Following the starting of appeal of Victoire Ingabire challenging her eight-year sentence at the Supreme Court against; we urge the government of Rwanda to ensure that after the unfair trial of the opposition politician Victoire Ingabire, her appeal will be conducted in free and fair trial manner in line with international trial standards.
On 30th October 2012, Victoire Ingabire was convicted on two counts of Genocide denial, and conspiracy and planning to cause state insecurity, and acquitted her of four other charges that included genocide ideology, promoting ethnic divisionism and supporting armed groups.
The Court also cleared Ingabire on charges of genocide ideology, saying all the statements Ingabire made could not qualified as inciting genocide.
During the course of that trial we identified various irregularities and ignorance of due process which included the court lack of examination of the circumstance which confessions of the co-accused and prosecution witnesses were obtained, signs of government attempt to influence the judiciary through officials’ public statements attesting of Ingabire’s culpability as well as intimidation and harassment witness of defense. This last action which was instigated by prosecution lead to Victoire Ingabire withdrawing from the trial stating the ‘undermining of her right to fair trail’’ as the main reason of that decision.
The Rwandan justice system should make sure that Victoire Ingabire is not convicted in relation to her legitimate and peaceful exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of association and participation.
We urge the Rwandan authorities to learn from Victoire Ingabire case in order to positively inform review of Law N° 18/2008 relating to the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology and review of Law N° 47/2001 on Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Discrimination and Sectarianism to bring both law in line with Rwanda’s obligations under international human rights law.
Rwanda whose population has experienced terrible genocide and severe crimes against humanity should have strong law which protect its people’s fundamental rights instead laws carefully designed to suppress their rights and a justice system strongly under influence of the government.
We urge the international community and friends of Rwanda to follow closely the development of this appeal case.
Global Campaign for Rwandans Human Rights