And that the 2003 ‘sham elections,’ as reported by EU election monitors and other outside human rights observers, will be repeated in 2010, unless the Rwandan government completely changes its policies to permit a functioning democracy.”

Ingabire is charged with associating with terrorists and violations of the “genocide ideology” statutes creating speech and thought crimes unique to Rwanda, which Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and even the U.S. State Department have denounced.

Professor Erlinder will appear at Ingabire’s next hearing, on May 24 in Kigali, to insist on her continued release on bail, return of her computers and property, an end to the state’s interference with her presidential campaign and the full disclosure of prosecution evidence and witnesses.

Erlinder has said he intends to argue that Ingabire’s internationally recognized rights to free speech have been violated and that she is being denied due process.

He has also submitted letters to his Minnesota senators and congressional representative and to the U.S. State Department to request protection, stating that he has reason to believe that his own life could be in danger while he is in Rwanda because of leaked memos identifying him as a foreign enemy of the government and target for assassination.

The Human Rights Committee of the EU Parliament has written to Rwanda’s Ambassador to Belgium Gérard Ntwari objecting to Ingabire’s arrest and to ongoing repression of political and civil rights, including the right to free speech.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in San Francisco, a regular contributor to the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, Global Research and Digital Journal and a news producer forKPFA Radio, Berkeley. This story combines two stories that first appeared on Digital Journal, at http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292310 and http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292033.


Preventing the Falsification of History from TPIR heritage on Vimeo.

Plus d’ information sur: www.tpirheritagedefense.org

May 24, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo elected as presidential candidate by PSD congress

Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, PSD Flag BearerDr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, PSD Flag Bearer

The fourth congress of the Social Democratic Party (Parti Social Démocrate) PSD has this Saturday May 22nd met in Kicukiro and elected Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo as the party’s flag bearer in the forthcoming presidential polls.
The party members have also once again elected Dr. Vincent Biruta to remain as the party’s chairman.
Soon after his endorsement as the party’s proposed presidential candidate, Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo thanked his fellow party members for trusting with the responsibility to represent his party during the august presidential elections.

Addressing the members, Ntawukuriryayo explained that in the 2003 elections PSD supported RPF’s candidate Paul Kagame because at the time, the country was still emerging from a bad regime with a lot of problems that needed to be addressed. He added that PSD has endorsed its party’s flag bearer as an indication of the major strides it has made politically over the years adding that the principles of justice, solidarity and development will continue to be upheld.

Dr. Ntawukuriryayo was Health Minister for several years until two years ago just before the August 2008 Parliamentary elections. He was on the PSD list of candidates for parliament. In the House, he was elected as Vice President.

As Health Minister, Dr. Ntawukuriryayo was the brain behind the health insurance scheme Mutuelle de Sante – which is now said to be covering more than 80% of the population.

Meanwhile in the same event the Social Democratic Party elected the executive committee for the next five years:
President: Dr. Vincent Biruta
First Vice-President: Marc Rugenera
Second Vice-President: Jacqueline Mukakanamugenge
Secretary General: Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo
Treasurer: Penelope Kantarama.

Present at PSD’s fourth congress was an RPF representative Aloyisia Inyumba, PL’s chairman Protais Mitali and the permanent secretary of the forum of political parties in Rwanda Anicet Kayigema.

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May 24, 2010   3 Comments