Rwanda: Statement by Presidential Candidate Frank Habineza, after the Presidential Elections, held on 4th August 2017 (05.08.2017)

Opinion: President Kagame won with 98.66%, just like his predecessors Kayibanda and Habyarimana!

Its been 17 years of RPF rule and will be 7 more years with President Paul Kagame. The ones that thought differently has lived under a rock and thought the whole world would stop spinning. The world stop and the hearts would stop pumping if there was a different result at this point. This was massaged and made ready for the world. The whole campaign and the race to the polls. You don’t manage a race of significance and get 98% by coincidence, that is measured and made sure off. Just like the Presidents before him.

Incumbent President Paul Kagame took a major early lead in Friday’s presidential polls with 5,433,890 votes (98.66 per cent) of the total votes counted by 12:30am. By press time (around 1am), the National Electoral Commission had managed to count about 80 per cent of the votes cast (5,498,414 votes) from 1,732 polling stations. There were 2,340 polling stations across the country. Independent candidate Phillippe Mpayimana was in a distant second having just garnered 39,620 votes (about 0.72 per cent). Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, trailed with a measly 24,904 votes, which is 0.45 per cent of the votes counted” (Mwai, 2017).

Because if looks into the Rwandan election history, it is not like the history isn’t telling of similar elections like the one seen this week. Not like the Republic of Rwanda has different results. If you go back to voting on the monarchy in September 25th 1961, if the Kingdom should be preserved it got 78,5%. So the people abolished it 1961 and the other ballot if the King Kigeri V to remain king or had to abdicate, the result that day was 79,60 % who voted him to become a civilian. So even in the 1960s the now Republic voted in high numbers for one thing.

The President George Kayibanda was voted for in 1965 election and he was elected unopposed with 100% support. The same happen in 1969. When Kayibanda was reelected. Then again it took sometime before the next election.

In an unopposed election of President Juvenal Habyarimana in the 24th December 1978, where he got 98,99 %. Again on the 19th December 1983 he got reelected and was unopposed who got 99,97%. The third election with President Habyarimana, again went unopposed on the 19th December 1988, that time he got 99,98%.

After that, there been lots of issues and the civil war, that ended in genocide in 1994. When the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), who became the leading party Rwanda Patriotic Front. In the first Presidential election after the genocide, it was in 2003, when President Paul Kagame got 95,05%. So 7 years later in 2010, the incumbent President got 93,08%.

Now in 2017 and unleashing yet another term for the Rwandan President, who follows his predecessors. The ones that was overthrown and killed. These took so much control that they created a violent legacy. Certainly, President Kagame doesn’t want that, but he is following the footsteps of the leaders in the past. Nothing with is different from them, just another name and another time, but with the same controlling state and dark secrets. Kagame got this year 98,66% in the Presidential Election in 2017. Which, is very much alike like Habyarimana, who was shot down while flying in the 1990s. While the death of Kayibanda is still unknown. Therefore, if Kagame follows his predecessors it will end in genocide and a horrible assassination.

Not that we wish that, but the history repeats itself, as seen with the election and state control of society. As well, as internal affairs are controlled from the state. To way that even banished the World Bank from studying the poverty and analyze it to create programs to fight it. This was because the Rwandan state wanted to control the numbers and make sure the propaganda was fitting the vision of Kagame. Therefore, nothing is surprising.

That Kagame got 98% in the election was waited, just like the generations in the past expected Habyarimana and Kayibanda to win with overwhelming numbers. It is all repeating itself and going in circles. To overlook that is to be blind and trying to overshadow the history, which is the propaganda of the state. But that is to be expected. Peace.

Reference:

African Elections – ‘Elections in Rwanda’ link: http://africanelections.tripod.com/rw.html

Mwai, Collins – ‘Kagame wins presidential poll’ (05.08.2017) link: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/217433/

Opinion: President Kagame was predetermined to win; there were no other outcome!

Let us be honest for minute, let us be clear, there are not any misunderstanding. However, anyone else on the Presidential Ballot in Rwanda is there for show. It is there so the play of “democracy” and “secret ballots” can be put in order and fix a new “term” to President Paul Kagame. He knows this and those who know the Republic knows this.

