Monday, April 11, 2011

Rwanda: Ill-comments from Kagame on Twitter and National Commissionner for Human Rights in The New Times

By Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President
April, 10, 2011


Tackled by Mr. P. Kuiper, member of the Humanist Peace Council in the Netherlands on Twitter (Sunday 10 April 2011), President Paul Kagame (or his private secretary on twitter) abused Ms. Victoire Ingabire and accused her of delaying her case. Similar rhetoric and propaganda was circulated by the governmental Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) in its latest press release issued on 05 April 2011 and commented by its Vice President, Deogratias Kayumba, in a pro-government mouthpiece, The New Times (09 April 2011, issue 14590) under the title: “Ingabire to blame for her detention-Human Rights body”.

“The prolonged preventive detention of Victoire Ingabire, the embattled leader of the yet-to-be registered political party, FDU-Inkingi, is a result of her own making. This was revealed in a statement by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR)”, wrote Bosco R. Asiimwe in The New Times.

The statement reads: “It should be noted that the case of Ms. Victoire Ingabire is related to the aforementioned crimes [divisionism and criminal conspiracy] to which are added the acts of terrorism, given her collaboration with terrorist groups. It is necessary to mention that Ms. Ingabire also contributes herself to her prolonged preventive detention as she frequently requests to adjourn hearings”.

How could a serious government human rights body blindly support political oppression?

This spree of contradictions comes after some media comments by High Court Justice Johnston Busingye and National Prosecutor Mr. Martin Ngoga blaming the defendant of sabotaging her own case by delaying maneuvers. (See FDU-INKINGI press release on 18 March 2011: “Ingabire’s trial: Judge and prosecutor media comments not fair”).

Within a few weeks President Paul Kagame, the government-appointed national Commissioner for human rights, the High Court President and the National Prosecutor are repeating the same hype with full knowledge of the truth. The obstructions are on their side: the access to the file has been very difficult; the maximum prison administration has refused to communicate important materials to the defendant; private discussions with lawyers have been denied or restricted; the official translations of the file are not available. Why suddenly all the ruling machinery is spreading blatant lies?

The sub judice rule regulates the publication of matters which are under consideration by the court. There is no fair justice when everybody is systematically meddling with the judicial process.

President Paul Kagame (or his private secretary) wrote on twitter: “Better to follow it up with the court! She is in court for crimes committed-opposition politics (to do with her) just used as cover... good amount of evidence against her has come from The Netherlands...and she has been responsible for the delay of her case she keeps asking for postponement ...all this has been well explained in detail publicly but you chose to keep asking....”.

What is more alarming is that the president revealed that the incarcerated opposition leader, Ms. Victoire Ingabire, is going to plead guilty: “What will you really say when, as will happen, she herself admits guilt to these charges because of overwhelming evidence!”.

This is not the first time the president is prophesizing the guilt plea of Ms. Victoire Ingabire. In an exclusive interview granted in Kigali by President Paul Kagame to Daily Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki (online since 22nd May 2010) he said: “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 …”

We know that intensive pressure is being exerted on her since the arrest in October 2010 to sign guilt pleas. The role of the President in this meddling is very troubling.

Ms. Victoire Ingabire, Chair of the party FDU-INKINGI, has already spent 178 days in maximum security prison. All the key opposition leaders in Rwanda are in prison.

The government should bring this intimidation to an end and pave the way towards a democratic, free and fair transition.

Related Materials:
Ingabire’s trial: Judge and prosecutor media comments not fair

Ingabire to blame for her detention – Human Rights body


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