Wednesday, April 4, 2012

RWANDA: UPDATE ON INGABIRE POLITICAL TRIAL 6 MONTHS AFTER START



By Boniface Twagirimana
FDU-Inkingi

Interim Vice President
Kigali, 04 April 2012
The opposition leader Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza,Chair of FDU-Inkingi, appeared in the Kigali high court again today. Her snail political trial started 6 months ago and is still continuing. For the last three days, the court examined the defense oral submission on charges of alleged acts of terrorism. In this matter, the defense motion claims that the National public prosecution Authority has trumped up the facts just to stifle her political activities because the prosecutor failed to substantiate his evidence in accordance with the scope of the law.The motion to arrest the judgement relies for reversal upon the insufficiency of the evidence as to this count to comply with the law applicable in this matter.
Article 3 of LAW No45/2008 Of 09/09/2008 ON COUNTER TERRORISM published in OG N°14 Of 06 April 2009 says: "An act considered as terrorism shall mean an act committed or a threat to commit an act in the interest of an individual, a group or a terrorist organization". yet the whole government's proof in this case does not show where the defendant committed any act of violence, or threatened or planed to commit any. The prosecutor's witnesses pretended they have been in regular telephone communication with the key defendant in 2007 - 2008.Nevertheless the phone records provided by the Dutch authorities don't show any phone calls to or from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where those rebels were based. The prosecutor's evidential material occurred before the publication of the law and there is no retro activity of the Rwandan criminal law.
The prosecutor accused Ingabire of creating and financing a terrorist CDF and complicity in terrorist acts. According to his witnesses' statements, this organisation never existed and never carried out operations on the Rwandan soil or anywhere else.The LAW No45/2008 in its article 21 (§3) defines "accomplices in terrorist acts as any person collecting, giving or facilitating the collection of property, directly or indirectly, or sensitizing a person to give, aid or facilitate the collection of property, funds or other activities related to the interest of that group”. The prosecutor has never submitted any proof in this respect.
The testimony of Madame Speciose Mujawamariya for the prosecution does not comply with applicable laws: neither the witness nor the translator swore an oath to tell the truth. Her credibility is questionable and her account of events fit most methods of impeachment: bias or interest,character for untruthfulness, which includes impeachment by reputation, opinion, prior untruthful acts; contradiction, and prior inconsistent statements. Visibly the witness lied to protect her immigration status and her newly acquired citizenship.
The prosecutor is suggesting without any proof that Bantu Biruba and Murinde Hatari are “other names” used by Vital Uwumuremyi and JMV Karuta when traveling to Kinshasa to meet Ingabire. The prosecutor is displaying a one way ticket from Kinshasa to Goma. JMV Karuta told the court that he left Goma on 17.02.2008 and spent only two days in Kinshasa. But the Prosecutor's evidence shows that Bantu and Murinde traveled back to Goma on 24.02.2008. No information about when they went to Kinshasa either by air or any other means.


The Court categorically denied the request to subpoena Foreign Affairs and defense Ministers on grounds that they have nothing to do with this matter.


The defense oral submission came after a three-day postponement to give the Supreme Court time to start hearing on a constitutional application on the grounds that many sections under which she is charged violate her constitutional rights to freedom of speech and her civil and political rights. The ruling on this constitutional matter is due on 13 April 2012.
The High court will hear new witnesses after Easter holidays on 10th April 2012.

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