Monday, December 16, 2013

Rwanda:Victoire Ingabire - The eyes of the world are watching.

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

Ingabire sentenced to 15 years in prison

                                                                          Victoire Ingabire

The Supreme Court yesterday increased Victoire Ingabire’s jail term to 15 years from eight years earlier ruled by the High Court, after it found her guilty of inciting the masses to revolt against the government, forming armed groups to destabilise the country, and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Paul Kagame will brook no opposition, he is a dictator who despite his attempts to compare himself with Mandela over the past week should be compared to Stalin. This blog is not hostile to the people of Rwanda, it is very hostile to the government of Rwanda, I make no apology for that. Rwanda has been  the cause of the vast majority of the ongoing instability in the DR Congo, the evidence is overwhelming and the denials and lies of the junta in Kigali have been nothing short of astonishing in their total lack of any credibility.  It is worth keeping that in mind when it comes to situation Victoire Ingabire has found herself in. Hungry for Truth blog has a transcript if Ingabire's speech made on her return to Rwanda in 2010.   

" I would like to say that today I came back to my country 16 years after that tragedy took place in this country. I know very well that there was genocide and crimes against humanity. Therefore, with my return after 16 years in a country where such actions took place in my absence, I could not have fallen asleep without first passing by the place where those actions took place. I had to see the place. I had to visit the place."

That is the first paragraph of the first public ( on the record ) words that Ingabire spoke, I struggle to see how an acknowledgement of the the 1994 genocide by a Hutu political leader is in any way minimising it.  Ingabire was placed under house arrest in April 2010. She was arrested on 14 October 2010. The speech made the day she arrived was delivered on January 16 2010.

“The court has found Ingabire guilty of spreading rumours with an intention to incite the public to rise up against the State, endangering state security and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. For that, she’s sentenced to 15 years in prison,” Justice Immaculee Nyirinkwaya announced.

" The flowers I brought with me are a sign of remembrance from the members of FDU-INKINGI and its Executive Committee. They told me to pass by here and tell you, the Rwandan people, that what we wish for is to work together, to make sure that such a tragedy will never take place again. That is one of the reasons why the party FDU-INKINGI decided to return to the country peacefully, without resorting to violence as many people think that the solution to Rwanda’s problems is to resort to armed struggle. We do not believe that shedding blood resolves problems. When one sheds blood, the blood comes back to haunt him/her."

The crime Ingabire has committed is simple. She believes in democracy but returned to Rwanda ... a dictatorship. I blogged at her original sentencing just over a year ago.

" Actually I was surprised it was only " eight " years maybe the eyes of the world have caused a bit of caution on the establishments part."

It would seem that my original surprise was well placed, something that gives me no pleasure whatsoever. Rwanda has compounded the original injustice with an even greater injustice. 

Both Ingabire and prosecution had appealed the earlier sentence.

The evidence of Ingabire’s trial shed light on her active participation in the leadership of the armed terrorist group made up of the Congo-based militia Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, which is responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Really...? Even if I was inclined to believe such stupidity and I am not how would she have achieved this. She entered Rwanda 16 January and within 10 weeks she was under arrest. That would perhaps have been enough time had she been a private citizen but we can be fairly sure of two things, one that she was under observation by the security services of Rwanda and two she would have been well aware of that and would never have done anything that stupid.

The trial also revealed Ingabire’s role in assisting in the escape of her mother, Therese Dusabe,  who was sentenced to life in prison after Mageragere Gacaca court found her guilty of torture by disembowelling Tutsi women at Butamwa Health Centre where she was a nurse.

Although often described as political opposition, evidence collected on Ingabire’s FDU-Inkingi mission with the help of the Netherlands police proved its goal was far from political.

Among the evidence were plans for armed activities to be undertaken by FDU-Inkingi. The documents, which Ingabire later admitted to owning, calls for a change of tactic used by FDLR to one of terrorist acts and destabilisation strategy.

The problem with this is that I have been unable to see any of this evidence despite hearing all about from witness so compromised that no serious legal system would consider it admitable. Human Rights Watch points out just how unreliable the evidence of her co conspirators was. 

The trial, which began in September 2011 and closed on April 25, was complex and marred by setbacks and delays. Ingabire, who pleaded not guilty, was tried alongside four co-defendants − Vital Uwumuremyi, Jean-Marie Vianney Karuta, Tharcisse Nditurende, and Noel Habiyaremye − who implicated her in alleged collaboration with armed groups.

All four pleaded guilty to charges of belonging to a terrorist movement, participating in terrorist acts, and creating an armed group. Uwumuremyi was sentenced to four years and six  months in prison,  Nditurende and Habiyaremye to three years and six months each, and Karuta to two years and seven months. All four are former members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group operating in eastern Congo that consists in part of individuals who took part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The FDLR has committed numerous atrocities against civilians in eastern Congo in recent years."

Interesting to look at their sentences.  

Meanwhile, Ingabire’s co-accused Vital Uwumuremyi saw his appeal rejected by the Supreme Court. The High Court found him guilty of conspiracy to harm authorities through terrorism and war and complicity in the act of terrorism for which he was sentenced to four years and six months jail term.

The other three co- accused; Jean Marie Vianney Karuta, Tharcisse Nditurende and Noel Habiyaremye completed their sentences.

Yes no doubt with time off for good behaviour perjury.  

The four admitted they were arrested while still members of the Congo-based FDLR militia and confessed that Ingabire had approached them with view to launching an armed rebellion against the Government.

Upon returning to Rwanda from the Netherlands in 2010, Ingabire, 44, headed straight to the Kigali Genocide Memorial centre where she gave a speech where she described the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as a double genocide.

It was, infact it is in many ways an on going multiple genocide. I have no time for the FDLR who I hope are going to soon feel the the teeth of the MONUSCO Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade as they follow M23 into extinction but I do not believe Ingabire has anything to do with them, other than perhaps as a constituency that exists in Rwanda and needs to be delt with by Rwandan politicians.     

Yesterday’s verdict was delivered in a packed courtroom, with both Ingabire and Iain Edwards, one of her two counsels, in attendance.

Justice Nyirinkwaya said that the three charges Ingabire was found guilty of amount to a sentence of 27 years but the court reduced it to 15.

Rwanda has politicised its judiciary to the point that one wonders why Kigame doesn't just abolish it. It is yet another rubber stamp for the criminal junta in Kigali.  

Prosecutors argued that Ingabire’s earlier sentence was too lenient and were seeking 25 years imprisonment. They had also asked the Supreme Court to restore the dropped charges.

The ruling means Ingabire will spend a further 12 years behind bars having served three years already.

Actually I doubt that. Hopefully she will be released from jail and take her place in the political life of Rwanda.... it is also possible that she will be murdered but Rwanda should know that the eyes of the world are watching. 

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