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Posts from — February 2011

Rwanda-China ties to be boosted by CPPCC visit to Kigali

A high-level Chinese delegation headed by Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Li Zhaozhuo, met in Kigall Friday with Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza and parliament leaders.

Makuza commended the economic and social achievements China has made over the past decades. On bilateral relations, Makuza gave positive assessment of the Rwanda-China ties and stressed the importance of boosting mutual support in international affairs.

The Rwandan government and people must thank China for its unwavering support to the country as it went through different stages of development.

Makuza said he was optimistic about stronger ties with China, hoping for closer collaboration between the two countries, particularly in fields such as economics and trade, agriculture and energy, based on the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit.

The Rwandan government and people will continue to support the one- China policy and respect China’s position and will on issues concerning its core interests, he added.

Li agreed with Makuza on his positive assessment of Sino-Rwandan relations, saying the two sides have long understood and supported each other on political issues, carried out fruitful and diversified cooperation in economics and trade, and maintained close coordination in international affairs.

He said China appreciates Rwanda’s firm and long-standing support for China on issues concerning its core interests such as Taiwan and Tibet. It wishes to carry on the present positive trend in Sino-Rwandan relations within the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation framework.

Li also introduced China’s socialist democracy and political consultation system to President of the Senate Vincent Biruta and President of the Chamber of Deputies Rose Mukantabana.

He said the CPPCC looks forward to furthering exchanges and friendship with the Rwandan parliament.

Rwanda is the second leg of Li’s three-nation Africa tour, which had brought him to Ghana. He will also visit Mozambique.

[Xinhua]

February 20, 2011   No Comments

Dutch Minister Knapen concerned about freedom rights in Rwanda

“Rwanda cannot be captured in one-liners”, concluded Ben Knapen, Dutch minister for International Cooperation and European Affairs after a whirlwind visit to the country. This tiny central African nation manages to polarise opinions in the Netherlands. On the one hand the Rwandan government is admired for the rapid economic growth after the country was destroyed by the genocide and war of 1994. But others accuse the leaders in the capital Kigali of intolerance and harassing anyone who criticises them.

By Ilona Eveleens, Kigali

In a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and other government officials Minister Knapen expressed the Netherlands’ worries over the limited freedom of expression in Rwanda. “We are concerned about the reaction to different opinions”, remarked Knapen in an interview with Radio Netherlands. But he added that one should also have some understanding for fear and insecurity after the genocide.

The Dutch public opinion is up in arms about the incarceration of Victoire Ingabire, a Rwandan opposition leader, accused of conspiring with ethnic Hutu extremists. She is in prison since mid-October awaiting trial. Mrs Ingabire already lived in the Netherlands before the genocide in 1994 and only returned to Rwanda early last year when she tried to participate in the presidential elections in vain.

Sensitive government

Minister Knapen not only expressed his worry about the lack of freedom of expression to Kagame. He also raised the issue with the Rwandan minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karagurama. The case of two local journalists, recently convicted to 17 and 7 years imprisonment for incitement, was discussed. Knapen: “Minister Karagurama told me he himself was baffled by the sternness of the sentences”.

The Rwandan government is sensitive to criticism of the local media after media hate speeches in 1994 contributed to the execution of the genocide. More than 800.000 ethnic Tutsi’s and moderated Hutu’s were slaughtered within 3 months by the Hutu-extremists.

Public opinion

Instigators of the genocide fled to neighbouring Congo and organised themselves in what is presently known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Its militias are held responsible for crimes against humanity in Congo. The government in Kigali considers them as a threat to the security of Rwanda.

Kigali also worries about other elements of the former extremist regime who fled to North America and Europe. They are amongst the lobbyists who try to influence public opinion in the West to demand an end to financial aid to Rwanda, while accusing president Kagame of being a dictator.

Almost seventeen years after the genocide reconciliation between the different ethnic groups in Rwanda has not been achieved. Knapen, who met during his tour people involved in trying to bring Hutu and Tutsi together, said: “Reconciliation is a very thin layer. A lot more work needs to be done”.

[Radio Netherlands Worldwide]

February 20, 2011   2 Comments

Dutch Minister Knapen talks to Rwandan opposition

Dutch Development Cooperation Minister Ben Knapen met with party members of detained opposition leader Victoire Ingabire in Rwanda on Wednesday. He says the Netherlands is to continue its cooperation with Rwanda on justice matters and will go ahead with plans to sign an extradition treaty.

by Koert Lindijer

“I spoke to President Kagame, Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama and three of Ingabire’s party members about her detention,” Mr Knapen told Radio Netherlands Worldwide. “The opposition confirmed that she is being treated well. She is receiving food from outside the prison and has eminent lawyers at her disposal. I have insisted that she be given a fair trial. This trial is a sort of litmus test as to whether the courts in Rwanda operate independently.”

