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Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett Defends Rwandan Hero Paul Rusesabagina

“Straight Talk Africa on November 16, 2011 – VOA’s “Straight
Talk Africa” studio guest, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Tom Lantos Human Rights and Justice joins host Shaka Ssali to share her thoughts on how Rwandan activist Paul Rusesabagina deserves the prestigious human rights prize named after her father, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos.

November 18, 2011   2 Comments

Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina vs Paul Kagame! Significance of the Lantos Human Rights Award 2011

"Straight Talk Africa" on November 16, 2011 – VOA’s "Straight Talk Africa" Host, Shaka Ssali discuss the significance of the Tom Lantos Foundation on Human Rights as they honored Paul Rusesabagina for the 2011 award for providing refuge to over 1200 Rwandans during the 1994 genocide.

Excerpt from Paul Ndiho (VOA News) reporting:

I spoke to Paul Rusesabagina and he said that he fears for his life because of threats for Paul Kagame’s government. Rusesabagina and Kagame don’t have kind words for each other. And they challenge each other’s actions during the genocide.
Rusesabagina:

“…he (Kagame) thought that Rwanda has one person, and only one, who is supposed to be called a hero… He has made each and everyone understand that he was the saviour of the Rwandan nation. He had stopped the genocide. This was his message.”

In 2006, Paul Kagame in a VOA press conference played down Rusesabagina’s heroism. Kagame said that Rusesabagina’s story of saving hundreds of people is misleading.
Kagame:

“…he (Rusesabagina) claims to have saved people in Hotel Mille Collines. And… one he had no possibility of saving them in the first place. Secondary the people who were there, including our prime minister in the Government of Rwanda, who was also there, including the lady here Senator Odette, she was there. In fact she is the only one who can say maybe she was saved by Rusesabagina on the basis that they knew each other.”

Paul Rusesabagina dubbed by some the Oskar Schindler of Africa questions Paul Kagame’s claims that he stopped genocidal killings in Rwanda.
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who outweeded Hitler and the nazis to save more than 1200 Jews from gas chambers by employing them to work for him in his factories during World War II.

Rusesabagina:

“My main question is this. Is kagame a part of the genocide solution or the genocide problem. Kagame has been a part of the genocide problem.”


Paul Ndiho, VOA News.

November 18, 2011   1 Comment

Rwanda National Carrier Rwandair To Start Flights to Lagos

The Rwandan national carrier, RwandAir, is planning to start its passenger flights from Kigali to Lagos, Nigeria in December. Rwandair will fly to Lagos with a Boeing 737 and the point of entry in Nigeria is expected to be the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA).

The RwandAir Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Nkulikiyimfura and the Ambassador of Rwanda in Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Habineza held a meeting with the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to define the feasibility of this route.

According to a statement issued by the NCAA, Nigerian authorities have started the necessary scrutiny of the airline to ensure that the Rwandair can effectively and safely operate the new route. The out come of that scrutiny exercise, will determine whether or not this operation can go ahead as planned.

November 18, 2011   No Comments

Memorial Event on November 26th: 15th Anniversary of Massacres of Rwandan Refugees in D.R. Congo

Join us for a day to remember at Oxford House, E2 6HG, London.

Your are invited to join us in an event in which we will remember family, friends and relatives that were killed in refugee camps in Eastern Congo from October 1996.

During this event we will hear testimonies from survivors of those killings as well as views and advice from various experts such as human rights advocates, humanitarians, governance experts and lawyers.

They will speak to us on issues related to human rights, peace, justice and reconciliation.

MEMORIAL EVENT

When:

Saturday, 26 November 2011.

Time:

2:00pm – 5:00pm.

Where:

Oxford House,
Derbyshire Street,
Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG

Speakers:

Survivors testimonies: Experiences of former Rwandan refugees in Congo.

Hubert Sauper: Film-maker and director of awards winning ‘‘KISANGANI DAILY’‘ film.

Paul Rusesabagina: Humanitarian.

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP: Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on Reconciliation.

Tano Mylvaganam: International criminal lawyer barrister.

Mackie Sheik: Consultant and former deputy mayor of Soutwark in London.

Dr Theogene Rudasingwa: Former Rwandan ambassador to USA.

Prof. Peter Erlinder: Law professor and international criminal defence attorney.

Claude Gatebuke: Genocide survivor and human rights advocate.

Joseph Oladosu. Pan-africanist and Human Rights Advocate.

For more information:

Send an email to: mugunga.camps@gmail.com

November 18, 2011   No Comments

Rwanda-The Netherlands: Bewildering Dutch Support to Kagame’s Totaritarian Regime

by Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana.

