Rwanda Information Portal

Police warn Rwandan exiles of murder risk | Reuters

(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)

via Police warn Rwandan exiles of murder risk | Reuters.

May 20, 2011   1 Comment

What is at stake in the trial of Victoire Ingabire in Rwanda?

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.

Transcript

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.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza - Chair of FDU-Inkingi

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.

[SFBayView]

May 20, 2011   1 Comment

Rwandan exiles warned of assassination threat by London police | World news | The Guardian

Rwandan exiles warned of assassination threat by London police

Two dissidents living in London told that Rwandan government poses imminent risk to their lives

Rwandan exiles warned about threats to their lives may have been targeted because of criticisms made of President Paul Kagame

The Metropolitan police have warned two Rwandan exiles living in London that they face an “imminent threat” of assassination at the hands of the Rwandan government.

The dissidents received letters within hours of one another which advised them to take extra steps to increase their safety and raised the possibility of them leaving the country, the Times reported.

“Reliable intelligence states that the Rwandan government poses an imminent threat to your life,” the warning letters read. “The threat could come in any form. You should be aware of other high-profile cases where action such as this has been conducted in the past. Conventional and unconventional means have been used.”

One of the men, Rene Mugenzi, 35, stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for Greenwich council, in south-east London, and now runs a social enterprise which aims to help disadvantaged communities. He may have been targeted because of comments he made about the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, in March when asked on a BBC programme about the prospect of the Arab spring uprisings spreading to his homeland. He replied that criticisms of Kagame suggested that he was “a despot who doesn’t tolerate any form of opposition; that under his leadership, Rwanda has become a dangerous place for those who publicly disagree with him or his ruling party”.

Mugenzi told the Independent: “How can it be that in Britain, a foreign government can be allowed to threaten the life of a person? Every time I go outside, I am looking over my shoulder, wondering if there is an assassin around the corner.”

The other recipient of the warning letter was Jonathan Musonera, a former officer in the army of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front. He is one of several exiled military officers behind the founding of the Rwanda National Congress, a new political party that earlier this month called on the Rwandan president to stand down “if he cannot stop killing, jailing and exiling innocent citizens”. The group recently held a meeting in London. Musonera told the Independent he was “terribly scared. We know what the Rwandan government can do.”

A Rwandan suspected of being part of the assassination threat was stopped at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone, Kent, last week, according to the Times. It said the man, a naturalised Belgian aged 43, left after being questioned by police.

Western governments have praised Kagame for his efforts in transforming Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, with Britain committing £83m a year until 2015 to help rebuild the country. But political violence and suppression in Rwanda have shaken faith in Kagame.

Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, another founder member of the Rwanda National Congress and former head of Rwandan intelligence, was the subject of a failed assassination attempt in South Africa in June, last year.

The Independent reported last month that MI5 had warned the Rwandan high commissioner to London, who attended the royal wedding, to halt an alleged campaign of harassment against critics of Kagame living in the UK or face a cut in British aid.

A Rwandan government spokesman said the allegations contained within the warning letters were “without foundation. The government of Rwanda does not threaten the lives of its citizens, wherever they live,” he said. “The Metropolitan police have not approached us with evidence of these allegations but we are ready as always to work with them to ensure that nobody, be they Rwandan or not, is the victim of violence on British soil.”

via Rwandan exiles warned of assassination threat by London police | World news | The Guardian.

May 20, 2011   No Comments

British Police Warn Rwandan Dissidents of Threat From Their Government

Here is an article published by The New York Times about Rwanda’s most recent plans to murder dissidents:

British Police Warn Rwandan Dissidents of Threat

By JOSH KRON and JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

KAMPALA, Uganda — The British police have warned two outspoken Rwandan dissidents living in London that their lives are in danger because the Rwandan government may be plotting to kill them, according to British officials and documents.

Musonera Warning letter by UK Police

Threat to life warning notice by UK Police

In hand-delivered letters dated May 12, the Metropolitan Police Service warned the dissidents that the threat on their lives “could come in any form” and that “unconventional means” had been used before.

“Reliable intelligence states that the Rwandan government poses an imminent threat to your life,” the warning letters read. They added, “Although the Metropolitan Police Service will take what steps it can to minimize the risk, the police cannot protect you from this threat on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis.”

British officials confirmed the documents’ authenticity on Thursday.

Human rights groups have increasingly criticized the Rwandan government as being repressive and intolerant of any dissent, and several Rwandan dissidents living abroad have been mysteriously killed.

Last year, a former Rwandan general who had broken with the government was shot in South Africa, and assailants later tried to kill him while he was recovering in the hospital. Western diplomats contended that was evidence of a government plot to kill him.

The Rwandan government has rejected such accusations, including any threats in London.

“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, as always, to work with them to ensure that nobody, be they Rwandan or not, is the victim of violence on British soil.”

The form letters, signed by a member of the Metropolitan Police Service, did not vouch for the accuracy of the threat but said it came from a source whose account the police had “no reason to disbelieve.”

