Posts from — May 2011
by Immaculee Uwayezu
Join us in Chicago for a massive protest against Paul Kagame criminal record and dictatorship
Dear Fellow Rwandans and Friends of Rwanda,
Please talk to the media, call your representative and contact Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601, Tel: +1 312 565 1234; Fax: +1312 239 4414.
Feel free to edit and use the following script.
We are writing to express our concern and indignation that Hyatt Regency Hotel, a leader in hospitality in North America and around the Globe is planning to host a brutal dictator and deluded world criminal, General Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Paul Kagame was cited in the UN Mapping report as the instigator of the killing of more than 3 million Rwandan refugees and Congolese citizens in Eastern Congo between 1996 and 2003.
Two international justice systems (French and Spanish) have indicted him, his generals, and his 40 close associates for having killed his predecessor and thousands of innocent civilians in Rwanda.
In months leading to his re-election in 2010, Rwandan opposition leaders, Victoire Ingabire, Deo Mushayidi and Bernard Ntaganda and journalists, Agnes Nkusi and Saidath Mukakibibi have been imprisoned while others were killed: Andrew Kagwa Rwisereka and Leonard Rugambage.
Recently, Paul Kagame attempted to the lives of Rwandan citizens member of the opposition residing in South Africa and UK.
Reports by the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent and the BBC Newsnight have explained how the British Secret Services uncovered plans by Kagame’s henchmen to eliminate his political opponents in the UK.
The Rwandan Community in America is deeply concerned that same Paul Kagame is on a covert trip aimed at implementing his criminal enterprise in the USA to target overt and supposed opponents to his oppressive machine.
For all these reasons, many Rwandans and friends of Rwanda are prepared to come to Chicago on June 10-12, 2011 for a massive public protest against Paul Kagame dictatorship and criminal record both in Rwanda and the Congo.
May 29, 2011 12 Comments
May 25th, 2011 – The ICTR Prosecutor, Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow, announced today the arrest in the DRC of ICTR fugitive Bernard Munyagishari (52), former President of the Interahamwe for Gisenyi, who was arrested in an operation mounted by the DRC Armed forces, in collaboration with the OTP Tracking Unit in Kachanga, North Kivu.
Munyagishari, currently detained in Goma pending transfer to the Tribunal, is wanted by the ICTR on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape.
The Prosecutor hailed the DRC authorities for their cooperation in executing the warrant of arrest despite the hurdles encountered in tracking down the fugitive in difficult terrain. The accused is alleged to have recruited, trained and lead Interahamwe militiamen in mass killings and rapes of Tutsi women in Gisenyi and beyond, between April and July 1994.
Munyagishari, born in 1959 in Rubavu commune in Gisenyi prefecture was arrested pursuant to an international warrant issued by Judge Alexei Egorov on 8 September 2005. He has featured on the US Rewards for Justice programme as a fugitive from international justice.
Arrangements are being made for the accused to be surrendered by the DRC authorities and transferred to the seat of the Tribunal in Arusha. Nine fugitives are still at large.
May 26, 2011 1 Comment
Referring to the recent developments of Rwandan state terrorism on UK soil, British journalist Ian Birrell wrote the following comment in The Times published on Monday 23rd May.
Stop the flow of cash to Rwanda’s despotic regime
Somehow, we never seem to learn. This year, we have seen seismic uprisings in North Africa expose the shabby foundations of a foreign policy that propped up a bunch of corrupt dictators. In their wake, British diplomacy was forced into a rapid change of gear as it sought to realign itself with democrats instead of despots.
Still we make the same mistakes elsewhere on the continent. Take Rwanda. One of the few things that unites Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron is the fervour of their support for this country as it recovers from the trauma of genocide.
One after the other, they chucked huge amounts of aid at the tiny nation. They ignored how Paul Kagame’s regime played a leading role in the conflict in the Congo, the most vicious war in African history with more than five million people killed, and sold off stolen minerals. They ignored how Mr Kagame crushes dissent, jails opponents and closes down critical newspapers. And they ignored the way he won a meaningless election marred by murder last year with a ludicrous 93 per cent share of the vote.
But surely they cannot ignore the latest transgression. Can we really have a situation in which we hand over £83 million a year to a regime that in return, according to Scotland Yard, sends hit squads to assassinate Rwandans living in London? Incredibly, the revelation that police had warned two exiles of a threat to their lives from the Rwandan Government came just a month after MI5 told the country’s High Commissioner to stop an alleged campaign of harassment and intimidation against dissidents.
