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Rwanda: Victoire Ingabire to Paul Kagame: “Do not hold in contempt your own justice system”

by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Victoire Ingabire - Chair FDU-Inkingi

Victoire Ingabire - Chair FDU-Inkingi

As the United States defence legal team led by Professor Peter Erlinder set foot in Rwanda today, a presidential exclusive interview justifying why his government will freeze in jail Ms. Victoire Ingabire, FDU INKINGI presidential candidate, is making headlines. Though the threat is clear crystal, the saddest is that it’s full of sheer lies and an obvious contempt of the Rwandan justice. I was honoured by the incumbent’s calumniation alleging that I confessed to 7 charges out of ten things the prosecution came up with, and that his regime has overwhelming evidence for my trial.

The exclusive interview granted in Kigali last week by President Paul Kagame to Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki (online since 22nd May 2010) is disturbing.
Either the Monitor is spreading forgery, fiction or falsification, either the President is overtaking and derailing the justice system he tailored from scratch. In either case, he needs to clear this situation.

He stated:

“…Now she’s saying that seven of them are actually true (…). Initially she had denied that she only used to just give supportive comments. Then the evidence of these FDLR colonels who are here with us and when they confronted her they said ‘you were with us’ and she said ‘yeah, I’m sorry I visited you so many times’. This is in court of law”.

He continued:

“When we confronted her afterwards she almost collapsed. This is in broad daylight, in courts of law. This is somebody, a candidate, a so-praised opposition leader, yes, but waits a minute; if there are cases to answer, you answer them… This woman will certainly be where she belongs. She was charged in the court of law …”

I am seriously wondering if the President is talking about my case or another story.
Of course everybody knows he can arbitrary order my arrest anytime he wants, but if he needs a court of justice to do that job for him he should respect some legal rules as well.
The separation of powers and the rule of law are guaranteed by the constitution.

The President should avoid putting pressure on courts and judges. Most judges in Rwanda are nominated but under the current regime only a super-judge can resist such injunction. Nevertheless it’s in nobody’s interest to challenge a presidential command. This is a blatant violation of the independence of a judge.
The colour of the court ruling in my case will be a result of this unrelenting presidential pressure on the system. We all know that this politically motivated case was initiated by the President who, visibly and closely is still pulling the strings all the steps around.

The current justice system built on scratch in the last decades is still very fragile and politicians, especially the President or any of his cronies should not meddle into pending court affairs and deliberations.
How Rwandans and the world will know the truth in case of an expeditive justice? As the case is still pending with the court, there is such thing as sub judice and he can not just publicly comment on a case, interfere with judicial proceeding or put pressure on magistrates and still make people believe there is independent justice.

Many Rwandans are victim of similar practices under the mercy of those in power.
Justice appeared to be served, but the scars would never heal for the victims, their families and our people.
This might be one of the reasons why the regime has sealed off the political space, and is instead yelling out the pretext to avoid backsliding to genocide.

As far as I am concerned, the court hearings on the so-called overwhelming evidence or ghost proofs have not yet started.
I was arbitrarily arrested on 21st April 2010, and released on bail the second day. Until now the prosecutor is not yet in order with his papers.
I have never met the much publicised FDLR renegades in the hands of the regime. There has never been any confrontation.
The non-violence is and will always be my motto.

Many questions remain unanswered: how is the President planning to extract forced confessions? Considering the fact that only 3 counts were levelled against my person, while the President is talking about 10, when his services will release and substantiate the remaining charges? Will it happen after the presidential campaign is closed?

Since my return to Rwanda in January 2010, I have been trying to get my political party, FDU INKINGI, registered and by 6 times, the government derailed our constitutional congress. The official reason is the criminal charges levelled and the subsequent never-happening trial.

Don’t shy away free and fair competition and to stop using justice for your own purposes. There will be no democracy and justice for all without truth and healing.

Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza,
Chair FDU INKINGI

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5 comments

1 Rwanda: Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire has confessed, says President Kagame | Rwandinfo_ENG { 05.24.10 at 5:14 am }

[…] Rwanda: Victoire Ingabire to Paul Kagame: “Do not hold in contempt your own justice system” […]

2 Paul { 05.24.10 at 8:44 am }

Kagame Interview , when asked about Ingabire….

