Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rwanda: Open Letter to UN Secretary General with Regard to Me Bernard Ntaganda's Political Trial

By Jean-Baptiste RYUMUGABE
Representative in the Benelux and within the European Union

Brussels, December 30, 2010

To Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General
Plaza, P. O. Box 20
New York, NY 10017, USA

Concern: Political Trial of Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, Chairman of P S IMBERAKURI.

Excellency Mr. Secretary General,

We expect this January S, 2011, a political trial that the RPF party in power in Rwanda is bringing against Me Bernard NTAGANDA, Chairman and Founder of the Social Party, PS IMBERAKURI of Rwanda. Indeed, on the eve of the presidential elections of August 9, 2010,

Me Bernard NTAGANDA, former member of the political board of the Social Democratic Party –PSD (2001-2008), wanted to propose an alternative choice to the Rwandan people because at that time ail registered political parties were controlled by the ruling party, the RPF. On December 14, 2008, together with his colleagues, Mr. Bernard NTAGANDA began the official procedures aimed at registering the party PSIMBERAKURI.

Despite compliance with the existing laws with regard to the creation of political parties, the PS-IMBERAKURI was approved in July 2009 because the authorities had done everything to stop it from registering. Since its registration, the RPF party in power has used every means in attempts to destroy the party PS-IMBERAKURI. These include:

Attempts to sabotage and block the Congress held on October 25, 2009 which elected Me Bernard NTAGANDA as the party candidate for the presidential elections of August 9, 2010;

Refusal by local authorities to open the party's offices in the provinces;

Job terminations targeting leaders and members of the party P S IMBERAKURI due to pressures from the RPF, even in the private sector. This way, at least a dozen of the party's officials have been terminated from their jobs within the last six months;

Attempts to suspend the party PS IMBERAKURI by the Senate falsely accusing it of harboring genocide ideology, divisionism, endangering the unity of the people of Rwanda, denying the Gacaca courts and denouncing the suppression by the Rwandan government of the use of the French language which is normally used by more than 90 percent of the educated people. On December 14, 2009 and January 15, 2010, the party explained itself at length before the Senate which in the end took no action because the explanations provided were quite convincing.

On April 5, 2010, President KAGAME urged the Senate to end once for all Me Bernard NTAGANDA and his party's issues. The Senate then met in extreme emergency and later that night, the Senate released a statement that was broadcasted on national Radio urging Me Bernard NTAGANDA to keep silent otherwise he would be sued as an individual for the aforementioned charges.

In order to block Me Bernard NTAGANDA from participating in presidential elections and honor the wishes of President KAGAME.

Me Bernard NTAGANDA was arrested at his home on June 24, 2010 at dawn, just before the beginning of the official registration of the presidential candidates by the National Electoral Commission. As you will see it in the enclosed indictment document, Mr. Bernard NTAGANDA is accused of the same charges as those that were brought against him before the Senate.

Disappearances also affect officials and members of the party PS IMBERAKURI. For instance, Mr. Aimable SIBOMANA RUSANGWA, Private Secretary to Me Bernard NTAGANDA, was kidnapped by the police on June 13, 2010. Up to date, the police boast about it.

Excellency Mr. Secretary General,

Through you, we implore all people of goodwill worldwide to put pressure on the government of President KAGAME so that he can open up the political space in Rwanda by releasing unconditionally all political prisoners and accepting a true Inter-Rwandan Dialogue.

The release of Me Bernard NTAGANDA will enable the party PS IMBERAKURI to do its part share in building a stable and democratic Rwanda so that the people of Rwanda can expect to go about their daily duties instead of continuing to be enlisted in the politics of hate.

In anticipation of your response, which we hope will not delay, please accept, Your Excellency Mr. Secretary General, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Done in Brussels, December 30, 2010

Jean-Baptiste RYUMUGABE

Representative in the Benelux and within the European Union
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