Saturday, January 21, 2012

Memorandum - Rwandan Demonstrations in The Hague on January 21, 2012


The Dutch people must refuse that one day history accuses them of being accomplice of the dictatorial regime of General Paul Kagame.


For over five years, the Dutch government is providing annually more than ten million euros to finance the restructuring and professionalization of the judiciary and police, to build prisons and to train judges and prosecutors in Rwanda. The Rwandan (Rwandese) people are grateful.

Unfortunately, instead of serving the interests of  the people of Rwanda which they were dedicated to, these institutions  have become the tools of repression by the regime in order to consolidate its hold over the entire social and political life, and to suppress political opposition. The courageous Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair of FDU-Inkingi political party, is a clear example in mind [1]! One day history may accuse the Dutch people of having been accomplice with this system.

In order to get rid of political opponents, the regime uses any available means. It doesn’t even hesitate to accuse anyone of terrorism and intelligence with the Hutu rebels of the FDRL (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). The regime indicts potential political opponents on flimsy charges with a view of strengthening the RPF party’s authoritarian system. That’s why, all opponents against the Kigali regime that are currently in prison (Charles Ntakirutinka, Deogratias Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda, Theoneste Niyitegeka) are indiscriminately charged  of the charges that are similar to those made against Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, namely: collaboration with a terrorist organization, threatening the state security, divisionism, genocide ideology and genocide denial.

In the military hierachy, the regime uses the fight against corruption as a pretext to get rid of all vocal and critical individuals. It doesn’t even hesitate to ignore the rulings of the courts ordering it to release them.  The case in mind is the one of  Colonel Rugigana, the younger brother of General Kayumba Nyamwasa, whose detention has been strongly condemned by the court of the East African Community, to which Rwanda is signatory.

We believe that the myth surrounding the problem relating to the FDLR rebels needs to be waved out. This is first and foremost a political problem, which disserves a lasting political solution. After 17 years of military adventure, the RPF regime should boldly acknowledge that its strategy has failed.

With regard to Ms. Ingabire’s trial, the prosecution claims that Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza should remain in prison to enable the translation of the over 600 pages documents obtained from the Netherlands. Yet the Rotterdam Court of Justice informed the lawyer of Ms Victoire Ingabire family that only three papers of 16 pages were sent to Kigali. The Dutch government justifies its actions by its confidence in the Rwandan judicial system which it helped to restructure. But in reality, the system remains very repressive [2]. We ask the Dutch government to shed light on the origin of the so-called 600 pages  documents while the court talks about 16 pages.

The repeated interferences of Rwandan executive into the trial of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, starting with President Kagame, should alert the Dutch government and prompt it to revise its policy with Rwanda.

Indeed, President Paul Kagame did not wait the verdict of the court to accuse Ms Ingabire of crimes thereby ignoring the sacred presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In his interview with CNN, President Kagame said: "that woman deserves only prison". During his last official visit to Uganda on December 12th, 2011 [3] , president Kagame once again reiterated his attacks on the leaders of the opposition. He said that Ms Ingabire had pleaded guilty to most of the charges. When  the President of the Republic speaks in these terms, one may easily understand the link between politics and justice, and how much flexibility remains to such justicial system.

The Kigali regime, whose involvement in the crimes that bedeviled Rwanda and the African Great Lakes region (UN Mapping Report) is increasingly evident, is trying to ensure its immunity and stay in power at the expense of gross violations of human rights.  In other countries, these violations have provoked military intervention and international sanctions (Refer to Libya and Syria).

A regime whose leaders have pursued exilees abroad to massacre them, whose leaders are accused of  crimes against humanity starting with Muvumba and Byumba in 1990-1993; Ruhengeri in 1994-2002; Kihebo in 1995, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1996-1998; and Gisenyi in 1997 does not have the moral authority to lead the country or to ensure impartial justice.

The majority of the Dutch people tax payers deserve the right to be well informed about what is really happening in Kigali. Unfortunately, a handful of pseudo experts confiscate the fora in order to distort facts and air RPF propagandas. We urge the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali to get more closer to the oppressed Rwandan people, and better inform its government. For the time being, we don't think that this is the case.

We still do not understand the rationale of a democratic country such as the Nederlands  that keeps on supporting  a totalitarian regime instead of fostering the emergence of a genuine democratic and power sharing system, the only way that guarantees long-term and mutual interests between the people of both countries, Rwanda and the Netherlands.

For these reasons, we hereby ask the Dutch government:

-        To acknowledge that the political trial of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has lost all credibility and that the verdict is a foregone conclusion;

-        To ask the immediate and unconditional release of all political leaders including Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Mr. Deogratias Mushayidi, Mr. Theoneste Niyitegaka , Mr. Charles Ntakirutinka, Mr. Bernard Ntaganda and other civilian and military leaders, illegally detained;

-       To freeze all judicial cooperation concerning the case of Ms. Victoire  Ingabire Umuhoza as well as other criminal cases as long as there will be  no guarantee of fairness;

-        To be more dedicated to the future of Rwanda, the opening of political space, rather than the survival of the RPF regime.

Done in The Hague on January 21, 2012.


CARP                                                              FEDERMO                                          RIFDP
Jean Damascène Rugomboka                      Freddy Karekezi                                 Florentine Mukasine

FDU-Inkungi/NL                                                                                                           PDP-Imanzi
Stanis Niyibizi                                                                                                             Gerard Karangwa



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