Rwanda Information Portal

Rise up against tyranny and impunity in Rwanda and DRC

Jambo ASBL calls Rwandan and Congolese communities all over Europe to rise up against tyranny and impunity

Join us all this Monday, December 6, 2010
at 12:30 pm
in Rue Mont des Arts 1000 Brussels, Belgium.

Between 6 and 8 million Congolese and Rwandan civilians mostly women and children were massacred during the past 20 years in the region of the Great Lakes. It is neither more nor less than the greatest conflict in the world since the Second World War.

It is a hard contrast against such a particularly gruesome history that the man behind this tragedy which continues to unfold today, General Paul Kagame, was invited to take part in European Development Days.

The responsibility for his army, RPA, has come to light through various reports as well as by numerous testimonies of survivors of its atrocities. The latest being a report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights UN, published October 1st 2010, accusing its troops of committing crimes against humanity, which even might be defined as genocide, in Congo. Already in 2002 an UN-appointed expert produced a report and addressed it to the UN, confirming that millions of deaths in Congo “are a direct consequence of the occupation by Rwanda and Uganda.”

Against this backdrop, several associations of Rwandan and Congolese Diaspora in Belgium including ASBL Jambo invite members of both communities and all other citizens of the world enamoured of equity, justice and freedom to come and express their outrage and denounce this situation.

Rwandan associations insist more particularly on the fact that on the 24th of June this year, hundreds of Rwandans in Kigali had freed the barrier of fear in order to denounce human rights violations of which they are still victims today. The demonstration was violently repressed and leaders of political parties who called for demonstrations, Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire, are still imprisoned in Rwanda today. However the last one has undergone torture from her first days of detention.

This is a unique opportunity for the Rwandan Diaspora in countries where freedom of expression is permitted, to relay the warning cries of its compatriots back home. Otherwise, we are facing a risk of a definitive breakdown between citizens who stayed in Rwanda suffering from oppression in their everyday’s life and the Rwandans in exile who were lucky to escape, even though they still suffer severe consequences.

Rwandan and Congolese people have suffered enough over the course of their history. They deserve better than regimes with presidents tearing their the citizens against each other and who, despite human losses already experienced in the region, continues to detain, torture and kill critical voices.

Remarkably enough, Kagame’s regime continues to be the source of instability in the African Great Lakes’ region and continues to pose the risks of resurgence of extreme violence.

How many rebel movements are currently active in and around Congo that are funded by Rwanda and Uganda?

The EU must take its responsibilities, as Jose Louis Zapatero did in July 2010. He has refused to accept General Kagame and said NO to the nature of the double standard which is publicly advocating a message of peace and condemnation of the most serious violations of human rights, while receiving in honour behind scene the perpetrators of those atrocities.

Furthermore, the association Jambo and its partners request the Belgian authorities to arrest every official of Kigali regime that will come as a member of the delegation accompanying the Rwanda president and who is within the scope of the arrest warrants issued in 2008 by the Spanish courts for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide crimes.

On 6 Dec 2010 at 12:30, at Rue Mont des Arts in 1000 Brussels, just be there and express yourself loud and clear that it is time to turn the darkest pages of our past and that there is an urgent need to rebuild our countries so viable in terms of the economy, politics and especially in social welfare.

On behalf of ASBL Jambo
Placide Kayumba,
Coordinator
+32 485 198 030
info@jamboasbl.com
www.jamboasbl.com

December 3, 2010   3 Comments

Ingabire trial: Rwanda prosecution fails ‘evidence test’

By Didas Gasana and Ann Garrison

Dutch Gov’t instructs embassy to monitor her trial as state security operatives hatch plans to buy witnesses

Victoire Ingabire – Still in jail and still no evidence against her

When the Director of Public Prosecution ordered the re-arrest of the opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, he told both local and international media that the prosecution is in possession of new and strong incriminating evidence linking her to forming and funding a terrorist outfit, the Coalition of Democratic Forces. Prosecution convinced Gasabo Intermediate Court that the opposition icon should be provisionally detained because of the serious nature of charges and impeccable evidence against her. The court ordered her detention for 30 days, threw her in Kigali Maximum Prison (1930) as prosecution compiled the final dossier, promising to produce her in courts of law, soonest.

But that has not been the case. Instead, incompatible scenarios have emerged.

With the expiry of Ingabire’s 30 days provisional detention earlier this week, prosecution produced her before Gasabo Intermediate Court, praying for the extension of her provisional detention for another 30 days.

And, on November 26, 2010, Gasabo court judge extended her provisional detention for another 30 days in respect to the Prosecutor’s request.

Unanswered question

Prosecution requested for extension of provisional detention seeking extra time for certification of e-mail correspondences Ingabire allegedly had with the FDLR and further communication with some European governments, particularly the Dutch government, on matters relating to Ingabire’s terrorist activities.

But this contradicts Martin Ngoga’s statement after Ingabire’s arrest, when he said the prosecution has strong evidence to incriminate her.

This begs the question: If the prosecution is still hunting for evidence in European nations, where is the incriminating evidence Ngoga said he has?

Comforting words

After the judge ruled that Ingabire’s provisional detention be extended, the handcuffed opposition firebrand courageously comforted her supporters saying: “do not despair, all earthly things must wear to an end”, before returning to her new home 1930, for another 30 days.

Her lawyers told The Newsline on phone from the Rwandan capital Kigali that they are appealing the decision in the High Court this week.