Such tactics are no surprise. Opponents have been shot, beheaded, jailed and terrorised. I have spoken to former members of Mr Kagame’s inner circle who said he never hid what would happen to his critics. Even Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who became a hero after saving 1,268 people as the hundred-day hell of genocide raged around him, had to go into hiding after speaking out.
Despite a deluge of damning reports from the UN and human rights bodies, Britain is pouring increasing amounts of aid into Rwanda — one third of a billion pounds over the next five years. Government sources claim that stopping this cascade of cash would only hurt the poor, but this reasoning has not prevented Britain freezing aid to Malawi this month because of human rights concerns.
The desperate desire for an aid success story has ensured that for too long, too many people who should know better have ignored repression in Rwanda. We can ignore it no longer. Otherwise we are aiding and abetting an autocrat whose regime sends death squads to murder people living peacefully in this country.
We all hope that the British leaders are listening and will dare take appropriate action.
May 25, 2011 8 Comments
by Theogene Rudasingwa
The Unravelling of Kagame’s Network
Join us in Chicago (10-12 June, 2011) to protest Kagame’s continuing effort to kill Rwandans and Congolese, and seek his accountability for the war crimes he has committed, an end to his brutal dictatorial rule and scandalous corruption, call for release of Victoire Ingabire and all political prisoners, and seek US, UK and international support to Rwandans for peace, freedom and democracy.
To all Rwandans, Congolese, Africans, Americans, Canadians and peace loving people, we say this: it is the beginning of the end for the war criminal, the corrupt ruler, and the blood-stained dictator.
A few months of RNC’s work, together with other pro-democracy forces, is producing the momentum towards Kigali regime’s inevitable downfall. The world is finally waking up to know who the real Kagame is.
Let us be vigilant. It is no time to be complacent. It is time to mobilize and organize.
● Call your representative.
● Talk to the media.
● Call Hyatt (Tel: +1 312 565 1234) and tell them a war criminal and his henchmen are coming to use the hotel as the North American operational headquarters of their criminal syndicate.
DO NOT BE AFRAID! CHEER UP! WE SHALL OVERCOME!
Call us or send us an email:
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Rwanda National Congress
RNC International HQs
May 23, 2011 13 Comments
Investigating claims that the Rwandan government is masterminding an alleged assassination plot in the UK against dissidents critical of the Rwandan regime. With Emily Maitlis.
May 22, 2011 2 Comments
par Theogene Rudasingwa
IT IS TIME TO CHOOSE!
As President Kagame scrambles to re-invent his tarnished image as the ruler who kills innocent Rwandans at home and abroad, a war criminal, corrupt leader and absolute dictator, he is desperately turning to members of the so-called Presidential Advisory Council for help. The million dollar question is: will the foreigners among them remain on board Kagame’s sinking ship? Are they innocently, blindly ( or naively) backing Kagame without knowledge of his criminal actvities in Rwanda and abroad? What kind of advice do they give a ruler who refuses to account for his crimes, and is surely taking the country to civil war and more bloodshed? Can they now instead champion the interests of the vast majority of the Rwandan people, instead of befriending a corrupt and blood-stained dictator? The choice is theirs.
Here are the members of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC):
Louise Mushikiwabo (Rwanda) – Minister of Foreign Affairs
James Musoni (Rwanda) – Minister of Local Government
John Rwangombwa (Rwanda) – Minister of Finance
Francois Kanimba (Rwanda) – Minister of Commerce
James Kimonyo (Rwanda) – Ambassador to the United States
Emmanuel Ndahiro (Rwanda) – Kagame’s Chief of Intelligence
Francis Gatare (Rwanda) – Principal Private Secretary to President Kagame
Christian Angermayer (Germany) – Investment banker and investor
Tony Blair (UK) – Former UK Prime Minister
Paul Davenport (Canadian) – President, University of Western Ontario
Dale Dawson (USA) – Founder & CEO of Bridge2Rwanda
Michael Fairbanks (USA) – Founder of OTF Group and SEVEN Fund
Scott Ford (USA) – Founder & CEO of Westrock Partners and Rwanda Trading Company
Tom Hunter (UK) – Scottish businessman and philanthropist
Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda) – President of African Development Bank
Sir David King (UK) – Director of Smith School at Oxford
Kaia Miller (USA) – Founder of Aslan Global
Clet Niyikiza (USA/Rwanda) – Senior VP-Development of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals
Michael Porter (USA) – Professor at Harvard Business School, author on competitive strategy
Michael Roux (Australia) – Chair of Roux International, former Vice-Chairman of Citigroup
John Rucyahana (Rwanda) – Retired Anglican Bishop, President of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission
Doug Shears (Australia) – Executive Chairman of ICM Australia
Eliane Ubalijoro (Canada/Rwanda) – Professor at McGill University, Developing area studies
Rick Warren (USA) – Pastor at Saddleback Church/PEACE Plan, author of Purpose Driven Life
May 22, 2011 13 Comments
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of a Kansas man accused of participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide got a glimpse Tuesday of inhumane prison conditions in that African country as defense attorneys sought to bolster their argument that prisoners were coerced into confessing and accusing others of atrocities to gain their own freedom.
