Rwanda Information Portal

Green Party of Rwanda backtracts and returns to the Permanent Consultative Council of Rwandan opposition parties

Kigali – Less than 24 hours after he publicly announced withdrawal of his party from the ‘Permanent Consultative Council’ of Rwandan opposition parties, the chair of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda retracts his statement and re-joins the two other opposition parties FDU-Inkingi and PS-Imberakuri.
He writes:

Press Release : We have not accused, judged or abandoned Ms. Victoire INGABIRE

After the publication of our Press Release on the Withdrawal of our membership from the Permanent Consultative Council (PCC), dated 15th June 2010, we have noted with great concern that several media houses have misinterpreted our message by assuming that we have accused, judged and abandoned Ms.Victoire INGABIRE. We would like to make the following clarifications :

1. We are not accusing, judging or abandoning Ms.Victoire INGABIRE, we believe that she is still innocent in the eyes of the law. We have not said that she is the one behind the Coalition of Democratic Forces –CDF. No one should misinterpret us.

2. Withdrawing from PCC did not mean that we are accusing or convicting FDU Inkingi on any criminal activity, we wanted these accusations which kept on coming in different forms to first be made clear.

3. We call upon the Rwandan Government to accord her a quick and fair trial.

4. We still stand with all the statements we signed while still in the PCC and have retracted the previous statement. In that case we have resumed our membership in the PCC after the three Parties have sat down and fully discussed and resolved the previous concerns.

5. More details will be availed soon in a joint communiqué to be signed by all the three parties.

Done at Kigali, 16th June 2010

Frank HABINEZA
Founding President
Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

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June 16, 2010   No Comments

Former UN investigator and prosecutor defends Peter Erlinder and pleads for truth disclosure about Rwanda genocide

Here is the “ill-informed” article written in the Guardian by Andrew Wallis, an unconditional admirer of Paul Kagame:

Genocide law on trial

Peter Erlinder, the US defence lawyer at the international court for Rwanda (ICTR), was arrested for breaking the law on genocide denial in Rwanda. This is not a matter of “repression” of freedom of expression by the government in Kigali (Rwanda genocide tribunal under threat after US lawyer’s detention, 9 June). Mr Erlinder has made clear in speeches defending key genocide perpetrators at the ICTR, and at conference events such as that held in Belgium two weeks ago which welcomed wanted Rwandan genocide suspects alongside him as speakers, that he believes there was no organised genocide in 1994.

Would Germany, with its strict Holocaust denial laws, be expected to allow genocide deniers to work and promulgate their views in its society and open court? Yet again it seems there is one law for the west and one for Africa when it comes to genocide. The western media would do better to focus on the dozens of Rwandan suspects living in Europe with the apparent complicity – or at least judicial and political apathy – of governments here.

Dr Andrew Wallis

University of Cambridge
in The Guardian, Monday 14 June 2010.

[About holocaust versus Rwanda genocide, read Rwanda Circa 1994 is No Nazi Germany by Aimable.]

To the Editor
Guardian Newspaper
London
15 June 2010

Dear Sir/Madam: I was stunned by the recent ill informed remarks of Dr. Andrew Wallis, University of Cambridge in your newspaper on 14 June 2010 regarding Rwanda’s arrest and prosecution of American lawyer Peter Erlinder for alledgedly denying the Rwandan genocide contrary to Rwanda’s domestic criminal code.

I am a former Investigations Team Leader with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (‘ICTR’) from 1996-1997. I and my colleagues were charged with investigating and arresting those persons involved in the widespread slaughter of countless thousands of civilians in Rwanda between January-December 1994. I was also charged with investigating those persons responsible for the fatal rocket attack on the Rwandan Presidential aircraft.

I feel qualified to speak in defence of Dr. Erlinder.

He is a UN defence lawyer. I am a former UN investigator and prosecutor. We effectively sit on opposite sides of the bar table before the international community. But we are one in our search for the truth about the real causes of, and culprits responsible for, the Rwandan Genocide.

I join the many lawyers and human rights advocates from around the world who now come to his defence.