It is not like the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the former Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) came into Rwandan history with glory and peace. They went in at its dire worst and broke peace through bullets and harsh killing sprees. They did so while the airplane of former President fell down from the sky and no-one has taken responsibility for it. Until this day, decades later. There is a grim darkness overshadowing the rule of Kagame.

Former associates and generals who has fled has died of poison and been assassinated. This while reports and opposition are lingering in jails or detained. The real-opposition had better be in Exile like Moise Katumbi of Democratic Republic of Congo. Since Kagame does the same and claim “treason” to stand against him. If not he leaks sensitive information, discredit their candidacy and let the Electoral Commission not accept their candidacy at all. Diane Rwigara got this treatment; surely, Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza already knows the price of standing-up against the big-man and commander-in-chief.

So with this in mind, with the real opposition either in exile, house-arrest or prison. You know the fellas on the ballot together with Kagame are stooges and people trusted by him. If not they would not be there. He would have flogged them and harassed them. Their families might even grieve before the treason trials begins. It is fake and flawed, there aren’t any sort of digression or concern of how foul play it is. Even if Kagame says, “Rwandese decides their future now”. Well, to counter what you say, I say, “you already decided their future”.

At this moment the election is a façade and a farce at the same time. It is play for the gallery and trying to create an image that President Kagame, that he is universally loved and cherished by all citizens in Rwanda! Like that is even possible. Surely, many has earned fortunes on the illegal mining and rebel activity in the DRC. That has had proxy wars there and exported minerals in quantities that we cannot imagine. However, this what keeps the RPF a float and pays for the master to have TED talks and look brilliant in the West.

The elections and campaigning might be peaceful, but the total control from Kagame should scare you. He controls everything and his army has it tight-knit. Just like the results of today’s exercise will be around 90% to 95%, the others are just cast for play. To make it seem like they had a chance, when everyone knows there is only one winner and one leader, that is Kagame.

So today, is nothing more but a façade, a shell and forgery of what could have been! It is nice that is peaceful and no-one get hurt. It is great that the polling stations are in order and electoral officials are keeping things humming. The result is nevertheless predestined to be in favor of Kagame and the RPF. To say something else and you have not followed class of 94’ and the whole RPA insurgency. Peace.

Advocacy Brief on Kenya: 15th Session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 16-24 November, 2016 (21.11.2016)

kptj

Background

At the height of the violence that gripped Kenya after the disputed 2007 elections, the Party of the National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement, who were parties to the conflict, wrote to the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking its intervention to stop what they called genocide. A local investigatory commission with international participation found that some actions during the post-election violence likely met the threshold of crimes against humanity and recommended the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Kenya, or in the alternative, the handover of the sealed evidence to the Prosecutor at the ICC.

Efforts to establish the Tribunal were defeated by political forces aligned to suspected perpetrators, hence triggering the handover of evidence to the ICC and the subsequent investigation. Six Kenyans were named in connection with seven crimes against humanity charges; the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed charges against four suspects. Two suspects – Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were subsequently elected President and Deputy President, respectively, before their trials could begin at the ICC. Thereafter, the Prosecutor withdrew charges against two suspects – Francis Muthaura and Kenyatta – citing witness bribery and intimidation, as well as failure by the Kenya government to cooperate with the court. The remaining case against Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang was terminated citing “intolerable levels of witness interference and political meddling”.

Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) has followed closely the developments around accountability for the crimes committed during the 2007 post-election violence. Since the opening of the investigations in March 2010, we have observed certain shortcomings and challenges on the part of the Government of Kenya, the ICC, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) and the African Union (AU). This brief seeks to focus on key issues emerging from the situation that the ICC and international justice finds itself in today, while drawing linkages from how the Kenya cases and other ICC cases were managed. KPTJ also makes recommendations on actions that require to be undertaken by the ASP, the ICC and African governments in order to address the emergent challenges.

