Imprisonment of Opposition Leaders: Only a Genuine Judiciary System Will Set The Rwandan People Free

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the Rwandan political party of the opposition FDU-Inkingi, who was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment by Kigali High Court on Tuesday October 30, 2012.

Although it was with no surprise, a Rwandan High Court has just handed
down an eight year sentence to Mrs. Victoire Ingabire-Umuhoza,
Chairperson of the FDU-Inkingi after a trial that was marred in systemic
problems including witness tampering, allegations of evidence
fabrication, and even evidence obtained through torture. It is with
profound sadness that the National Democratic Congress (NDC), a
RUD-Urunana and RPR coalition has learned the outcome of her grossly
unfair trial that constitutes one of the main characteristics of brutal
and dictatorial regimes.

Before being thrown in one of the most notorious and despicable Rwandan
prisons, it is important to recall that she was subjected to continuous
and systematic harassment by Kagame’s operatives and cronies subsequent
to her return from exile. This is when the FDU Chairperson intended to
challenge the incumbent president in the 2010 sham elections. Days after
her return, she was charged of harboring “genocidal ideology” and placed
de facto under house arrest.

Our organization is of the opinion that the charges against Mrs.
Ingabire-Umuhoza were baseless and politically motivated. We, therefore,
denounce in strongest terms possible such parody of justice rendered by
Rwandan courts in handing such unwarranted sentence to a political
opponent whose only crime was to exercise as a citizen her inalienable
fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Such disregard of citizen rights and freedoms has been the whole mark of
Kagame’s regime. It is important to note that any political opponent who
expresses views different from those put forth by Kagame and his
cronies, is systematically sidelined, threatened, jailed, and/or killed.
Hence, the PSI-Imberakuri Chairperson was arbitrary imprisoned while the
Green Party Vice-President was mysteriously assassinated. Meanwhile, the
PDP leader accused of high treason, Deo Mushayidi, has been sentenced to
life in prison. Needless to say that, in this repressive campaign
orchestrated by the Rwandan regime, outrageous sentences have also been
handed to independent journalists. Hence, it is evident that Kagame’s
regime has replaced the right of lawful dissent by a systematic pattern
of coercion, intimidation, imprisonment, and eventually killings leveled
against anyone perceived as not towing the official line.

As our coalition has consistently denounced the climate of fear, terror,
assassination, and repression that is prevalent in the country mainly
against those suspected of dissent, we would like to strongly and
unequivocally condemn the latest judgement based on fabricated charges
against the FDU Chairperson. Such prison terms handed to several
opposition leaders come to crystallize the ruthlessness of the Kagame’s
Therefore, we ask the regime to proceed immediately and unconditionally
to the release of all the political prisoners, those of opinion as well
as innocent citizens who have been and still are languishing in Kagame’s
notorious prisons. In case of refusal, we would like to call upon the
International Community to take appropriate actions in denouncing and
isolating the Kagame’s dictatorial regime. In addition to the current
situation prevalent in Eastern DRC, we would particularly like to call
upon the United Nations to rescind the recent vote allowing the Rwanda
government to have a seat as a non-permanent member on the UN Security
Council. Instead of conducting repressive policies, we urge the regime
to engage without undue delay with the Rwandan opposition to search for
common grounds that would spare our country another tragedy.
As our organization has always pointed out, the Rwandan problem is
political in nature and requires political solutions. In order to build
a genuine democratic society in our homeland, the root causes of the
rampant political instability must be genuinely and fairly addressed. It
is our firm conviction that as long as the underlying causes of the
Rwandan political problem would not be tackled, the seeds of instability
and devastation will always be lurking in Rwanda as well as in the region.
In order to foster a reconciliatory Justice system, the only foundation
of genuine Reconciliation, we urgently ask to hold, under the auspices
of the International Community, an Inter-Rwandan Dialogue. In addition,
our organization calls for the organization of a “Truth, Justice, and
Reconciliation” Commission in our homeland that would help heal a
traumatized society.

Our organization remains convinced that only this Dialogue would lead to
lasting peace, stability, and the foundation of a truly democratic
system in which new political, judiciary, and security institutions
would be the reflection of the legitimate aspirations of all the
constitutive groups of the Rwandan society.

October 31, 2012

Dr. Augustin Dukuze

Congres National pour la Démocratie
National Democratic Congress

Tel: 001-201-794-6542 /
Email: [email protected]