I can tell you from personal experience that the ICTR has totally failed to investigate fully and impartially the real causes of the Rwandan genocide. It has failed to hold accountable all those responsible for the slaughter of an estimated 1,000,000 men, women and children in Rwanda in 1994. It has prosecuted only the losers of the genocide. It has buckled to international pressure to keep secret the involvement of foreign powers in the events which led up the to slaughter.
There is overwhelming credible evidence suggesting prima facie that Paul Kagame and his armed forces were involved the in slaughter of many thousands of civilians in Rwanda in 1994 and 1995.
There is significant credible evidence on the public record linking President Kagame with the shooting down of the Rwandan presidential aircraft in 1994 killing the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and all others on board.

Paul Kagame and his regime in Rwanda has for many years now successfully denied these allegations in the press accusing any and all who touches on them as ‘genocide deniers’. What Kagame and his administration are saying, in effect, is that anyone who points the finger at Kagame and his RPF regime alleging their complicity in the violation of international law (no matter how credible the evidence) is a ‘genocide denier’. The net effect is, a ‘genocide denier’ under Rwanda law, is someone who challenges the carefully crafted victor’s history in Rwanda that only one side slaughtered civilians and assassinated political opposition.

I am stunned at the way the West now embraces Kagame and how universities flock to award him for his leadership in Rwanda. Quite apart from the serious allegations leveled at Kagame and his troops for their involvement in war crimes in 1994, many respected human rights advocates have for years complained of his repressive regime and its intolerance of policitcal opposition. One need only look at the recent events concerning the arrest of prosecution of Rwandan opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire, the leader of the United Democratic Forces, who had been attempting to register her party and is now under house arrest for allegedly denying the 1994 genocide.

Kagame’s fingerprints are all over so much suffering in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region and Dr. Wallis had the real opportunity to join the international struggle to properly document what really happened in Rwanda in 1994, as well as, call for a full independent international inquiry into Kagame’s involvement in the murders of Rwandan President Habyarimana, his counterpart Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, and the many countless others who have perished in Rwanda.

If to speak of these topics is to be a genocide denier then I am one too.

Michael Hourigan
Attorney
Australia

June 16, 2010   11 Comments

United Nations asserts Peter Erlinder’s immunity and requests immediate release from Rwanda jail

Kigali – Following advice from the United Nations’ Office of Legal Affairs, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday 15th June urged Rwandan authorities to immediately release Prof. Peter Erlinder, a US lawyer accused of supporting “genocide ideology”.

The United Nations’ Office of Legal Affairs “advised the ICTR to formally assert immunity for Professor Erlinder without delay and request his immediate release accordingly.

The ICTR hereby notifies the Rwandan authorities that Professor Erlinder enjoys immunity and requests therefore, his immediate release,” writes the Tanzania-based court.

Here is the ICTR letter to the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation:

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Tribunal Pénal International pour le Rwanda

Arusha International Conférence Centre

P.O.Box 6016, Arusha, Tanzania – B.P. 6016, Arusha, Tanzanie

Tel: 255 27 2564207-11 2564367-72 or 1 212 963 2850 Fax: 255 27 2564000/4373 or 1 212 963 2848/49

Office of the Registrar Cabinet du Greffier

ICTR/RO/06/10/175

NOTE VERBALE

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Government of Rwanda and has the honour to refer to its previous Note Verbales of 31 May 2010, 9 and 10 June 2010 as well as the response from Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga of 2 June 2010 concerning the arrest in Kigali, on 28 May 2010, of Professor Peter Erlinder on allegations of genocide denial. Professor Erlinder is an American lawyer in charge of the defence of Mayor Aloys Ntabakuze before the ICTR.

Following the arrest of Professor Erlinder, the ICTR sought clarification from the Rwandan authorities on the motives of this arrest through its Note Verbale of 31 May 2010. This request drew from the need for the ICTR to ascertain the applicability of any immunity or privilege which Defence Counsel assigned to cases before this Tribunal enjoy in the context of their mandate.

In his response, Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga indicated that Professor Erlinder’s arrest was “not at all related to his assignments at the ICTR”.

Having subsequently learned that Professor Blinder underwent a hearing before the High Court of Gasabo, the Tribunal requested, on 9 June, the Rwandan authorities to provide a formal copy of the charges leveled against Professor Erlinder. On 10 June, the ICTR transmitted another Note Verbale to the same end in compliance with an order of the Appeals Chamber sitting in the case of Mayor Ntabakuze. The Chambers’ decision was attached to that Note Verbale.