Judicial independence questioned

Meanwhile, Ingabire’s party, the United Democratic Forces, in a statement sent to The Newsline, question the impartiality of the Rwandan judicial system, insisting the outcome of Ingabire’s trial is a foregone conclusion.

“The independence of justice in Rwanda is a crucial question.  Most of the judges are members of the ruling party and execute orders from the regime,” reads part of the statement. The opposition party Secretary General takes a swipe at President Kagame’s remarks in an interview with The Ugandan Daily Monitor, May 25, 2010, in which the President said Ingabire will certainly be where she belongs, to conclude that Ingabire is in prison on Kagame’s orders. “Which judge can contradict the President and where is he going to get asylum or life insurance from,” the Secretary General asks.

He cites the suspension of military court judges Brigadier General Steven Kalyango and and Lt. Colonel Marc Sebagani for clearing the detained Colonel Deogene Mudenge of all charges, as proof of persecution of independent judges. “This is a bad precedent. No judge in Rwanda now can set free a person without seeking consent of the powers that be,” he charged.

Behind the scenes schemes

The opposition camp alleges members of the UDF Inkingi who were arrested in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri are being offered guilty plea deals by the prosecution in exchange of false accusations of waging war and, fake testimonies against Ingabire Victoire for terrorist acts, illegal detention and smuggling  of firearms.

And sources within Rwanda’s Directorate of Military Intelligence told this paper on condition of anonymity that Rwanda’s intelligence is on manhunt for FDLR fighters in DRC to pin Ingabire on charges of collaborating with them, in exchange of hefty sums of money. “Some are already here and are undergoing intense training and rehearsals in case they meet strict cross-examination by the defense lawyers,” said the confidential source, who declined to be named for security reasons.

This is not the first time such schemes emerge. Prior to her first arrest, The Newsline’s sister newspaper Umuseso reported a highly clandestine plot by Rwanda’s secret security services to offer hefty sums of money in exchange of false testimonies against Ingabire.

Pressure mounts

Rwandan exiles and supporters have demonstrated in Brussels, the Hague and London since her arrest, and the new Dutch Parliament, now led by a party best translated into English as Liberal Conservative, seems to be moving towards a vote to sustain a 2008 decision to cut economic aid to Kagame’s regime because of its human rights abuses in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

H. Vincent Harris, a Dutch news media consultant and writer who explores the impact of migrants on democratic development, particularly in relation to the Great Lakes region, says that Ingabire has growing support in The Netherlands.

“Her husband and children are here, and she was a working, law abiding, respectable, taxpaying resident for 16 years before her return to Rwanda to try to contest the presidential election against Kagame. Church people who have influence with the Dutch Parliament have collected over 1,000 signatures and lobbied the Dutch Parliament to do whatever it can to ensure her safety and human rights.

“Parliament has already instructed its embassy staff to attend Ingabire’s trial to bear witness, even though they don’t think there’s any chance it will be fair,” Harris is quoted saying.

Harris also says that the Dutch Parliament is likely in December to reconfirm its 2008 decision to cut off economic aid to Rwanda because of its concern about Rwanda’s human rights record. In 2008, he says, they were concerned with reports of Rwanda’s human rights abuses in D.R. Congo, particularly those of CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) militia leader Laurent Nkunda, who was finally arrested and imprisoned in January 2009, although, in a highly disturbing development, his CNDP militia was then integrated into the Congolese Army.

“The new Dutch Parliament is particularly concerned about the ‘U.N Mapping Report’ released on October 1,” Harris added.

The “Mapping Report” documents the Rwandan government’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and massacres of Hutu civilians carried out by Rwandan forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003, that an international court would be expected to prosecute as genocide crimes.

Harris says that if, as expected, the Dutch Parliament sustains its freeze on budget support to Kagame’s regime and makes a strong statement as to why they are doing so, it could put to task other European nations and the US that continue to prop Rwanda financially, diplomatically and militarily.

[The Newsline]

December 3, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda’s Opposition Petitions U.N. for Independent Investigation into Assassination of Top Party Official

Rwanda’s opposition Democratic Green Party has officially petitioned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting an independent investigation into what the group described as the assassination of its first vice president, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka.

Frank Habineza, leader of the opposition party, told VOA Rwisereka’s family has also petitioned the U.N. chief demanding an investigation into his death.

“The family of our deceased vice president, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, has written to the Secretary-General of the United Nations requesting an independent inquiry into the matter. And, of course, the Democratic Party of Rwanda has also requested that, and the opposition coalition in Rwandan has also demanded [the same],” said Habineza.

“We understand that the U.N. secretary-general has also requested the government to do the investigation, as well as the government of France, and the government of Canada, and the European Union, but nothing has happened yet,” he said.

Rwisereka’s body was found almost beheaded by the banks of a river near Rwanda’s border with Burundi on July 14. His car was found abandoned with his passport and other identification still inside his car.

Habineza said President Paul Kagame’s government is yet to officially investigate and punish those responsible.

“As far as we are concerned, the police arrested one person in July, but the person was released a few weeks after and we haven’t heard any more information from the police. So, we are not aware of any development from the side of the government of Rwanda,” he said.

Both local and international human rights groups have demanded an independent investigation into his death.

Several rights groups have accused President Paul Kagame’s government of clamping down on opponents in recent months.

[Voa News]

December 3, 2010   1 Comment