  1. Engage and Withdraw Simultaneously?

A Contradiction in the Mandate of the AU Open Ended Committee

  1. The 27th ordinary session of the African Union’s assembly in July 2016 issued a decision on the ICC[1] pursuant to a similar one from the previous session[2]. Besides praising the court’s termination of the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, the AU outlined a five-point agenda for the Open-Ended Committee of Foreign Ministers on the ICC, which included the following:
  • Engaging with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) before the January 2017 AU Summit and before the 15th Assembly of State Parties in November 2016.
  • Maintaining the earlier decision from January 2016, to develop a comprehensive strategy to inform the actions of AU member states that are party to the Rome Statute; a strategy that includes collective withdrawal from the ICC.
  • Concluding a review of the ICC’s interpretation of Article 93 of the Rome Statute regarding the compulsion of unwilling witnesses to testify, with a view to inform debate at the 15th
  • Conveying the message that AU member states object to the inclusion of language requiring the UNSC to mandate UN peace-keeping missions to enforce arrest warrants in Africa.
  • Utilising the AU Mission in Brussels, Belgium, as the secretariat to the Open-ended Ministerial Committee and provision of institutional support to the African Group in The Hague, Netherlands, to ensure effective coordination of its activities.
  1. The AU has since held a meeting with the UNSC in September 2016 to present pre-formulated terms developed by the Open-ended Ministerial Committee as conditions to keep African States as parties to the Rome Statute. These conditions were as follows[3]:
  • Immunity under the ICC’s Rome Statute for sitting heads of state and government as well as senior officials;
  • Intervention of the ICC in cases involving African states only after those cases have been submitted to the AU or AU judicial institutions; and
  • Reduction in the powers of the ICC Prosecutor.
  1. Recent developments have seen South Africa, Burundi and The Gambia commence processes to withdraw from the ICC; seemingly as part of actualising the intention cited in the agenda of the Open-ended Ministerial Committee. These actions expose the agenda by the AU to be disingenuous and presupposes that the deliberations within the ASP would be futile.. The wave of withdrawals occurs against a counter-wave of support for the Court by countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana[4]; an indication that the strategy for mass withdrawal does not enjoy the consensus suggested by the AU decision of July 2016. These countries have suggested that concerns expressed by African states are not insurmountable and can be addressed within the framework of the ASP. Their support for the ICC underscores the fact that the obligations under the Rome Statute are State obligations and not AU obligations; as such, decisions on withdrawal will be based on national interest that cannot be assumed by the AU.
  1. Furthermore, the strategy for AU member states to withdraw undermines the other outlined agenda items of engagement with the ASP, such as the review of the interpretation of Article 93 of the Rome Statute and the enforcement of arrest warrants. Such contradictory actions raise the question of whether the AU is negotiating ICC reforms in good faith.
  1. In light of the foregoing, KPTJ recommends that:
  • African States abandon and disregard calls for mass withdrawal from the Court and instead consolidate the member bloc to advance their concerns within the bounds of the ASP in deliberations based on good faith.
  • African states should continue to publicly reaffirm their support for engaging with the ICC through the ASP and prevail on the AU to adjust its engagement strategy accordingly. We applaud the statements made by Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana.
  • An ICC Liaison Office should be established at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to facilitate more productive and sustained communication between African States and the ICC as part of restoring a relationship that has become plagued by mistrust and misunderstandings.
  1. Absence of Accountability?