In the meantime, the ICTR received the decision on the bail hearing for the Erlinder’s case held on 7 June 2010 before the High Court of Gasabo. The ICTR notes that the Prosecution appearing before the High Court made specific references to words Professor Erlinder spoke and statements he made in his case before the ICTR. Excerpts of those submissions read as follows: “Carl Peter Erlinder denied and minimized the genocide by stating that the soldiers he was defending neither planned nor carried out the genocide. The Accused affirmed that his clients were rather defending national integrity. Prosecution Counsel submitted that the Accused did not end there, as he denied and minimized the genocide in other cases” […] “While he was Defence Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Carl Peter Erlinder submitted that what happened was a massacre of members of the population” […] “the Accused considers the genocide as a war and, even in the Military I case, he submitted that the killings committed against the Tutsi in 1994 did not constitute genocide. He further states that in Rwanda, this issue is being used as a hurdle against those who want to challenge Kagame during the 2010 elections”.

Although no formal copy of the charges brought against Professor Erlinder has been received yet, the ICTR takes the view that the decision of the High Court constitutes a sufficient basis to identify a link between the nature of the accusations against Professor Erlinder and his mandate with this Tribunal.

The ICTR recalls that Article VI, Section 22, of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, to which the Republic of Rwanda is a party, provides that: “experts (other than officials coming within the scope of Article V) performing missions for the United Nations shall be accorded […] in particular […] [i]n respect of words spoken or written and acts done by them in the course of their performance of their mission, immunity from legal process of every kind. The immunity from legal process shall continue to be accorded notwithstanding that the persons concerned are no longer employed in the mission for the United Nations.”

Under the circumstances, the ICTR seized the Office of Legal Affairs in the United Nations Secretariat in New York which is ultimately responsible for providing advice on immunity related matters. In light of the above, the Office of Legal Affairs advised the ICTR to formally assert immunity for Professor Erlinder without delay and request his immediate release accordingly.

The ICTR hereby notifies the Rwandan authorities that Professor Erlinder enjoys immunity and requests therefore, his immediate release.

The ICTR avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Esteemed Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda the assurances of its highest consideration.

Arusha,15 June 2010

Copies:

  • Honorable Martin Ngoga, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Rwanda
    Office of the Prosecutor-General, Kigali, Republic of Rwanda
  • His Excellency, Honorable Tharcisse Karugarama, Minister of Justice Kigali, Republic of Rwanda

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Coopération
Attention:
Her Excellency, Honorable Louise Mushikiwabo
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Kigali, Republic of Rwanda

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June 16, 2010   1 Comment

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda withdraws from the ‘Permanent Consultative Council’ of Rwandan opposition parties

Frank Habineza - Chair of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

Frank Habineza

The Chair of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Frank HABINEZA, has announced the withdrawal from the ‘Permanent Consultative Council’ (PCC) of Rwandan opposition parties on Tueday 15th June.
The PCC was created in Kigali on 19th February 2010 by three opposition parties: FDU-Inkingi represented by Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda represented by Mr. Frank Habineza and PS-Imberakuri represented by Mr. Bernard Ntaganda.
Here is the Green Party’s statement:

Withdrawal from The Permanent Consultative Council

After careful analysis and consideration of contents of the information published on 10th June 2010, on a website known as : http://rwandaises.fr/ titled : FDU INKINGI AND VICTOIRE INGABIRE UMUHOZA, describing the nature of issues raised by FDU Inkingi and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

After having seen a letter, claiming to come from CDF- Coalition of Democratic Forces, dated 21st May 2010, addressed to the President of the Republic, mentioning that if President Kagame does not resign before the August 9th Elections, they will resort to using force and that the country will go back into blood shed, also asserting that, they hope the President has seen enough evidences.

Considering that these are the same issues raised by the Rwandan Prosecution on the on-going case of Ms.Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and understanding that she has not given her defense yet.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, is unable to continue with its membership in the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC), we are therefore withdrawing our membership from PCC until the exact truth in this case is made clear to all Rwandans.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, would like to inform, its members, the media fraternity, the Rwandan Public and the International Community, that it has decided to take this decision, because this case is compromising the fundamental principles which the party is built on.

We would like to emphasize that we are still an opposition party ; we declared this on 14th August 2009 at Hotel Laico (Ex-Novotel) in Kigali. We joined the PCC in February 2010. Therefore, this withdrawal of our membership from PCC does not mean that we have changed our political line of being an opposition party.

Done at Kigali, 15th June 2010

Frank HABINEZA
Founding President
Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

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June 16, 2010   1 Comment