A federal jury must decide whether Lazare Kobagaya, 84, lied to U.S. immigration authorities in a case prosecutors have said is the first in this country requiring proof of genocide. The government is seeking to revoke Kobagaya’s U.S. citizenship for allegedly lying to immigration authorities about his involvement in the genocide.
Prosecutors have portrayed Kobagaya as an influential leader who ordered killings and arsons in a region known as Nyakizu Commune, where the village of Birambo was located. Kobagaya, now living in Topeka, was charged two years ago with unlawfully obtaining U.S. citizenship in 2006 and with fraud and misuse of an alien registration card.
Key to prosecutors’ case is the testimony of self-confessed Rwandan killers who have fingered Kobagaya, a Hutu born in Burundi. In a move meant to raise doubts about the credibility of such witnesses, defense attorneys brought in a former prisoner who said he falsely accused others to survive in prison and win his release.
Although Felicien Hakizimana never accused Kobagaya of any wrongdoing, his testimony allowed the defense to present evidence of harsh prison conditions.
Hakizimana said Rwandan prisons were so crowded that inmates did not have space to sit down. He told of daily beatings to force prisoners to confess to genocide and showed jurors a scar on his leg he claimed was made during one such beating. He also described torture sessions that left prisoners unconscious. Food was scarce and medical care was nonexistent, he said.
He said those prisoners who confessed to participating in the genocide were put in better cells, given jobs and allowed family visits. Also, he said, inmates had to confess to genocide to earn their release.
Hakizimana, a former Nyakizu resident who knew the Kobagaya family, told jurors that after his confession, he was given a position as vice president of a kind of community court within the prison walls. Hakizimana said an organization of Tutsi survivors would come to the prison and hand him and others lists of people — usually those who were wealthy — whom they wanted accused.
“They made it clear after we confessed to what we said, that we would have to accuse a person outside,” Hakizimana said through an interpreter.
Defense attorneys also used Hakizimana to demonstrate that as a Burundi refugee, Kobagaya could not have held a leadership position in his village.
“He didn’t have any position because as a refugee he was not allowed to be a leader in the country,” Hakizimana testified.
Hakizimana also said an attack at Mount Nyakizu, where thousands of Tutsis had sought refuge, was led by young men and soldiers and that he did not see Kobagaya among them.
Under cross examination, Hakizimana acknowledged looting at least three Tutsi homes, stealing crops and cows and joining night patrols seeking to rout out Tutsis during the genocide. Hakizimana at the time of the genocide was a student on vacation at the family home in Nyakizu.
Hakizimana, who now lives in Zambia, also acknowledged that he fled Rwanda before his own trial on genocide charges.
Earlier in the day, a professor who has studied the 1994 genocide, testified that the two ethnic groups involved suffered almost equal numbers of deaths.
Loyola professor Brian Endless told jurors that almost as many Hutus were killed as Tutsis. He said about 200,000 Hutus participated in the genocide, while more than 1 million refugees fled Rwanda in July 1994.
May 21, 2011 1 Comment
Growing frustration as FDU-Inkingi members are not allowed to visit jailed opposition leader Victoire Ingabire
by Boniface Twagirimana
RWANDA :CONTINUED ISOLATION FOR VICTOIRE INGABIRE.
It has been 9 weeks without allowing prison visits for political prisoner Victoire Ingabire, Chair of FDU-INKINGI, incarcerated in Kigali maximum prison since 14 October 2011. Today, the jailers informed that they already have their own 3 visitors, outsiders of the political party. 16 visiting members left without seeing their leader.
