PM urges prosecutors to expedite terror cases
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi (L) congratulates Mukarugambwa Mukunzi, one of the prosecutors sworn in yesterday.
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has urged prosecution to handle cases related to crimes against the State in earnest.Which is fine but rather begs the question of what Rwanda's prosecutors have being doing to date ?
The premier, who was swearing in four prosecutors at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kigali yesterday, said there was need to beef up the way such cases are handled in order to “discourage those who want to betray our nation.”
The real issue isn't betraying the Rwandan State, it is both the definition of betrayal and a lack of consensus on what is the State of Rwanda. From the perspective of the Rwandan political elite they are the state and failure to agree with the " powers that be " amounts to betrayal. In parliamentary democracies there is a fairly simple concept of the loyal opposition a concept that has not been allowed to develop in Rwanda and the nation is far weaker for that. As a consequence Rwanda is forced to increase the coercive power of the state hence the need for more prosecutors.
" In parliamentary systems of government, the term loyal opposition is a term applied collectively to the opposition parties in the legislature to indicate that the non-governing parties may oppose the actions of the sitting cabinet while remaining loyal to the source of the government's power."
Between January and June, 44 people were arrested in the country in connection with subversive activities, and eight guns and 21 grenades were recovered, Police said on Tuesday.I obviously don't have any information on who was arrested and how many of them were packing guns and grenades. The government of Rwanda doesn't make this information public in any forum I have seen so I can't judge how legitimate those arrests were, that being the situation one can only look at cases that are on the public record.
"The prosecution of Ingabire for 'genocide ideology' and divisionism illustrates the Rwandan government's unwillingness to tolerate criticism and to accept the role of opposition parties in a democratic society," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The courts should not be used for such political purposes."
It is interesting to note that the
prosecution persecution of Victorie Ingabire did not end with her conviction and sentence of 8 years in prison.
" 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."Just for the record Ingabire's crime was to ask that there be recognition of the thousands of Hutu Rwandan's who opposed the genocide and were murdered by the genocidal Hutu regime in 1994. ( I should also note that my partner and my four daughters are ethnic Tutsi )
" On her arrival in the country in January 2010, to honour the victims of the genocide, she visited the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre. In her speech, she stressed that those who committed Genocide as well as those who committed other war crimes and crimes against humanity should be brought before the courts of justice."
“You cannot cut a branch of a tree you are sitting on; whenever you are pursuing such cases, never be passive,” Habumuremyi said.Actually you can cut the branch of the tree you are sitting on and Habumuremyi is part of a regime that is doing just that.
" The largest ethnic groups in Rwanda are the Hutus (about 75% of the population), the Tutsis (24%), and the Twa (1%)."
Of the four prosecutors, three will be handling cases before primary courts and one will be in intermediate courts.
The three prosecutors of primary courts are Michel Nshimiyimana, Mukarugambwa Mukunzi, and Claudette Umutesi.
Bonaventure Habimana, who will be handling cases before intermediate courts, said in the face of terrorism they would do their best to confront the challenge in accordance with the law.
Jean Bosco Mutangana, a national prosecutor and head of international crimes unit, said the public prosecution has the capacity to win convictions.
When the judiciary is as politicised as it is in Rwanda it would be astounding if the prosecution didn't win convictions.
“We have already strengthened the way we handle terror charges, I find these new prosecutors as a big asset,” Mutangana said.
Habumuremyi urged prosecutors to be able to detect new crimes that are being born.The government of Rwanda should not surprise us. Orwell predicted it.
" In George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, labelling unapproved thoughts with the term thought crime or, in Newspeak, "crimethink".
“As the people evolve and the country grows, crooks also devise new tactics, so you should as well be devising new ways to beat them,” the premier said." You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.
And you'll never hear their voices
And you'll never see their faces
You have no recourse to the law anymore."
He thanked the prosecution for having handled a backlog of more than 35, 000 cases since 2001 in different courts.One wonders how it is possible to have managed to achieve a backlog of that amount. I am guessing it refers to all crime not just political dissension cases but how many innocent people does Rwanda have rotting in gaols ?
Rwanda currently has more than 100 prosecutors at all levels of the judicial system, including in primary courts, intermediate courts, high courts and Supreme Court as well as military and commercial courts.It is a great shame Rwanda doesn't have justice. Remember the " betray our Nation " statement at the beginning of this article ? Maybe Habumuremyi would like to explain the Rwandan funding of M23 with regard to the context of his statements here. He is of course just another hypocrite.