Rwanda: The Supreme Court hearings of the appeal trial against Madame Victoire Ingabire resumed this July 8, 2013

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“The fact that the crimes committed against Hutu refugees in Congo have not yet been qualified by a competent court does not mean that no crimes were committed at all.”

The hearing of the appeal of Madame Victoire Ingabire, Chair of FDU-INKINGI before the Supreme Court resumed this July 8, 2013. The prosecution continued making its conclusions on the reasons for the appeal of Ms. Victoire Ingabire on two charges brought against her, namely high treason and minimization of genocide for which she was sentenced to 8 years prison.

With regard to minimizing genocide, the court had convicted her on the basis of her speech at the genocide memorial in Gisozi. She had said among other things that there were Hutu who perished in war crimes and crimes against humanity, and whose memory was not honored. For the court and the prosecution, this statement constitutes a crime of minimizing genocide against the Tutsi. The court also agreed with the prosecution that the fact that Mrs. Ingabire used the Mapping Report  which suggests that the crimes committed against Hutu refugees could be considered as genocide if they were presented to a court is evidence of minimizing genocide against the Tutsi. The court added that this way of thinking was equivalent to saying that there was double genocide

In her concluding submission to the Supreme Court, Mrs. Ingabire told the Court that the fact that the crimes committed against Hutu refugees in Congo by RPF soldiers have not yet been qualified as genocide by a competent court does not mean that no crimes were committed at all or that the culprits should not be prosecuted. Mrs. Ingabire added that denouncing such crimes and asking that the families of the victims be given the right to honor the memory of their loved ones cannot be considered as minimizing genocide against the Tutsi. Similarly, anyone who denounces these crimes should not be accused of advocating for the doctrine of double genocide.

As for the charge of high treason, Mrs. Ingabire observed that the court ruling was based on weak evidence, such as undated anonymous leaflets, without the names of the author or signature. Mrs. Ingabire also denounced the fact that she was convicted on the basis of forms of money transfer and emails that do not bear her names. She told the court that it should prosecute the persons appearing on these documents instead of her, since the Rwandan law recognizes that criminal liability is individual. The Prosecution argued that Ingabire’s defence was baseless because the evidence of guilt was corroborated by statements of former FDLR rebels who are co-defendants. However, the Prosecution deliberately ignored the arguments of the Defence and witness statements which demonstrated that the said former FDLR rebels who are co-defendents were manipulated by the intelligence agents to frame charges against Mrs. Ingabire in order to get her arrested and hence stop her from pursuing her political ambitions in Rwanda as she had planned to do so.

The trial will continue this July 9, 2013. The prosecution will inform the court about its comments on the defense conclusions.

FDU-Inkingi
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice-President

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