How do you respond to criticism that the arrest of Victoire Ingabire has been done to try and prevent her from establishing a political party and running against you as a candidate, that you are using genocide laws to clamp down on political dissent…
First, Ingabire is not accused of having been involved in the genocide because she was not here. She was abroad. She’s actually been out of the country for 17 years but that’s not the problem.
But while she was there, before she came to contest in these elections, she had been doing things that, in the end, would put her into trouble and she knew about it but of course these people always operate under the assumption that, you know, ‘we can do all this but when we come for things like elections in the country the international community will not allow these people to [do anything about it]’ even when they know they have been involved in wrong doing.
Even the UN itself has information; they wrote about this person, giving details about how she was connected with the FDLR, these genocidaires who live in the Congo and who have been killing Congolese and our own people.
On our side we have evidence, which has been brought to her attention, and about 10 things she has been denying. Now she’s saying that seven of them are actually true and this has come as a result of the overwhelming evidence that was put in front of her including the people she was working with, the former soldiers in the FDLR who are here in our hands, who are testifying to these accusations.

What are the accusations?
First of all that she had been visiting FDLR in the Congo just before she came. Initially she had denied, that she only used to just give supportive comments. Then the evidence of these FDLR colonels who are here with us and when they confronted her they said ‘you were with us’ and she said ‘yeah, I’m sorry I visited you so many times’. This is in court of law.
Then they said you were contributing money, supplied money to FDLR she was saying no. In our collaboration in the Congo and so on, through their justice institutions and ours, they now have bank documents which prove that she actually supplied money, not once, not twice, but several times.
She visited them, not once, not twice. When initially she was being accused, she did not know that we had these people in our custody.
When we confronted her afterwards she almost collapsed. This is in broad daylight, in courts of law. This is somebody, a candidate, a so-praised opposition leader, yes, but wait a minute; if there are cases to answer, you answer them. It doesn’t matter how outsiders talk about it and insult us and abuse us and all sorts of things and praise her for being so Godly and being a very powerful opposition leader but there are cases here to answer.
Yes we’ve earned a bad name for no good reason but issues are being sorted out. This woman will certainly be where she belongs. She was charged in the court of law, she’s now out on bail but the matters are serious and are there as a matter of fact. How then do I explain myself or for this country beyond that? Now the outsiders who want so badly Ingabire to be an opposition leader here or later on be our president, well, they may wait for a while.

3 manaseh haruna { 05.24.10 at 9:55 am }

i would like to remind our president that Ingabire is not only wanted by outsiders to become our president but also the majority of Rwandans. I can guarantee that any genuine opposition person who can stand against RPF can win with overwelming majority. People are angry and fed up with the regime and they are hungry for change. Please mr president retire in dignity and let democracy to take its course otherwise you will also end up where you wish her to be.

4 Rwanda: “This woman will be where she belongs”, says Kagame about opposition leader Victoire Ingabire | Rwandinfo_ENG { 05.24.10 at 12:10 pm }

[…] When we confronted her afterwards she almost collapsed. This is in broad daylight, in courts of law. Here is Ingabire’s reaction: Rwanda: Victoire Ingabire to Paul Kagame: “Do not hold in contempt your own justice system” […]

5 Daniel Mike Hall { 05.28.10 at 6:06 am }

I urge Ingabire to remain strong and start forming her coallision government.Rwanda needs a proper change for good and she was chosen to lead Rwandans from Darkness!!!!So here is how I see her new government just to stimulate the mind……President:Her Excellency Victoire Ingabire
Prime minister: Hon Eugene Rwamucyo
Minister of defence:James Kabarebe (yes! no changes)
ArmyChief of Staff: Kayumba Nyamwasa(bring him back) Foreign affairs:Paul Rusesabagina
Finance: Donald Kaberuka
Ministry of health: Dr Brown Bajinya
Chief of Police: Yours truely(me)
Our first mandate: The realease of all political Prisoners including those held in Arusha! No foreign Country or international organisation should be allowed to interfere with our reconciliation.
Second Mandate: To obtain an official apology from former President Mr PK for coming back home from exile in a hurry and causing all the mess.(then he will retire as a university lecturer on forgotten phillosophies!) This will happen if everybody behaves and is nice.The opposite is also possible.

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