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Rwanda High Court Shows Hostility Towards Defendant Victoire Ingabire

by Boniface Twagirimana

High Court clearly hostile toward political prisoner Ingabire

Kigali, 18 October 2011 – The political trial of Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, chair of FDU-Inkingi opposition party, is now in the evidential stage. Since 13 October 2011, she has been defending herself on the counts of genocide ideology and divisionism. The High Court, clearly hostile and ignoring the non retro-activity of the criminal law and the rules of evidence on acts anterior to the ideology of genocide law, has asked hundreds of questions relating to any challenge to the ruling party’s narrative of the Rwandan genocide. This trial is still drawing much attention from inside and outside the country. The United Kingdom’s Ambassador and other top diplomats from Belgium, the Netherlands have been following the hearings.

The multiple violations of the accused’s rights by this court has made this a real Kangaroo trial:
– right to have adequate latitude to prepare a defense against the charges;
– right to introduce evidence which supports acquittal of the accused;
– right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or ex-ante;
– right to question the jurisdiction of the court;
– right to have no interference or undue influence made by governmental figures or by the ruling party; etc, …

The Court does not seem to give any credit to United Nations reports; Amnesty International releases and Human Rights statements and any other documets submitted by the defendant to support her statements or positions of her political organisations, especially when they confirm crimes targetting Hutu populations or crimes against humanity committed by members of the current regime and the army during and after the genocide.
The presiding Judge Alice Rulisa stated that she does not herself trust those reports by international organisations because some people believe they are just a recycle of negative propaganda against the government. That’s what Madame Ingabire has been explaining since Friday until today.

The opposition leader came back to the downing of President Habyarimana’s plane and its catastrophic consequences as a trigger of the Rwandan genocide. “To point the finger at the suspect or to show the catastrophic consequences of his crime is not an act of genocide denial”, said Madame Victoire Ingabire.

She is accused of divisionism because she raised in some of her statements the question of ethnicity in Rwanda. In her defence she quoted a 2008 United States Embassy in Kigali cable “Ethnicity in Rwanda – who governs the country” that leaked recently. The introduction of the “08KIGALI525” cable says: “An analysis of the ethnic breakdown of the current Rwandan government shows Tutsis hold a preponderant percentage of senior positions. Hutus in very senior positions often hold relatively little real authority, and are commonly “twinned” with senior Tutsis who exercise real power. The military and security agencies are controlled by Tutsis, generally English speakers who grew up as refugees with President Kagame in Uganda”.

The international community should voice out its concerns about this sham justice and demand an immediate release of all political prisoners in Rwanda.

FDU-Inkingi
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President.

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