Rwanda Information Portal

Uganda Police raid refugee camps for Rwandans

Kampala: Police in South western Uganda raided the Nakivale settlements where some 10,000 Rwandan refugees live to forcefully repatriate them, refugee protection groups said Thursday.

The Ugandan authorities in the area lured the refugees on Wednesday morning and began rounding them up against their will to board trucks to return them to Rwanda, according International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) and the Refugee Law Project (RLP).

Shots were fired by police, say witnesses. Some individuals are said to have been injured during the process, and in some cases parents were separated from children. Reports further suggest that Rwandan security agents and authorities were present at the scene – which has been denied by officials in Rwanda.

A Ugandan government minister Musa Francis Ecweru said Wednesday evening that those being targeted for forced repatriation includes about 1,500 Rwandans who do not have refugee status. They include people who fled to Uganda recently and an evaluation of their status shows they are just economic migrants, said the Minister.

However, campaigners are bitter and are demanding for answers from the Ugandan authorities, and also “an immediate halt to the current removal process”.

“By removing settlement-based Rwandans in this manner, the Ugandan government is in breach of its own Citizenship and Immigration Act, which outlines the due processes by which failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their right of appeal should be deported,” said the two refugee protection groups.

“It has also violated the obligations created by domestic and international law, including the Constitution, the Children’s Statute and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These breaches come just days before the African Union Summit on ‘Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa’ is due to begin in Kampala.”

The two organizations last month released a damning report detailing accounts of purported Rwandans fleeing. Several of them interviewed claimed they could not return to Rwanda for fear of persecution.

The report made a number of recommendations to the governments of Uganda and Rwanda, and to UNHCR, in order to improve protection for this group of refugees.

In particular, it stated that the Ugandan government must scrupulously uphold its international and national legal obligations with regard to the protection of refugees and to the truly voluntary nature of any repatriation.

Incidentally, the report was published a day after President Kagame and Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo had described the fleeing individuals as “not genuine refugees”.

[ARI-RNA]

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July 15, 2010   No Comments

ICTR genocide defense lawyer killed in Tanzania

Prof Mwaikusa - ICTR Lawyer

Prof Jwani Timothy Mwaikusa - ICTR Lawyer

Dar es Salaam – Two gunmen on Tuesday night shot dead a top law professor and two other people during a raid at his home on Dar es Salaam’s outskirts in the latest incident in a wave of mounting crime in the city’s suburbs.

The death of Prof Jwani Timothy Mwaikusa, one of the country’s leading public law experts, plunged his family, neighbours, friends, colleagues and the entire legal fraternity into deep mourning yesterday.

The killers, who ambushed the University of Dar es Salaam’s School of Law lecturer as soon as he drove into the compound of his modest residence at SalaSala, on the northern outskirts of the city, felled him with two bullets – one into the head and the other into the chest.

Killed alongside the 58-year-old scholar, who was also a defence lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) at Arusha, were his nephew, Mr Gwamaka Mwaisanjala, 25, and a neighbour, Mr John Mtui. The neighbour was shot several metres away, as he led a group of villagers, who had responded to cries emanating from the professor’s home. All the victims died on the spot during the shocking incident that occurred just a few minutes after 10pm.

Yesterday, a high-powered team of detectives led by the Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr Robert Manumba, visited the scene of the heinous crime and launched a manhunt for the attackers who vanished into the night after the killings on Tuesday night.

The acting Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone commander, Mr Charles Kenyela, later in the afternoon used his regular press conference at the police headquarters to appeal to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects to come forward and assist with the investigations.
“We will do whatever it takes to capture these killers and bring them to book,” said Mr Kenyela.
He said the motive behind the professor’s slaying had not been established. However, he added, the suspects had escaped with briefcase snatched from Prof Mwaikusa’s car.

At their SalaSala home yesterday, relatives and friends, including the widow, Mrs Rofea Kinani Mwaikusa, were overcome with grief, as mourners poured into the compound to console the family.
Mrs Mwaikusa, who works for the ministry of Education and Vocational Training, was away in Morogoro attending a workshop when the sad news was broken to her by telephone. She immediately drove back home, arriving at 2am.

