Friday, October 19, 2012

Rwanda. Victoire Ingabire awaits a crocodile

IOL News reports

Rwandan opponent’s verdict postponed

Kigali - A Rwandan court on Friday put off its verdict in the trial of opposition figure Victoire Ingabire, accused of bankrolling terrorism and denying the 1994 genocide, until October 30, the third such postponement.
The court justified this latest postponement by saying it had expected to have two clear weeks after a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of one of the laws under which Ingabire is being prosecuted.

Interesting to note that once again justice has been denied again in Rwanda, that the eyes of the world are of course focused on Rwanda at the moment no doubt has influenced this decision. The result is probably a foregone conclusion,   President Crocodile  Paul Kagame does not tolerate any opposition as the Guardian reminds us. 

" All four of those sentenced are safely outside Rwanda, but the severity of the sentences,which range from 20 to 24 years, was startling. The defendants were Kagame's former chief of staff and ambassador to Washington, Theogene Rudasingwa; Gerald Gahima, Rwanda's former prosecutor general and vice president of the supreme court; Col Patrick Karegeya, former director of Rwanda's external security services; and Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former army chief of staff who survived an assassination attempt in South Africa last year."

" The four were found guilty of forming a terrorist group, threatening state security, undermining public order, promoting ethnic divisions and insulting the president. Evidence was taken in part from a "Rwanda Briefing" they issued as their former boss began his second term, describing him as "a callous and reckless leader" shaped by "greed for absolute power". They asserted that there is "more to Rwanda and Paul Kagame than new buildings, clean streets, and efficient government … Rwanda is essentially a hard-line, one-party, secretive police state with a façade of democracy." To avoid future conflict, they urged Kagame to convene a "genuine, inclusive, unconditional and comprehensive national dialogue" with the aim of creating a new "national partnership government".

" In one passage, which the court cited as a criminal attempt to stir communal hatred, they warned of another ethnic explosion in Rwanda. "The Tutsi minority cannot hope to impose their will on the Hutu majority forever," they warned. "The military victory of Hutu insurgency could, in turn, conceivably lead to the genocide of the remaining Tutsi population of Rwanda."

These are essentially the same charges that Ingabire faces.

But the Supreme Court decision was postponed for two weeks and was not issued until Thursday, rejecting Ingabire's case.

As I mentioned the eyes of the world are focused on Rwanda at the moment following the countries undeserved success at gaining a place on the UN Security Council.

Philippe Bolopion of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch criticized the inclusion of Rwanda on the Security Council

"After blatantly violating the Security Council's arms embargo and undermining the work of the U.N. by propping up the abusive M23 rebels, Rwanda is rewarded with a seat at the table," he said.

"Kigali is now in a position to try to shield its own officials implicated in abuses from U.N. sanctions, which is a flagrant conflict of interest," Bolopion said in a statement. "Other Security Council members now have an even greater responsibility to hold Rwanda to account."

I will blog on this separately given the Rwandan spin that the win has generated. This from blogger Willis Shalita.

" The implications of Rwanda’s election cannot be minimized. This is a vote of confidence in our leadership and governance, and President Kagame deserves our admiration and respect for having steered us thus far."

It is of course the interpretation that I would have expected from Rwanda. Kagame is constructing a " cult of personality " style of politics that would garner applause from Stalin and Mao.

“It is in this context that we need more time to come up with a clear verdict that is in line with the Supreme Court decision on genocide ideology,” judge Alice Rulisa said Friday.

When you have had two years to do something I guess a couple of more weeks is no problem if it takes that amount of time to get the international press looking else where. 

Ingabire, who has been in custody for two years, had filed a suit in March contesting the legality of Rwanda's genocide ideology laws.

The Supreme Court said Thursday it found no contradiction between the genocide ideology law and the constitution. “It is true the constitution grants freedom of expression and speech but the genocide ideology law puts limitations to avoid violations of the freedoms,” the nine-man panel of judges said.

Which sort of begs the question why bloody well bother with a constitution ?
The Guardian piece above gives us far more insight into the Kagame regime than the eventual decision of the court which will rubber stamp the regime view.

The genocide denial charges against Ingabire were triggered by remarks she made in January 2010 at the memorial to the estimated 800,000 people, the majority of them Tutsis, who were killed in the slaughter.

The remarks were actually so far from the " hate speak "  legislation that some western governments have as to be laughable. Judge for yourself. This from Jambo News

The speech
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza  arrived in Rwanda on the 16th of January 2010, From the airport she went straight to the memorial of the genocide to pay respect to Tutsi victims of genocide. She made a speech in which she called for justice to bring to book those who committed genocide against Tutsi and those who committed other crimes including war crimes and crimes against without fear or favour, irrespective of ethnic or political affiliation. She considered equitable justice as a solid foundation for national reconciliation and durable peace and development. After this speech she was accused of having and spreading  Genocidal ideology, negationism and divisionism.

Despite overwhelming evidence regarding war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide, committed by members of the RPF, the latter have remained immune from prosecution.

As I have said President Paul Kagame leader of the RPF brooks no dissension and is worthy of his place amongst the African Crocodiles.  Another example here.

Ingabire, herself a Hutu and the leader of the Unified Democratic Forces (FDU), a political grouping that has not been allowed to register as a party, said it was time Hutu war victims were also commemorated. - Sapa-AFP

How ironic.

No comments:

Post a Comment