Victoire Ingabire lived for 16 years in the Netherlands, though she does not have Dutch citizenship. She was arrested last year in Rwanda on charges of collaborating with terrorist organisations. Dutch detectives carried out a search of her husband’s home in the Netherlands in December, at the request of the Rwandan police. “I have not made any criticism of the handling of her case up to now,” said Mr Knapen. “Her guilt or innocence must be determined by a Rwandan judge.”

Mr Knapen expressed doubts about the sentencing of two Rwandan journalists to 7 and 17 years in jail last week. “We do have our concerns about the independence of courts,” he said. His concerns are apparently shared by the Rwandan justice minister, who told Mr Knapen he disagreed with the verdict in the journalists’ trial.

However, the concerns are not serious enough to end the preparation of a Dutch-Rwandan extradition treaty. “Nothing has happened in recent times for us to reconsider this intention,” said Mr Knapen. “The realisation of the treaty is making good progress.” Dozens of suspects wanted for trial in Rwanda on charges relating to the 1994 genocide are living in the Netherlands, according to both the Dutch and Rwandan justice ministries.

[Radio Netherlands Worldwide]

February 19, 2011   No Comments

Dutch Minister Ben Knapen meets FDU-Inkingi Executive committee in Kigali

by Boniface Twagirimana.
Interim Vice President of FDU-Inkingi.

Despite his busy agenda, the Dutch Development Aid Minister Ben Knapen and his delegation found time to talk to the opposition party FDU-INKINGI on Wednesday in Kigali.

The meeting focused on the current political situation in Rwanda and exchanged viewpoints on political space, political prisoners and particularly the case of the judicial proceedings against the opposition leader, Madam Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, detained in maximum security prison since 14th October 2010.

The party FDU-INKINGI praised the leadership of the Minister Ben Knapen and expressed its gratitude to the Dutch government for the cooperation with the people of Rwanda.

[FDU-INKINGI]

February 19, 2011   No Comments

French Judges to Issue arrest warrants against Kagame’s closest Aides for Assassination of President Habyarimana

Jack Nziza and Nyiragakinga Immaculee

Sources close to the French anti-terrorism prosecution in Paris have informed AfroAmerica Network that the French anti-terrorist Judges Marc Trevin  and Nathalie Poux  will soon issue arrest warrants for six close aides to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The six are accused of shooting down a plane carrying the late Rwandan  and Burundian Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira.

The assassination of the two presidents and their staff, along with  the french crew triggered the Rwandan massacres of 1994.  Those targeted by the arrest warrants are:

– General James Kabarebe, the current Minister of Defense,
– General Jack Nziza, aka Jackson Nkurunziza,  the director of the notorious Rwanda’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI),
– Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Kayonga,
– Jacob Tumwine,
– Franck Nziza,
– Eric Hakizimana,
– Samuel Kanyemera,
– and General Kayumba Nyamwasa.

The two French judges have been working on the case for some time, after taking over from the retired Judge Bruguiere. In September 2010 they made a trip to Rwanda and brought in experts to reconstruct the attack. The results, with ballistic reconstructions, are expected in early March 2011 as the arrest warrants are issued. The area from where the missiles were fired was a critical component that helped determine whether the assassins were in government held areas or on a farm suspected to have been used by a rebel commando, led by Frank Nziza and Eric Hakizimana.

According to the same sources, the investigations and ballistic reconstructions have ruled out other areas as potential shooting sites.

On December 16, 2010 the judges travelled to Bujumbura, Burundi to indict six of the accused. They also travelled to South Africa to indict General Kayumba Nyamwasa, now in exile in South Africa. His lawyer Gerald Gahima travelled to Spain to respond to a related indictment (see our articles of September 28, 2010: Former Rwandan Prosecutor General Gahima testifies agains Kagame in Spain). Jacob Tumwine has since the assassination retired from the army. Frank Nziza and Eric Hakizimana are the suspected shooters. However, Eric Hakizimana is allegedly dead.

The former Chief of Protocol Mr. Kagame, Rose Kabuye, also named in the warrants was the person indicted in late 2008, and used to restore the diplomatic relations. According to the same sources in Paris, she has since testified against the others in exchange for dropping charges against her. This collaboration led to her firing from her position as Rwandan Chief of Presidential Protocol (see our September 3, 2010 article: Rwandan Protocol Chief Rose Kabuye Fired).

The case has been a contentious issue between the Rwandan Government of Paul Kagame and the French Government and has led to severed diplomatic relations between Rwanda and France. The relations were eventually restored when France agreed to revisit the case and Rwanda to have one of the accused appear before the French courts.

The impact of the arrest warrants on the relations remains to be seen. Recently pressure from a powerful Rwandan lobby in France has been mounting to force the hand of the judiciary system and dropping the warrants.

[AfroAmerica Network]

February 19, 2011   2 Comments

Kagame-led genocide: Congressional Briefing to Address Justice and Stability in the Congo and Great Lakes Region of Africa on March 2nd

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) released the official “Report of the Mapping Exercise” in October 2010. The report documents “the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”.