The University of Dar es Salaam’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Rwekaza Mukandala, and the dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof John Palamagamba Kabudi, and other members of the legal fraternity sent condolences to the family.
Prof Kabudi said Prof Mwaikusa’s death was not only a loss to his family, but also to the country as a whole. “He was a very committed, loyal, and a competent professor. His passion for training students was second to none,” he said.

In Arusha, staff at the ICTR court were stunned to learn of the death of Prof Mwaikusa, who had worked for over three years as a defence counsel for 74-year-old genocide suspect Yussuf Munyakazi. They said he had completed his defence and the court was due to deliver judgment anytime from now.

Prof Jwani Mwaikusa joined the University of Dar es Salaam in 1986 as an assistant lecturer in the then Faculty of Law. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Law in 1999. He was the chairman of the Centre for Media Studies, Research and Networking. Prof Mwaikusa, who was also a poet, had published numerous articles and book chapters on a wide range of subjects.

[The Citizen]

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July 15, 2010   1 Comment

Investigation Demanded into Rwandan Party Official’s Assassination

Andre Kagwa Rwisereka

Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, assassinated

The chairman of Rwanda’s opposition Democratic Green Party has called on President Paul Kagame’s government to begin a thorough investigation into the murder of the vice president of his party.

Frank Habineza said, despite repeated appeals to the government, the Minister of Interior has refused to give the opposition leaders protection after they received several threats ahead of the upcoming presidential election scheduled for 9th August.

“It is very sad and shocking that we heard that our vice president was murdered, his head was almost cut off, and he was also kind of stabbed in the chest. We would like now to call upon the Rwandan government and the national police to carry out (a) thorough investigation and let us know who is behind this killing and bring to justice his murderers,” he said.

The opposition party reported its vice president, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, missing a day before he was found dead near his abandoned car.

Rwanda’s police said they have launched an investigation into Rwisereka’s death despite not fully knowing the motive behind the opposition leader’s death, although they said they suspect robbery.

Police spokesman Eric Kayiranga was quoted as saying Rwisereka’s “body was found this (Wednesday) morning three kilometers (about two miles) from where his car was found, along with a large knife which may have been used in the killing. It was a kind of machete”.

But, opposition leader Habineza said the police have so far given contradictory reports.

“We have been getting conflicting reports so we haven’t gotten a clear message from the police. But, they are still carrying out investigations. There are some people who say it was robbery, but we understand that it was not robbery because yesterday (Tuesday) his car, which was push(ed) into the wetland, the police found out that his house keys were there inside the car,” Habineza said.

He dismissed allegations that Rwisereka was fleeing Rwandan authorities into neighboring Burundi saying the opposition leader’s passport was found in his bedroom.

Observers say the opposition leader’s death could heighten tensions ahead of the presidential vote.

Several human rights organizations have accused President Kagame’s government of strongly repressing dissenting views ahead of the upcoming election, a charge the government denies.

Rwandan government officials were not immediately available for comments despite repeated attempts.

[Voanews]

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July 15, 2010   No Comments

Call for international inquiry into the assassination of Rwandan Green Party Vice-Chair, Andre Rwisereka

by Permanent Consultative Council.

Call for International Inquiry into the assassination of Mr. Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA, the First Vice-President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.

The Permanent Consultative Council of opposition parties in Rwanda (PCC), is deeply concerned and shocked on the death of the First Vice President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Mr. Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA. We strongly condemn this inhuman action. We call upon the Rwandan Government to quicken its investigations and bring these criminals to justice. We also call for an international independent inquiry over the assassination of a key opposition leader.

The First Vice President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Mr. Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA who went missing yesterday 13th July 2010, was found dead on 14th July 2010. His head was almost completely removed from his body.
He was born on 31st Dec 1949, in Rusenge, Nyaruguru, Southern Province, Republic of Rwanda. He went into political exile in the early 1960’s. He stayed in DRC, where he obtained a degree of Education, while in DRC he was one of the senior members of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, especially in its struggle to liberate Rwanda. He has been a prominent businessman in Butare town.
He was among the founding members of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, founded on 14th August 2009, at Hotel ex-Novotel in Kigali. He is survived by four children.

