Rwandan High Court denies bail to opposition leader Victoire Ingabire
by Eugene Ndahayo
Despite the poor evidence of the prosecution during the hearing on the 8th November 2010, the High Court has stunned Rwandans and all human rights community, and decided to follow the state prosecution. It has ruled that the chairperson of FDU-Inkingi be remanded in jail awaiting her trial. The verdict reading lasted from 15:50 pm to 16:40 pm before a huge crowd of spectators, including FDU-Inkingi party members.
You will remember that, during the hearing, the state prosecution had laboured in trying to convince the court of the legitimacy of maintaining Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in remand, in order to avoid her tempering with investigation. Amid blatant contradictions and inconsistency, the state prosecution even ventured into bringing in the controversial sewage pit found at the home of Victoire Ingabire, a fact that amply shows the weakness of the case and her politically motivated nature.
The public will recall that before this arrest on 8th October, as well as even before the previous arrest of April 2010, the state prosecution had boasted of overwhelming evidence against the accused. Instead of adducing before court this evidence, the prosecution is busy manufacturing fake evidence, with a sole purpose of maintaining behind bars an innocent woman.
The ruling of the High Court betrays the government agenda of hijacking the judiciary in its endeavour to silence all critical voices. The regime is also using this much touted case, as a smoke screen in order to divert the public attention from the devastating UN Mapping exercise report, which brought in limelight the atrocities committed by its army in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC-, and portray it as a victim. This was proved by the strong propaganda team which was dispatched in Europe and whose agenda has inconsistently been to demonise the opposition and to belittle the crimes against humanity committed in DRC.
The entire membership of the party expresses its total solidarity with their chairperson and vows to upkeep her ideals, so that the struggle for justice initiated by Miss Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza keeps going. It calls all peace and justice loving Rwandan to join hands and achieve this goal. No amount of political repression will overcome the need for basic political and civil rights.
The leadership of the FDU Inkingi calls upon genuine friends of Rwanda to impress upon the regime to guaranty political space and desist from saying that political space is full, as such speeches only deepen the gap between the population and the government.
Instead, friends of Rwanda should join hands and ask for the setting up of an ad hoc judicial mechanism to identity and deal with people responsible for the crimes committed in DRC against Rwandan refugees and Congolese citizen, as per the UN Mapping Exercise report request. It is strange to see how the government is prompt to quote UN while trying to justify the arrest of Victoire Ingabire, and shy away when the same institution asks for accountability in crimes committed in DRC.
Condoning government attempts to thwart that report by crashing the political opposition is a dangerous path, as it strengthens the culture of impunity, which is the root cause of all the misery of the sub region.
As such, the Kigali regime leaves no chance to the democratic opposition which has long longed for a political peaceful change. It is high time that the Partner States of the Rwandan government realized that it is their support which contributes to the strengthening of political tyranny and maintains an entire nation in bondage. It is a decoy than basing regional stability in the medium term on a totalitarian government which, moreover, has committed very serious crimes under international humanitarian law and human rights.
We urge the major donors to review their complete cooperation with the government and, where appropriate, to consider economic sanctions and limitation of foreign travel of key political and military leaders and their immediate families.
Done in Brussels, 12th November 2010