Global Campaign for Rwandan’s Human Right condemns the decision of an appeal court in Rwanda on 17th June 2014, to allow the appeal request by the persecution against the Supreme Court acquittal of Dr. Runyinya Barabwiriza almost three years ago.
The appeal court decision is against to the Rwandan Penal Code, which gives up to 6 months to appeal against a Supreme Court decision.
In fact Dr Runyinya was detained in September 1994. His trial began almost 17 years later in April 2011. Prosecutor had requested life imprisonment, the maximum sentence in Rwanda.
Due to discrepancies and conflicting testimonies of the persecution witnesses which were identified during his trial and the fact that Dr Runyinya was not present in Rwanda during the genocide period, the judge acquitted him and ordered his immediate release August 11, 2011.
A few days later, the Prosecutor requested the Supreme Court to return Mr Runyinya to prison pending appeal because according to him, he was a danger to the public. The judge rejected the request and recommended that in case of any appeal.
Almost three years later, April 10, 2014, the Prosecutor file their appeal against the Supreme Court decision, more than two year past the statutory limit period they had to appeal.
Dr Runyinya Barabwiriza long-term imprisonment without trial had also attracted attentions of various international human rights organisations and governments’ which have been requesting his release or immediate trial.
Furthermore, after his release Dr Runyinya has repeatedly applied for a passport so that he can go and visit his children and grandchildren he has not seen for many years. But each time, the immigration services replied that they could not issue him one because they had received information about an ongoing case. Which has been a surprise to him and his family considering that he had never been informed about any appeal lodged or scheduled court hearing.
This actions by the appeal court is clearly not legal nor justice driven.
We call for competent authorities in Rwanda, to look at Dr Runyinya case and allow him rights as provided by relevant laws so that he can exercise his freedom and more importantly so that he can be able to recover from 17 years of miscarriage of justice he endured.
Global Campaign for Rwandans Human’s Right
PS: use the hash-tag #HandsOfRunyinya to campaign for his freedom and use rule of law in his case.