Peace, Security and Stability

  1. The characterisation of the ICC as undermining the peace and security of states or threatening their stability has become a recurring theme by those advocating disengagement or withdrawal from the ICC. In its notice of withdrawal, South Africa claims that its aspirations for the peaceful resolution of conflicts were being hindered by its obligations under the Rome Statute[5] to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir when he attended the June 2015 AU Summit in Johannesburg. Kenyan government officials have also previously described the cases against Kenyatta and Ruto as an existential threat to peace and stability.
  2. A closer scrutiny of this assertion in the face of ongoing conflict situations suggests the contrary. The absence of accountability processes does not necessarily facilitate peaceful resolution of conflicts; the South Sudan and Burundi conflicts instead point to protagonists willing to escalate violence, even in the context of peace negotiations. Burundi and The Gambia have commenced processes to withdraw from the ICC at a time when their respective governments stand accused of acts of repression and mass human rights violations. Rather than advance the cause for peace, the clamour for withdrawal from the ICC is playing into the hands of those wary of the prospects of accountability in the aftermath of conflict. Even more concerning is an apparent trend of rising post-election violence, such as that witnessed in Kenya previously and in Gabon currently, or violence stemming from efforts to instal third-term incumbencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi. Such trends are bound to persist in the absence of mechanisms for accountability, of which the ICC is a critical component.
  3. The assertion that the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (African Court) and its proposed expanded criminal jurisdiction through the Malabo Protocol would fill in any void created by a mass withdrawal from the ICC is erroneous. The African Court is a distant prospect for addressing the impunity gap: it is far from being operational. Since 2013, only five states namely Benin, Kenya, Congo, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania have signed but not ratified the Malabo Protocol, which requires the ratification of 15 states to begin operations. Kenya is the only state thus far that has made a financial pledge of USD 1 million to operationalise the court — a far cry from the resources required for a court of broad jurisdiction consisting of a mandate on human rights as well as international law and interstate disputes. It has previously been estimated that a singular international criminal trial costs USD 20 million to undertake. In addition, the protocol contains contentious provisions that undermine its viability as an alternative platform for international crimes, the most notable being the clause of immunity for sitting heads of state and senior government officials. As a testament to the inability of the African Court to be an immediate replacement of the ICC as desired by some, even South Africa through its Justice Minister has indicated that it will ask for a review of the Malabo Protocol to address contentious issues. Furthermore, limited progress has been made towards establishing national mechanisms that can sufficiently undertake the obligation of accountability for international crimes.
  4. KPTJ recognises the pursuit of justice in conflict and post-conflict settings as an essential pillar of rebuilding democracies and restoring rule of law. These are the pathways to lasting peace, security and stability. Rather than push to void international justice mechanisms after the conflict to facilitate mediation, we recommend that:
  • African states fully implement and consistently apply already established norms on democracy, peace and security as a preventative measure to conflict including: the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and; the African Governance Architecture.
  • African states must critically reflect on and address the issues of the African Court’s capacity, accessibility, legal standards outlined for crimes under international law and expunge provisions conferring immunity on sitting Heads of State and senior government officials. This process must not be rushed or predicated on a manufactured crisis precipitated by a strategy of mass withdrawal from the ICC.
  • African states should establish robust and credible national mechanisms to address the accountability question at first instance and in complementarity with regional and international mechanisms. They must also broaden their policy considerations to include comprehensive reparation programmes for victims of international crimes.
  • Disparity between State Obligations and Reality?

A look at State Cooperation

  1. The Kenya and Sudan cases have exposed the frailties within the Rome Statute framework in as far as state cooperation is concerned. These cases have laid waste to the presumption that States will willingly engage with the court in the face of cases seeking to prosecute sitting heads of state, their deputies or powerful elites in close proximity to power. State cooperation has only demonstrably worked in instances where the target for prosecution is a vanquished foe of conflict as seen in the cases of Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire, that are fast advancing a notion of “victor’s justice”. This challenge is further compounded by the fact that the final recourse for addressing the lack of state cooperation rests with the ASP. The ASP being a political organ of the Rome Statute is influenced by political rather than purely legal considerations in making its decisions, which makes the issue of resolving the non-cooperation of states problematic. A final challenge to state cooperation is the failure of the United States, China and Russia to ratify the Rome Statute while also being members of the UNSC with the power of referral of matters to the court. This has created the notion of double standards within the international justice system and emboldened other states to disregard cooperation with the court.
  2. KPTJ calls on the members of the UNSC who have not ratified the Rome Statute to display leadership on State cooperation with the court by first ratifying the Statute and utilising its discretion on referral and deferral in a manner that adheres to the objectives of the Statute. We further wish to reiterate that state cooperation must denote effective cooperation that facilitates the mandates of the respective organs of the court and not feigned cooperation which creates the perception of facilitating the court but in fact consists of using procedural and technical obstacles to undermine the court. We call on the ASP to adopt a consistent and objective legal standard in the assessment of state cooperation.
  3. Are there lessons to be learned?