On 16 May 2011, the trial of Madame Victoire Ingabire was postponed to 20 June 2011 due to Prosecution contradictions and inconsistencies. Her lawyers have written to the High Court addressing crucial issues and lack of fairness.
“The case of Victoire Ingabire is an exceptional case which must be prepared thoroughly and properly. It has attracted much media attention, both in Rwanda and abroad. The defence requires adequate time and facilities to prepare for what is likely to be a lengthy and complicated trial”, said the defense counsel.
As for the surveillance of defense conferences by intelligence officers, the High Court was informed as well.
“The defence has complained about this unacceptable monitoring, which we feel amounts to actual interference, on numerous occasions to Mr Kamugisha, the Director of Kigali Central Prison, in person. In spite of assurances that this interference would cease, the monitoring continues. The defence has gone so far as to raise the issue with Martin Ngoga, General Prosecutor, in person, and Mary Gahonzire, High Commissioner for Prisons, both in person and in writing… Again, assurances have been given that the practice would stop. Nevertheless, the interference persists. The defence has cause to wonder whether any of these persons have any real authority over those carrying out this monitoring and feel that this is a matter of grave concern”.
“It is the defence position that the continuous monitoring and surveillance of conferences with our client amounts to unlawful interference in our client’s right to a fair trial”.
The prosecution introduced new co-defendants, pleading guilty, in the Courtroom. The defense counsel has never received any information about those “terrorist” guilty pleaders turned key witnesses.
This is nothing else than a judicial circus. Any meaningful chance of fairness has been ruined.
May 21, 2011 2 Comments
(Reuters) – A Rwandan exile in London said on Friday he had been warned by police that he was at risk of being assassinated by the Rwandan government.
Rene Mugenzi, 35, who heads a social policy thinktank in London, told Reuters the police had given him a “notice of threat to personal safety” last week.
The notice, seen by Reuters, says: “Reliable intelligence states that the Rwandan government poses an imminent threat to your life. The threat could come in any form.”
The Times newspaper said the police had given a similar notice to another Rwandan exile, Jonathan Musonera, 47.
The notice advises the exiles to take safety measures, such as installing burglar alarms at home and varying their routine, or to temporarily move home.
London police would not confirm that warnings had been issued to Musonera, a former Rwandan army officer, and Mugenzi.
But a police spokesman said: “In relation to warnings issued to two individuals, the Metropolitan Police takes all threats against persons extremely seriously. Appropriate actions are taken but we do not discuss individual cases.”
The Times said that a Rwandan suspected of being part of a plot against the two exiles was stopped at the Eurotunnel terminal on England’s south coast last week and left the country after being questioned by police.
RWANDA DENIES ALLEGATION
The Rwandan embassy in London said the allegations about a plot were “completely without foundation.”
“The government of Rwanda does not threaten the lives of its citizens wherever they live,” it said in a statement.
“The Metropolitan Police have not approached us with evidence of allegations but we are ready … to work with them to ensure that nobody … is the victim of violence,” it said.
Seventeen years on from a genocide which killed up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, Rwanda, under President Paul Kagame’s strong-handed leadership style, has become a darling of Western donors and investors.
But rights groups have voiced concern about rising political repression, particularly around the time of last August’s vote in which Kagame was re-elected for another seven-year term.
Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former Rwandan army chief and liberation hero who had fallen out with Kagame, was wounded by a gunman in South Africa last year.
Rwanda, which blamed Nyamwasa for a string of deadly grenade attacks in the capital Kigali last year, dismissed the idea it might be behind his shooting as “preposterous.”
The Times said Britain had previously told Rwandan officials in London to halt alleged harassment of critics of Kagame’s government and that the reported British plot could harm ties.
Rwanda receives 83 million pounds a year in British aid.
The Foreign Office said it could not comment on the reported warning to the two Rwandan exiles.
“We take every opportunity to raise with the Rwandan government our concerns over political space, media freedom and extra-judicial killings,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Maria Golovnina)
May 20, 2011 1 Comment
by Ann Garrison,
On May 15, KPFA Weekend News spoke to Rwandan American scientist Jean Manirarora about what is at stake in the trial of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in Rwanda.
KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Landau: Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza last spoke to KPFA on Oct. 9, 2010, about the U.N. Mapping Report released nine days earlier. The report documented war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocidal civilian massacres in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003.