Human Rights Watch Executive Director, Kenneth Roth says: “If followed by strong regional and international action, this report could make a major contribution to ending the impunity that lies behind the cycle of atrocities in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs said: “The United States is firmly committed to helping the DRC and other nations in the region take positive steps to end the corrosive cycle of violence and impunity.

The United States has a key role to play in making sure that justice is delivered to the people of Central Africa. US tax dollars fund US allies, Rwanda and Uganda who are deeply implicated in mass atrocities, crimes against humanity, war crimes and possibly genocide in the Congo.

The American taxpayers should be assured that their tax dollars are not supporting mass atrocities in Africa and perpetuating a war, which has killed an estimated 6 million people, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II. The Congressional briefing can serve as a first step in delivering justice to the people in the heart of Africa.

AFJN is co-hosting a Congressional Briefing to shed light on the UN Mapping Exercise Report which documents atrocities in Democratic Republic of Congo.

This event is free and open to the public.

What: Briefing on… the UN Mapping Exercise Report and its Implications for US Policy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region
Who: African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition, composed of the following organisations:

– Africa Faith and Justice Network,
– Friends of the Congo,
– Foreign Policy in Focus,
– African Great Lakes Action Network,
– Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation,
– Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda,
– Congo Global Action Coalition,
– International Humanitarian Law Institute of St. Paul,
– Mobilization for Peace and Justice in Congo.

Speakers:

– Brian Endless, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation
– Jacques Bahati, Africa Faith and Justice Network
– Nita Evele, Congo Global Action Coalition
– Professor Nii Akuetteh, Founder, The Democracy & Conflict Research Institute, DCRI; and Founding Executive Director of OSIWA
– Emira Woods, Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute of Policy Studies

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2011; 2 P.M. – 4 P.M.

Where:

Room 2226 Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20515

Briefing is March 2, but beginning today, PLEASE URGE THE REPRESENTATIVE FROM YOUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT TO ATTEND: Congressional Briefing to Address Justice and Stability in the Congo and Great Lakes Region of Africa.

[AFJN]

February 19, 2011   No Comments

Rudasingwa talks about the death of RPF’s ideal (audio)

From interview offered by Rudasingwa to WBEZ on Feb 07,2011.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20110207-rudasingwa-on-death-of-rpf-ideal-wbez.mp3″ text=”Rudasingwa talks about the death of RPF’s ideal” dl=”0″]

Theogene Rudasingwa was Chief of Staff to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the U.S. He now lives in exile in the United States. Rudasingwa believes the so called Rwandan “Miracle” is a myth. He brings a rare insiders glimpse into the Kagame regime. Theogene says he left the Kagame regime because of a crisis of conscience.

[WBEZ]

February 19, 2011   1 Comment

Rudasingwa talks about the powerful RPF’s Tristar Corporation and General Kagame’s corruption (audio)

From interview offered by Rudasingwa to WBEZ on Feb 07,2011.

Listen to what Rudasingwa says about Tristar Corporation, a powerful instrument in the hands of General Kagame and RPF.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20110207-rudasingwa-about-tristar-corp-and-kagame-corruption-wbez.mp3″ text=”Rudasingwa talks about the powerful RPF’s Tristar Corporation and General Kagame’s corruption” dl=”0″]

Theogene Rudasingwa was Chief of Staff to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the U.S. He now lives in exile in the United States. Rudasingwa believes the so called Rwandan “Miracle” is a myth. He brings a rare insiders glimpse into the Kagame regime. Theogene says he left the Kagame regime because of a crisis of conscience.

[WBEZ]

February 18, 2011   No Comments

Rudasingwa rejects the myths about Kagame regime (audio)

From interview offered by Rudasingwa to WBEZ on Feb 07,2011.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20110207-rudasingwa-on-myths-about-kagame-wbez.mp3″ text=”Rudasingwa rejects the myths about Kagame regime’s achievements” dl=”0″]

Theogene Rudasingwa was Chief of Staff to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the U.S. He now lives in exile in the United States. Rudasingwa believes the so called Rwandan “Miracle” is a myth. He brings a rare insiders glimpse into the Kagame regime. Theogene says he left the Kagame regime because of a crisis of conscience.

[WBEZ]

February 17, 2011   6 Comments

Rudasingwa talks about General Kagame’s crimes and systematic human rights abuses in Rwanda (audio)

From interview offered by Rudasingwa to WBEZ on Feb 07,2011.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20110207-rudasingwa-about-kagame-crimes-and-human-rights-abuses-wbez.mp3″ text=”Rudasingwa talks about General Kagame’s crimes and systematic human rights abuses in Rwanda” dl=”0″]

Theogene Rudasingwa was Chief of Staff to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the U.S. He now lives in exile in the United States. Rudasingwa believes the so called Rwandan “Miracle” is a myth. He brings a rare insiders glimpse into the Kagame regime. Theogene says he left the Kagame regime because of a crisis of conscience.

[WBEZ]

February 16, 2011   No Comments