One of the recipients of the warning, Rene Claudel Mugenzi, has been actively working with Rwandan opposition groups in London and said he was contacted by the British police late on May 12. “They said it was important,” Mr. Mugenzi said, “that I should not leave home.”

Mr. Mugenzi, 35, said he was aware that the Rwandan government did not appreciate his political views. But when two police officers showed up at his door in east London around 10:30 p.m. and told him and his wife of a threat to his life, he said he was speechless.

“I did not think they could think to kill me here in the U.K.,” he said.

Mr. Mugenzi says that in March he asked a pointed question to Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, during a BBC call-in show about whether Mr. Kagame believed an Egypt-style revolution could happen in Rwanda.

He also helped organize a recent meeting of exiled Rwandans in London. The Rwandan government has accused many opposition officials of working with a rebel group in eastern Congo that has been classified as a terrorist group by the United States and linked to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Mr. Mugenzi, who says he holds British as well as Rwandan citizenship, also works as a director at the London Center for Social Impact. He ran with the Liberal Democrats in local London elections last year and lost.

He has been living in Britain since 1997 and has frequently criticized Rwanda’s government for rights abuses.

“Take such remedial action as you see fit to increase your own safety measures, e.g. house burglar alarms, change of daily routines, always walk with an associate,” said the warning letter. “It may even be that you decide that it is more appropriate for you to leave the area for the foreseeable future.”

He said he had no plans to leave, but he was not ruling it out.

The other recipient of the warning, Jonathan Musonera, said he was a former Rwandan Army captain who fled to Britain in 2001 after defecting while the army was fighting in Congo. He said he was subsequently tortured by the Rwandan government. Now a critic of the government, he said the British police visited his home about an hour before the visit to Mr. Mugenzi.

“They told me about the Rwandan government,” Mr. Musonera said, “that they put my life in danger and they were trying to kill me.”

Critics of the Rwandan government have been killed or have simply vanished. Seth Sendashonga, a former member of the governing party, was fatally shot in Kenya in 1998. Augustin Cyiza, a former vice president of Rwanda’s Supreme Court, disappeared and is believed to have been killed in 2003. Leonard Hitimana, an opposition politician, disappeared the same year.

A Rwandan journalist covering the apparent assassination attempt of the general in South Africa was shot dead the day his story was published. The shooting strained relations between South Africa and Rwanda, with South Africa recalling its ambassador in August.

Last month, The Independent, a British newspaper, reported that Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, had warned Rwanda’s high commissioner in London that a harassment campaign against Rwandan dissidents must be stopped or more than $100 million in foreign aid to Rwanda could be cut.

The Rwandan government has repeatedly denied that it represses its citizens or has had a hand in any of the attacks on high-profile dissidents.

Josh Kron reported from Kampala, and Jeffrey Gettleman from Nairobi, Kenya.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 20, 2011, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: London Police Warn Rwandan Dissidents of Threat From Their Government.

[New York Times]

May 20, 2011   No Comments

UK Police reveal Rwanda Government’s plot to murder dissidents on British soil

Alarming news about ongoing Rwandan Government’s terrorist activities in the UK. Here a report published by The Independent this Friday 20th May:

Rwandan assassin ‘sent to kill dissidents in UK’

Met warns that Kagame regime may be plotting to kill two men

By Cahal Milmo

Rene Mugenzi, at home in south London: afraid for his life

Rene Mugenzi, at home in south London: afraid for his life - Photo: Susannah Ireland

The Rwandan government is masterminding an alleged assassination plot in Britain against dissidents critical of the east African country’s increasingly authoritarian regime, The Independent can reveal.

In a move which threatens to tip relations between London and one of its closest African allies into crisis, detectives from Scotland Yard last week visited two prominent Rwandans living in Britain, one of them a founder of a new opposition party, and warned them of “reliable intelligence” that the country’s government “poses an imminent threat to your life”.

The two men yesterday told of their shock and fear after being told to improve security at their homes, change their daily routines and that the “threat could come in any form”. Whitehall sources said last night that the movements of two Rwandans with diplomatic accreditation in Britain, who have travelled regularly between London and Kigali in the last nine months, are being closely monitored.

The Independent also understands that police are investigating claims that an individual implicated in the attempted murder in South Africa last year of a key opposition figure to the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, may have travelled to the UK.

Rene Mugenzi, 35, a survivor of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide who is a British citizen and now runs a London-based social exclusion think-tank, said: “I am bewildered that such a thing could be happening to me. I am not a political figure in Rwanda, I left when I was 17. How can it be that in Britain, a foreign government can be allowed to threaten the life of a person? Every time I go outside, I am looking over my shoulder, wondering if there is an assassin around the corner.”

The disclosure of the murder plot comes after an investigation by The Independent revealed last month that MI5 has warned the Rwandan High Commissioner to London to halt an alleged campaign of harassment against critics of Mr Kagame living in the UK.