In less than a month, the repression spree is alarmingly high rocketing:
– On 24th June 2010, Mr. Jean-Leonard RUGAMBAGE, a Rwandan Editor of UMUVUGIZI Newspaper, a critical voice, was shot dead in front of his home.
– Earlier that day, opposition members including Mr.Andre Kagwa RWISEREKA were arrested, many stayed in police custody for over a week, they revealed to the Judge serious marks of torture, ill-treatments and abusive hate language.
– On 19th June 2010, in Johannesburg, a Rwandan former Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General KAYUMBA NYAMWASA survived an assassination attempt.
– Another assassination case, was reported on 21st June 2010, in Gisenyi, Northern Rwanda of Denis Ntare SEMADWINGA, former Chief of Staff to General Laurent NKUNDA.
– SIBOMANA RUSANGWA Aimable Private Secretary for the Founder President of PS Imberakuri, was reported missing since 13th June. His whereabouts are completely unknown.
– Two local newspapers UMUSESO and UMUVUGIZI have been suspended while all the editing team of UMURABYO newspaper are now in police custody.

Only a few days ahead of the presidential election, the Rwandan opposition is in a very sorry state:

* The Parti Social IMBERAKURI, has been split into two factions, a pro-government wing and another one represented by Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, the founding President of PS Imberakuri, currently in a Kigali maximum prison for politically motivated crimes. Most of his colleagues were also arrested and released on bail. They told court and prosecution that they had been tortured while in detention.

* The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has been prevented from registering after trying several times. Its recent attempt was when it requested the Government to grant it permission to have a founding congress on 4th June 2010, so that it can be able to participate in the elections, but it never received any response from Gasabo District.
Earlier it had officially requested the Ministry of Local Government which is in charge of political parties to intervene in its situation. It never received any official response, despite having been invited to one meeting with Ministry officials. The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, still hopes that the Government will respond positively to its earlier requests.

* The FDU INKINGI, not yet registered as well, is facing a critical situation. It’s Chair, Ms Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA is still under extended house arrest; Mr. Sylvain SIBOMANA, the party Secretary General and Ms. Alice MUHIRWA, the party Treasurer, have been released on bail.
FDU Inkingi has tried several times to get registered but could not be allowed. The FDU-Inkingi had officially requested the Ministry of Local Government which is in charge of political parties to intervene in its situation, despite having been invited to a meeting with Ministry officials. It never received any official response.

The Permanent Consultative Council of opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC) calls for an independent international investigation on the assassination of the opposition key figure Mr. Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA, the murder of the journalist Jean-Léonard RUGAMBAGE and other allegations of tortures or death threats to opposition members.

We call upon the Government of Rwanda to use all means possible to ensure that there is peace and tranquillity in Rwanda, especially before and after the August Presidential elections.
We also call upon the Rwandan Government to allow the opposition parties get registered and work freely, release Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA of PS Imberakuri and waive all criminal charges levelled against opposition
members.

Issued at Kigali, 15th July 2010

Mrs. Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA
Chairperson, United Democratic Forces, FDU INKINGI

Mr. Frank HABINEZA
Chairman, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

Mr. Theobald MUTARAMBIRWA
Secretary General, PS Imberakuri

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July 15, 2010   No Comments

Reporters Without Borders urges European Union to blacklist Rwanda

Kigali – A prominent media rights group called on Wednesday on the European Union and other donors to suspend financial support for Rwanda’s “repressive” regime ahead of next month’s presidential polls.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres) said Rwanda’s government, led by President Paul Kagame, was responsible for “a series of grave press freedom violations” in the African country.

They included the arrest and detention of journalists, closure of Rwanda’s two leading independent newspapers for six months, and blocking access to another publication’s website.

“How much longer will the international community continue to endorse this repressive regime?” it asked in a statement.

“The international community is becoming its accomplice by supporting next month’s election, for which the preparations are being accompanied by widespread harassment and abuses.

“If the European Union stopped disbursing its funding, it would be clear sign of opposition to the Rwandan government’s practices.”

RSF said journalist Agnes Uwimana was arrested July 8 after publication of “sensitive” articles about the murder of newspaper editor Jean-Leonard Rugambage and the attempted murder of exiled general Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.

Rugambage, who had accused the Rwandan government of being behind an assassination attempt on a dissident general in South Africa, was gunned down near his house in Kigali on June 25.

According to Rwandan newspaper reports, two other journalists from Uwimana’s privately-owned fortnightly, Umurabyo, were detained on Tuesday.

Kagame, who has led the central African nation since the end of the 1994 genocide, is widely expected to win the August 9 election.

[AFP]

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July 15, 2010   No Comments