By Jennifer Fierberg, MSW
In a press release by the FDU-INKINGI party on Monday March 12, 2012 they had the following to state about the ongoing trial of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza:
RWANDA: INGABIRE POLITICAL TRIAL RESUMES. THE HIGH COURT SUSPENDS DEBATES ON GENOCIDE ALLEGATIONS UNTIL CONSTITUTIONALITY RULING.
MARCH 12, 2012
Kigali, 12 March 2012
On 12 March 2012, the political trial of the opposition leader Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza resumed. About 200 people from all the folks attended the hearing, and some of them donned pink, a symbol of the prison uniform in solidarity with all Rwandan political prisoners. The High Court decided to suspend all debates related to genocide ideology in this case until the Supreme Court rules on the defendant petition to nullify the controversial law. The hearing is continuing on charges which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to recruitment etc. into an armed force, complicity in terrorist acts and willingly disseminating rumors aimed at inciting the public against the existing leadership.
The High Court decision resulted from a last week petition to the Supreme Court by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza to review the constitutionality of the LAW N°18/2008 OF 23/07/2008 RELATING TO THE PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE IDEOLOGY.
This is happening amidst fresh disappearances of opposition leaders in Rwanda. The Parti Social IMBERAKURI informed the public in a press release dated 10 March 2012 that Mr. Jean Baptiste ICYITONDERWA, Party Secretary in charge of mobilisation, was kidnapped by security personnel since 07 March 2012. His whereabouts are still unknown. In Rwanda, the fate of abducted political leaders has always been extremely worrying, especially since 14 July 2010 when the body of the late André KAGWA RWISEREKA, the then Vice President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda was found beheaded. The international community demanded justice for the assassination but nothing happened until now, two years later.
Interim Vice President
Mr. Jean Baptiste ICYITONDERWA has since surfaced and with reports of being tortured by his captors.
Boniface Twagirimana also spoke with this journalist regarding the status of Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza’s trial and the challenges they are facing as this process continues as a game of cat and mouse between the laws and the government. In a partial victory for Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, with her lawyers they challenged the constitutionality of the “Genocide Ideology” law in regards to her case which therefore halted the proceedings on that charge but as Bonifice Twagirimana stated in the brief interview below the court is still carrying on with the 5 other charges:
JF: How do you feel about the hearing today? And the progress of the case in general?
BT: About progress it difficult to determine but we are at the end of some crimes but to define about the crime of genocide ideology that the chairperson of FDU- INKINGI Mrs. Ingabire Victoire has petitioned in the supreme court because that law is in contradiction with the Rwandan constitution and the international laws that the RWANDA has signed. The Supreme Court has to decide on it and it difficult to know when.
JF: Do you believe she is getting a fair trial?
BT: No, as the justice in Rwanda still being controlled by Kagame. We can believe there is a fair trial especially for those in opposition of the regime (RPF). About the decision of the court today, we are satisfied with it but what we want is correction of the law of “genocide ideology” that the government uses as the tool to remove all unwanted persons.
JF: I heard from sources that some FDU individuals and RPF individuals met in Kenya to discuss her case and that she was going to sign a confession and then she would be released. Is there any truth to this?
BT: That is the rumors that RPF uses to divide peoples and to put peoples in conflict as one of the strategies of destroying the strength of the opposition .That is the reason why Kagame himself when he was in Kampala said that the lawyers fled Ingabire what is not true. This shows Kagame interference in Rwandese’s justice.
JF: Others have stated she will be released to house arrest..is this accurate?
BT: I have told u that those are the rumors because she didn’t ask for mercy. She is defending her case in the court for the false accusations aiming to stop her in her initiative of protecting the principles of democracy, human rights, respect, equality among all Rwandese, sustainable development and the real reconciliation based on stopping the culture of impunity that reign in Rwanda…
JF: when do you see this case coming to an end?
BT: we would like to see our leader out of jail as soon as possible because her place is not in prison but in the society and help the Rwandese people to express without fear of being tortured, kidnapped, intimidations… but RPF regime shows that needs to delay the trail of our Hero Mme Ingabire Victoire in prison on using all the strategies but what is started must have the end, nothing can stop us to fight for our freedom and for the freedom of all Rwandese.
JF: is there anything you would like to add?
BT: Even RFP and his chairperson Paul Kagame still fight against the opposition parties they must know that we are there, we are determinate, physically and mindfully until the war for democracy in peacefully is won.
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s trial continues with new evidences being presented this week on the charges of terrorism that she stands accused of.