Taking stock of the experience in the Kenya cases

  1. The Kenya cases and the manner of their termination carry critical lessons for consideration to inform future actions by the court and the content of reforms within the strategic plans of its respective organs. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) as well as the bench on various occasions decried the instances of witness tampering and intimidation as well as non-cooperation by the state in responding to the OTP requests for information and a failure to execute ICC warrants of arrest with respect to three Kenyans suspected of witness tampering. This in fact has led to a finding of non-compliance against Kenya and led to its referral to the ASP under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute. In the midst of all this, was an unprecedented and disruptive diplomatic effort that deliberately exerted political pressure on the court with a view to influencing the outcome of the Kenya cases. It is arguable that these diplomacy efforts yielded the concession of excusing President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto from continuous presence at their trial and that the current wave of withdrawals from the ICC on the basis of an apparent bias by the court against Africans are a fallout from these diplomatic efforts. The capitulations of the cases have also pointed to significant flaws in the investigative and prosecutorial approaches that informed the development of the cases and must lead to some introspection from the relevant mechanisms. The fact that the Trust Fund for Victims is yet to commence operations in Kenya cannot go without mention.
  2. KPTJ urges all the organs of the court to reflect on these experiences and take due cognisance of the following lessons and recommendations:
  • The ICC, particularly the ASP, should do more to ensure that it does not allow political statements to interfere with the judicial independence of the Court.
  • The ICC should ensure that it takes steps to respond to messages of a political nature and correct inaccurate statements in a timely manner. In addition, it should ensure that such key messages reach the right audiences, including victims and affected communities.
  • The Court should continue to build its relationship with African States that openly support the mandate of the ICC; in addition, the ICC should do more to improve its relationship with, and image at, the AU.
  • The Trust Fund for Victims should commence operations in Kenya, as victims have received little to no assistance from the Kenyan government.
  • The Prosecutor should carefully consider when to request ‘summons to appear’ as opposed to ‘warrants of arrest’ and take into account the individual circumstances of each accused person in doing so, particularly their potential to intimidate witnesses and interfere with evidence.
  • Swift action should be taken by the Prosecutor and the Court in instances of non-cooperation by States Parties. Any instances of non-cooperation should be resolved as speedily as possible, in such a manner that the outcome of proceedings on non-cooperation can be applied to strengthen an ongoing case and not be delayed to the point that the outcome is only of academic significance.
  • The Prosecutor should continue to carry out a review of its investigative strategies and methods in order to improve its chances of success at trial.
  • The Prosecution should ensure that its staff are able to spend as much time as possible on better understanding the context and nuances of a given situation country.
  1. Pursuit of reform without prejudice?

UN Reform vs ICC Reform

  1. The unique role played by UNSC in referral and deferral of cases before the ICC means that the debates on reforming the court and reforming the UN and in particular the UNSC have inevitably intersected. We have witnessed both undertones and overt accusations of imperialism and undue influence directed at the court on account of cases on Africa referred to it by the UNSC (Libya and Sudan). Arguments made to amend the Rome Statute to confer immunity for sitting heads of state and senior government officials are laced with grievance against the UNSC permanent five members possessing a de facto immunity from prosecution under the ICC on account of their veto power. The end result is a misdirected effort to amend the Rome Statute or in the extreme withdraw from the ICC on the basis of perceived excesses that are better addressed by engaging the broader debate of UN reforms.
  1. While KPTJ acknowledges the slanted relationship of the UNSC with the court and supports a robust conversation on its reforms, we call on states not to misdirect the agenda of reforming the UNSC into discussions on improving the functions of the court and occasion amendments to the Rome statute that sacrifice the future of the court as part of a bargaining process on UNSC reforms. We call on African states in particular, to distinguish the broader question of UN reforms as enshrined in the “Ezulwini Consensus” from the question of reforming the Rome Statute and reflecting on the performance of the court. We call upon African member states to the Rome Statute not to sacrifice the promise of justice for victims of atrocity crimes at the altar of grievance against the unequal power relations represented by the UN Security Council.

end/kptj/16.06.2016

——–

About KPTJ:

This brief was prepared by Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ), a coalition of Kenyan citizens and over 30 organisations working in the human rights, governance and legal fields that came together during the crisis over the disputed results of the 2007 presidential election to seek truth and accountability for the elections and the widespread violence that followed; and who continue to work closely with the victims of that period. It is a brief update on the situation in Kenya as pertains to pursuing accountability for the crimes against humanity committed during the 2007-2008 Post-Election Violence as well as its adherence to its obligations under the Rome Statute.

