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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