Ingabire spoke to KPFA and to the BBC and Voice of America all last year despite a court order not to speak to the press after her arrest and confinement to Rwanda’s capital city Kigali throughout the Rwandan presidential election year. The election ended on Aug. 9 with President Paul Kagame’s re-election with an unlikely 93 percent of the vote. Ingabire was not allowed to register her party or stand for election, though many believe that she could have won without even campaigning.
On Oct. 14, five days after she last spoke to KPFA, she was arrested again and this time confined to Kigali’s 1930 maximum security prison, where she marked the seven-month anniversary of her arrest yesterday. Her international support team reports that she is increasingly isolated by bureaucratic excuses to deny her visitors and that the confidentiality of her conversations with her Rwandan lawyer has been violated.
Rwanda’s membership in the Commonwealth officially requires it to meet minimal standards of democracy, including minimal standards of justice, but Ingabire’s two British lawyers have been presented with thousands of pages of legal briefs written only in Rwanda’s native language, Kinyarwanda, which neither they nor reporters who don’t speak it can read. Ingabire is charged with terrorism, inciting Rwandans to overthrow the current Rwandan government, and with genocide ideology, a statutory crime unique to Rwanda, which means disagreeing with the government and/or the official history of the Rwanda Genocide.
Jean Manirarora, a member of Ingabire’s FDU-Inkingi coalition of parties, also known as the United Democratic Forces, came into the KPFA Studios today to discuss with KPFA’s Ann Garrison what is at stake in Ingabire’s case.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Jean, Victoire Ingabire is on trial, in large part, for challenging the Rwandan government’s official history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. That official history – that ethnic Hutu extremists slaughtered up to a million ethnic Tutsis in 100 days – is used to justify extreme repression within Rwanda, and to justify Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s repeated invasions and ongoing military presence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Could you explain Victoire Ingabire’s challenge to the official history?
Jean Manirarora: First of all, Victoire Ingabire has never denied the Tutsi Genocide. But, when she returned to Rwanda in January last year to run for president, she visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and asked why it commemorates only the Tutsi victims. She asked when the Hutu victims would be commemorated as well. Just saying this is a statutory crime called genocide ideology in Rwanda.
KPFA: What would be the consequence of acknowledging that Hutus were also killed, by extremist Tutsis, because they were Hutus during the 1994 Genocide?
Jean Manirarora: If it were acknowledged that Hutu people were massacred because they were Hutus, then the collective guilt for the genocide would no longer be forced on Hutu people. There would no longer be any justification for packing Hutu people into prisons or forcing them to make restitution to Tutsis by surrendering their property or by indentured servitude to Tutsis. Hutus would finally be allowed to mourn the dead they lost in the genocide, and the bones in the memorial sites would finally be buried in dignity.
KPFA: People from all over the world go to these genocide memorial sites and photograph the bones in these memorial sites. Could you explain what you mean about finally burying them?
Jean Manirarora: It is not normal in the Rwandan culture to display the bodies, bones or body parts of loved ones, no matter how they died. Foreigners come with their fancy cameras and take photos of these bones, assuming that this is part of our culture, but it is not. Many of these bones are the bones of Hutu people; that is why they are allowed to be on display, although they are presented to the world as the bones of Tutsi victims. Hutu people need to be able to bury and publicly mourn their dead.
KPFA: Could you explain the importance of establishing the truth of the Rwanda Genocide to achieving peace in Rwanda’s eastern neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has, since 1996, been the site of the deadliest conflict since World War II?
Jean Manirarora: If it is established that Kagame’s troops committed atrocities in Rwanda during the Rwanda Genocide, then Kagame would no longer be justified in pursuing the former Rwandan army of Juvenal Habyarimana, the president of Rwanda whose assassination by Kagame’s troops in April 1994 triggered the genocide. Kagame refers to the former Rwandan soldiers who took refuge in Congo as “genocidaires.” He says he is going after them every time he invades the Congo and he has used them as his excuse to occupy and plunder Congo’s resources, with the blessing of the international community.
KPFA: Jean, thank you for that very concise explanation of what’s at stake in Victoire Ingabire’s trial and in the truth of the Rwanda Genocide.
Jean Maniraora: Thank you for giving Victoire and me and other Rwandans a chance to tell our story.
KPFA: For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.
May 20, 2011 1 Comment