[1] Assembly/AU/Dec.616 (XXVII)

[2] Assembly/AU/Dec.590(XXVI)

[3] Press Release: “UN/African Union: Reject ICC withdrawal”. Available here: http://www.khrc.or.ke/2015-03-04-10-37-01/press-releases/552-un-african-union-reject-icc-withdrawal.html

[4] Article: “Which African states slammed Burundi, South Africa and Gambia’s withdrawal from ICC?” Available here: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/which-african-states-slammed-burundi-south-africa-gambias-withdrawal-icc-1589711

[5] https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/South-Africa-Instrument-of-Withdrawal-International-Criminal-Court.jpg

The Oppression of the Opposition in Rwanda; the recent story of Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza; and today’s kidnapping of the person delivering food to her in prison!

The crackdown on Opposition in Rwanda is well known abroad and the FDU (Forces Democratiques Unifies) leader Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza who was in the late 2013 through a trial sentenced to jail for 15 years. She is deemed as a political prisoner and gotten the court rigged for her sentence and jailed as certain opposition of the RPF and the Presidency of Paul Kagame. Reason why the world knows little of this is because of the stranglehold the Government of Rwanda has over the media and information.

Important information about the trial of 2013:

“Gatera Gashabana stated that the witness would testify Michel Habimana discharge but this was refused by the MP. This prompted Ingabire to no longer submit to the Court. Another witness wanted his testimony to be heard without being present to the Court for its safety and this was refused. Me Ian Edward has meanwhile raised the crime of genocide denial. He reported that Ms. Ingabire said that there was a genocide of Tutsis but also Hutus are killed and this comes from their own ideas and this is allowed in the Rwandan law ; thereto, Me Ian added that Ingabire should not be prosecuted for it” (LIPRODHOR, 2013).

She appealed in December 2013:

“The Supreme Court has turned down Victorie Ingabire’s appeal against an 8-year sentence handed to her by the High Court last year” (AllAfrica, 2013). “The judge, stating that Ingabire should be serving a 27-year jail term, claimed to have shown her leniency due to the fact that this was her first conviction and because her family was based in the Netherlands” (…)”Ingabire’s trial – which saw her accused of offences related to terrorism, genocide ideology, discrimination and disseminating rumours aimed at inciting the public against the existing leadership – took place between September 2011 and April 2012, and has attracted a considerable amount of criticism from international non-governmental organization” (Joyes, 2016). ” Considering accusations against her, various identified irregularities and ignorance of due process, it has been clear that Rwandan justice system has been used by the Rwandan government as a tool to oppress legitimate and peaceful exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of association” (…)”Freedom of expression and associations are important base and foundations of a democracy. Their absences undermine one of important fundamental rights of people. This situation not only has the potentiality to cause insecurity and conflicts, in Rwanda as result of consequences of oppression, it also affects the country ability to achieve its various social and economic potentialities as result of participation of its people in environment of freedom and rule of law” Said GCRHR coordinator” (Kamuzinzi, 2016).

The Application to the African Court:

“In the year 2000, she became the leader of a political party known as Rassemblement Républicain pour la Démocratie au Rwanda (RDR) (The Republican Movement for Democracy in Rwanda). She had been a member of the party since 1998” (…)”Sometime later, a merger between this party and two other opposition parties (The ADR and the FRD) led to the creation of a new political party known as Forces Democratiques Unifiees (FDU Inkingi) led by the Applicant till date” (…)”In the year 2010, after spending nearly seventeen years abroad, the Applicant decided to return to Rwanda, according to her Counsel, to contribute in nation building” (…)”She did not attain this objective because as from 10 February 2010, charges were brought against her by the judicial police, the Prosecutor and Courts and Tribunals in Rwanda” (…)”On 21 April 2010, the Applicant was remanded by the police and placed under detention” (African Courts, 2014).