But the Rwandan government’s activities against dissidents have increased dramatically recently. Last week police served a “Threats to life warning notice” on Mr Mugenzi and a second Rwandan, Jonathan Musonera, laying out the danger facing them.

Mr Musonera, a former member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) army led by Mr Kagame which halted the genocide, is one of the founding members of the Rwanda National Conference (RNC), a new political party led by exiled military officers which poses a threat to the president.

In the aftermath of the genocide, which left around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and many moderate members of the Hutu majority dead, the regime led by Mr Kagame was hailed for its rebuilding of the country. Britain last year welcomed Rwanda into the Commonwealth and became its largest aid donor to the tune of £83m a year.

But President Kagame is now charged with becoming increasingly authoritarian, intolerant of dissent and of silencing political opposition.

Evidence that schisms among Mr Kagame’s former comrades are leading to reprisals was strengthened last summer when a former head of Rwandan intelligence, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who is also a founder of the RNC, was the subject of an assassination attempt in South Africa. Several of the suspected gunmen were Rwandan, including one individual who Rwandan opposition figures claim has travelled to London.

Mr Musonera, 46, who along with father-of-three Mr Mugenzi has been told that police cannot offer round-the-clock protection, said: “I am terribly scared. We know what the Rwandan government can do. Their killers are not bothered about observing the laws of the countries in which they carry out their activities.”

Sat in his home in south east London, Mr Mugenzi recalled how he had personally challenged Mr Kagame over claims of despotism in a BBC World Service phone-in this year. “I have no idea if my encounter with Mr Kagame is linked to the threat I now face,” he said. “But this is not how a civilised government should behave. No-one is challenging the terribleness of the genocide but if Rwanda becomes a country that cannot tolerate a variety of voices then how can it move on?”

The Foreign Office said the threat faced by Rwandans in Britain had been raised with the Kigali government. The Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK, Ernest Rwamucyo, said in a statement: “The government of Rwanda does not threaten the lives of its citizens wherever they live.”

[The Independent]

May 20, 2011   2 Comments

United States welcomes conviction by ICTR of Four Senior Rwandan Officers

U.S. Statement on ICTR Judgment Against Four Senior Rwandan Officers

This week, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) convicted and sentenced four senior Rwandan security officials for their role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide that killed over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Of those convicted, Augustin Bizimungu, a former Rwandan army chief, was one of the lead coordinators of the genocide. He was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment.

The other three sentenced were Augustin Ndindiliyimana, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Innocent Sagahutu. All held leadership positions in either the police or military forces during the genocide and were convicted of various war crimes, ranging from genocide to crimes against humanity.

The United States welcomes the ruling as an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community. The conviction of Mr. Bizimungu, in particular, shows that even those at the highest levels of military leadership are not immune from prosecution in the face of such grave atrocities.

There are still 10 ICTR fugitives at-large and the United States urges all countries to continue their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives can be expeditiously arrested and brought to justice.

SOURCE
US Department of State

[APO]

May 20, 2011   No Comments

ICTR sets free ex-Rwandan Gendarmerie chief of staff Ndindiliyimana

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of former chief of staff of Rwandan Gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, and sentenced army General Augustin Bizimungu to 30 years imprisonment for genocide.

Meanwhile, ex-commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, a member of the unit, jointly charged with the two generals, were ordered to remain behind bars for 20 years each after being convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ndindiliyimana was released after a Trial Chamber sentenced him to time served since his arrest in Belgium on January 29, 2000 after finding his mitigating factors warranting.

“The Chamber has noted Ndindiliyimana’s limited command over the gendarmerie after April 6, 1994, his consistent support for the Arusha accords and peaceful resolution of conflict between the Rwandan government forces and the RPF and his opposition to the massacres in Rwanda,” presiding Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva said.

For other convicts, the judge said, would also receive credit for the time they served since their arrests. Bizimungu was arrested in Angola on August 2, 2002, while Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu were apprehended in France and Denmark, respectively, on February 15, 2000.

The two generals were convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for offenses perpetrated by military soldiers and gendarmes under their command in 1994.

In addition, Bizimungu was found to have made a speech in Mukingo Commune, calling for start of killing of Tutsis in Ruhengeri prefecture.

For Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu, the Chamber convicted them of crime against humanity and war crimes committed by their subordinates. The duo ordered the killing of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and failed to punish perpetrators involved in killing 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers, on April 7, 1994, the judgement added.

In his reaction, ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Jallow said they would study the judges reasoning in assessment of sentences imposed to each accused and decide whether they would appeal or not.

However, he said, “We are quite satisfied with the findings. The judgement is very important to all persons in position of leadership, especially military commanders. As clearly established, superiors will be held legally responsible for acts of their subordinates.”

Ndindiliyimana, on his part, expressed his happiness for being released after remaining in detention for 11 years. His lawyer, Christopher Black, joined his client for the happiness.

Defence Counsels Charles Taku and Fabien Segatwa, for Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu, respectively, said they would appeal against the verdict.

[Hirondelle]

May 20, 2011   No Comments