RWANDA: THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT’S ASSISTANCE TO THE TOTARITARIAN REGIME IN KIGALI IS SURPRISING

What is the Dutch government’s role alongside the regime of General Paul Kagame in the judicial circus against the political leader Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza?

The Coordinating Committee of FDU Inkingi has just learned with surprise that the Dutch government has handed over to the Rwandan government disputed documents against Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, FDU-Inkingi Chair, who is in prison for political reasons in Rwanda since October 14, 2010. It is important to recall that Madame Ingabire Umuhoza returned to Rwanda in January 2010 to register her political party and to run for presidential elections in August of that year. By sending these documents in rather obscure circumstances, the Dutch Government confirmed its complicity in a kangaroo process turned into a tool of oppression against the democratic opposition. The Rwandan national public prosecution authority confirmed that they have already received a bunch of 600 pages, whereas the ruling by the Court of Rotterdam on 23 October 2011 mentioned only three documents of less than twenty pages. From where did come more than 580 additional pages, while the Dutch police has already returned nearly all the documents taken from the residential home of Madame Ingabire during their search?

For more than five years, the Dutch government is providing more than ten million euros to support the restructuring of the justice sector and the Rwanda national police. These structures and others that are funded by the Netherlands have been exploited by the regime in order to hod on to power by silencing any opposition. The Dutch government justified its action by its confidence in the Rwandan judiciary, which it has been helping to polish.

Since the opening of the political trial of Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the defense counsel filed a motion on the non-retroactivity of the criminal law in Rwanda and on the lack of jurisdiction ratione materiae and ratione loci of the High Court. The defence submissions to strike out more than 75% of the evidence was rejected by the ruling of High Court on 13 October 2011. No appeal was possible until the final decision on the case.

Besides the fact that Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is pleading not guilty, almost all the facts in the dossier which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to the criminal evidence occurred outside the territory of Rwanda. Beyond the lack of the terrirorial jurisdiction of the high court, the non-retroactvity of the criminal law is another question. Most of the allegations did not constitute crimes under the laws in force the time they occured.

The High Court ordered defense lawyers to submit in advance their questions of cross-examination to the prosecutor’s witnesses so that they could prepare them before any public hearing. This gave them enough time to harmonise their statements to the prosecutor’s submissions.

The FDU-INKINGI Coordinating Committee believes that these violations constitute enough grounds because of their extreme gravity, for the Dutch government to call into question all the judicial cooperation with Rwanda. Otherwise this gives an impression of siding too closely with a judicial circus that is disrespectful of equity and thus protecting a dictatorship ignoring the rule of law. It is unfortunate that the Dutch taxpayers’ funds continue to be used to fund a dictatorship. Time will come when the history will question the part of the Dutch government towards the current dictatorship in Rwanda. We acknowledge the presence of some Dutch diplomats in the court room in Rwanda following the trial of Madame Victoire Ingabire, but we still strongly believe that the Dutch public needs first hand information from an independent pluridisciplinary body, assessing the unfairness of this kangaroo process.

Could it be that the Dutch government is not aware that all opponents against the Kigali regime currently in prison (Charles Ntakirutinka, Deo Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda, Theoneste Niyitegeka) were convicted of charges that are similar to those brought forth against Madame Ingabire: collaboration with a terrorist organization, threatening the state security, divisionism, genocide ideology, genocide denial? Could it be that the Dutch government is not aware that most political dissents and journalists critical of the Kagame regime are either assassinated (i.e. Seth Sendashonga, André Kagwa Rwisereka, Jean Leonard Rugambage), either in prison (i.e. female-journalists Mukakibibi and Uwimana Nkusi, or political leaders mentioned above), or either in exile (almost all the leaders of the Rwandan opposition)?

It is now legitimate for FDU Inkingi to challenge the interests such a democratic state may be pursuing on the side of a totalitarian regime instead of promoting democratic values for mutual and sustainable interests for the people of both Rwanda and the Netherlands.

For these reasons, we ask the Dutch government:

  • To acknowledge that the political trial of Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has lost any guarantee for fairness and impartiality;
  • To cease all judicial cooperation in the flowed case of Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and in any other legal case related to the Rwandan judicial system;
  • To request an immediate and unconditional release of Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and other political prisoners;
  • To pay more attention to the plight of Rwandan Democrats and to the opening of political space.

Done in Lausanne, November 16, 2011

For the FDU-INKINGI Coordinating Committee
Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana, Coordinator.

November 18, 2011   No Comments