In February 2016:

“Her lawyer Gatera Gashabana wrote in letters to the head of the Bar in Rwanda that “on 5 February 2016, I went to the prison to meet with my client to prepare for the hearing before the African Court on Human and People’s Rights based in Arusha (Tanzania) on 4 March 2016.” He went on to say he was told that before any visit all his documents had to be checked and that this hindrance would make it impossible to prepare for the upcoming hearing. He demanded an end to “these excessive demands and intimidations,” according to the letters released by Ingabire’s opposition United Democratic Forces (UDF) party, which is not officially recognised in Rwanda”  (AFP, 2016).

Today – FDU Supporter jailed for bring food to imprisoned Vicoire Ingaire:

“Boniface Twagirimana, FDU-Inkingi 1st vice-president of the political party of the imprisoned Victoire Ingabire, is alerting the Rwandan and international community that 15 minutes ago, Ms Gasengayire Leonille, the person in charge of bringing food to the prisoner from outside, has just been kidnapped by RPF security forces which were waiting for her inside the prison at lunch time. When she entered the prison compound, she was told to get in a civilian car with number plate RAA442M which took her rapidly to an unknown destination” (Twagirimana, 26.03.2016).

Afterthought: 

As much as the Government of Rwanda trying to silence the opposition and the leader of Victorie Ingaire Umuhoza of the FDU who has been jailed and sentenced since 2010 after her arrival back from diaspora in the Netherlands. The last straw and the recognition of the African Court, a African Court that the Government of Rwandan the Rwandan Patriotic Front and their President Kagame tries to distance themselves from or discontinue themselves from.

The proof here is how far the Rwandan Government stifle the opposition and to what extent they don’t value the democratic values, as they even now goes to the point of kidnapping the person who feeds a opposition leader in jail; who is sentenced for 15 years in jail and has not gotten her appeal accepted and also gotten refused to go to African Court on Human Rights in Arusha, Tanzania. This might be the reason for why the Rwandan Government trying to distance themselves from the African Courts as they don’t want the outside to understand their dealings or get grips to the sovereignty.

The state might be sovereign still they will have to be responsible from the actions. That is why they have ratified certain statues and Human Rights laws, even charters as they want to be legitimized internationally and that is why the Rwandan Official defended their case this week. But this kind of imprisonment of an opposition leader and using genocide as a motive for taking her in and letting her rot in prison. As she just returned from Netherlands to do her duty and for her party, not to destroy the RPF or the Government, but create and prove democratic values, as President Kagame neglect and doesn’t care about it, only that he have power and holds on to it by any means. Peace.

Reference:

African Courts: ‘Application No. 003/2014 -Ingabire Victoire Umuhoza v. The Republic of Rwanda’

AFP – ‘JAILED RWANDAN OPPOSITION LEADER’S LAWYER SAYS DENIED ACCESS’ (16.02.2016) link: http://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/41785

AllAfrica – ‘Rwanda: Ingabire Loses Appeal, Sentenced to 15 Years’ (13.12.2013) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201312160001.html

LIPRODHOR – ‘In the trial of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, his lawyers suggest the innocence of their client’ (29.04.2013) link: http://www.liprodhor.org/en/2013/04/dans-le-proces-de-mme-ingabire-umuhoza-victoire-ses-avocats-evoquent-linnocence-de-leur-cliente/

Joyes, Ben – ‘Rwandan Supreme Court Increases Sentence Against Victoire Ingabire’ (14.03.2016 link: http://arcproject.co.uk/2013/12/rwandan-supreme-court-increases-sentence-against-victoire-ingabire/

Global Campaign for Rwandans Human Rights (GCRWHR) / Kamuzinzi – ‘Rwanda: Opposition leader conviction extinguishes some hope of political freedom and put Rwanda on a dangerous path’ (13.12.2013) link: http://www.inyenyerinews.org/democracy-freedoms/rwanda-opposition-leader-conviction-extinguishes-some-hope-of-political-freedom-and-put-rwanda-on-a-dangerous-path/