Friday, March 18, 2011

RWANDA: JUDGE AND PROSECUTOR MEDIA COMMENTS ON INGABIRE'S TRIAL ARE NOT FAIR

By Boniface Twagirimana
FDU-INKINGI
Interim Vice President.

The pro-governmental mouthpiece, the New Times of March 17th, 2011 (issue 14567) again blasted Ms. Victoire INGABIRE, the incarcerated opposition leader and Chair of FDU-INKINGI, for not going blindly to the politically stage-managed judicial butchery.

“We have communicated to her in writing several times. We gave her the charge sheet and all files from prosecution containing evidence. We asked her to file her defence in February but it hasn’t happened to date,” said Justice Johnston Busingye, the High Court President and Vice president of the Rwanda Supreme Court.
“We served her with a reminder but nothing happened. We have given her the right to defend herself and we will wait until she responds. She can as well tell us that she doesn’t want and we can proceed and set the date without her defence.”, he continued.

Until proven wrong, we can't believe that such a high position judge has deliberately told untruth to the public using a partisan media outlet when he knows that the 2080 page file submitted in a rush by the Prosecution on December 27th, 2010 to justify the illegal detention of Ms. Victoire Ingabire is still under investigation, according to the Justice Minister.

The access to the Court file has been very difficult, restrictive and unprofessional. The file is an amalgam of different languages and it's the responsibility of the Court to avail the whole file in an official language understood by the accused's defence counsel.

Rwanda is a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and English is since sometime its official language. Two members of the defence counsel are British citizens and have never been facilitated with official English translations. Does Justice Johnston Busingye care whether the defence understands the case or not? It's known that his job is not a political position though he was a member of the ruling party, and was a long term serving member of the ruling executive machinery.

Many times, the Military Intelligence and CID members denied the defendant the right to quality and private discussions with the Rwandan Lawyer until the Chief Prosecutor intervened at least three times. Many times, legally accredited foreign lawyers were denied access to the client. One British lawyer had no other alternative but to postpone his flight because his visits to the Kigali prison were denied for two consecutive days.

The same tabloid has quoted the General Prosecutor, Mr, Martin Ngoga, saying:
“Prosecution was ready for this trial from the day we filed the substantive case with the High Court. We indicated in the past that we had made several requests for judicial cooperation from a number of European countries, we got very little and slow cooperation from them. We, however, were able to obtain evidence enough to prove our case in the opinion of the Prosecution”.
Curiously Justice Minister, Hon. Mr. Tharcisse Karugarama stated in Geneva on March 8th 2011 that more time was needed for the prosecution:
“In my quality as Minister of Justice, considering the independence of the judicial in Rwanda, I have no comment on Ingabire case because it's still under investigation. Rwanda has requested rogatory letters from Belgium, The Netherlands and the USA. The Rwandan judicial is still waiting for the results of those foreign investigations in order to substantiate the charges. It will certainly take time. Considering the importance of this trial for the Rwandan justice and the international community, Rwandan authorities will never take the risk to open the trial until the prosecution is in possession of all the pieces",said the Minister.

In an exclusive interview with Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki (online since May22nd, 2010), President Kagame stated:
“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.”
This reveals once again troubling contradictions and government interferences in this case. Clearly some of those key authorities, either the President of the High Court and Deputy President of the Supreme Court; either the Prosecutor General, either the Minister of Justice and Attorney General or President Paul Kagame are voluntarily fooling the public, for a hidden agenda.

Those contradictions and lies erode the little public confidence in the Rwandan judicial.

Related Stories:
Ingabire delaying her case- Court

RWANDA: NO INDEPENDENCE, NO JUSTICE

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