For many years, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases of arbitrary arrests, detentions, political motivated prosecutions, killings, torture, enforced disappearances, threats, harassment and intimidation against critics of the government of Rwanda. Paradoxically, the International community has not given due attention because guilt occasioned by failure by the international community to intervene during the genocide in Rwanda. President Paul Kagame has never explained his role in triggering the genocide, but has used the genocide tragedy to escape personal responsibility for human rights violations at home and abroad.
After the murder of Col Patrick Karegeya on December 31, 2013, President Kagame in a public speech on January 12, 2014 said “I hear some of our people saying: we are not the ones who did it. It’s true they were not the ones who did it, but that is not my concern, because you should be doing it… What is surprising is that you are not doing it. He further told The Wall Street Journal that “Rwanda didn’t kill this person…but I add that, I actually wish Rwanda did it. I really wish it.”
Minister of Defence James Kabarebe said, during a speech in Gisenyi on January 11, 2014: “Do not waste your time on reports that so and so was strangled with a rope on flat 7 in whatever country…When you choose to be a dog, you die like a dog, and the cleaners will wipe away the trash so that it does not stink for them’’
The statements of the President and the Minister demonstrate the mind set of an unaccountable leadership encouraging assassinations of Rwandans and opposition political leaders. It is common practice that the government of Rwanda assassinates citizens and then denies or blame the assassination on the victims. Few examples of a very long list include: Sethi Sendashonga, Col Theoneste Lizinde (both assassinated in Kenya) Kagwa Rwisereka( Vice President, Green Party), Ltc (Judge) Augustin Cyiza, Member of Parliament Leonard Hitimana, journalists Jean Lenard Rugambage(in Kigali) and Charles Ingabire(genocide survivor shot dead in Kampala Ugandan) Major Alex Ruzindana, Major John Sengati(ADC to Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa), Capt Richard Isoke, Gustave Makonene (Cordinator Transparency International), Alphonse Rutagarama, Kayitesi Beatrace( Abducted from Kinshasa) Aimable Rusanganwa( Personal Assistant to Benard Ntaganda), John Rutayisire (Relative to Late Col Patrick Karegeya) Sgt Mboneza Paul (Former body guard to Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa) Harindintwali Evariste (Businessman, Nyamasheke), Ugiramahirwe Bosco (Bugarama, Rusizi) Col Patrick Karegeya found dead in hotel on January 1, 2014. The victims of the attack are all critics of the Rwandan government or critics of President Kagame himself. It is standard practice that Rwandan government officials discredit or insult the victims soon after their death, especially when they have been outspoken government opponents.
Other victims of attacks and threats include Frank Ntwali who was repeatedly stabbed on 22 August 2012, Rene Mugenzi, Jonathan Musonera and Noble Marara were warned by the London Metropolitan Police about threats to their lives from the Rwandan government. Joel Mutabazi, Jackson Kalemera and Innocent Kalisa who had been granted refugee status in Uganda were abducted, tortured and aligned in a kangaroo court in Rwanda against all international judicial norms of fair justice.
In March 2014, Mr Jeff Radebe, who was South Africa’s Justice Minister at the time, warned that the country couldn’t be “used as a springboard” for illegal activities, after his government expelled three Rwandan diplomats allegedly connected to a raid on the house of Gen Nyamwasa. On 28-28 August 2014 Magistrate Stanley Mhari handed out judgement in the case of attempted murder of General Kayumba Nyamwasa by two Rwandans, two Tanzanians and two more Rwandans were acquitted only because the standard of proof beyond reason doubt was not obtained. The Magistrate stated ’the attempted murder was politically motivated instigated by the people from Rwanda’. The ruling “sends a very strong message that South Africa [won’t be] used as a safe haven by any country to achieve a political agenda,” said Nathi Mncumbe, a spokesman for the prosecutor.
Today, 10 September 2014, sentences have been handed to the convicts. Like in all assassination cases, the Rwandan government had denied its involvement despite overwhelming and compelling evidence. United Nations group of experts to the DRC ended the lie and denial of Rwanda in destabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this judgement confirms what the government of South Africa warned in March 2014 through its Minister of Justice. The Rwandan community in exile, the media and Human Rights Watch have many times documented involvement of government of Rwanda in assassinations. With this judgment, The current regime in Rwanda under President Paul Kagame should be asked to account.
Rwanda National Congress is distressed by the events reported on 26 August 2014, BBC News Africa which reported 40 (Fourty) floating bodies on L. Rweru at the border of Rwanda and Burundi. Burundian official, Jean Berchmans Mpabansi, told the BBC, ”The victims are not Burundian citizens because the bodies are coming from Akagera River flowing from Rwanda.” The international community should bring the government of Rwanda, on whose territory the bodies originated to account.
Rwanda National Congress calls on the international community especially the donor countries including the United Kingdom and United States of America who have heavily bankrolled the government of Rwanda through budget support to take cognizant of the fact that part of their resources are used in furtherance of these heinous acts of assassinations. We call on the British , France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Russia and the United States of America governments among others who have sanitized the current regime under President Paul Kagame against accountability to introspect and stop protecting him.
Rwandan National Congress requests governments and leaders from the private sector, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and other groups at the grassroots to stand with us and demand answers from the current regime under President Kagame , ie:
1. To stop practices of assassinations of citizens in Rwanda and abroad whose views are different from his.
2. To make the government of Rwanda under President Paul Kagame to understand that freedom of expression and tolerance of different opinions are pillars of democracy. The international community should exert pressure on Rwanda government and leadership to undertake steps that would lead to installation of full democracy in Rwanda.
3. Calls on governments hosting Rwandan refugees to heighten protection of Rwandan refugees and asylum-seekers who have well-founded fears for their security in exile, and to carry out thorough investigations into attacks and threats against opponents and critics of the government of Rwanda in order to bring those responsible to justice.
4. Demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners and dissuade the government of Rwanda to stop labelling innocent citizens including Rwanda Patriotic Front women leaders opposed to the change of the Rwandan constitution as enemies of the state.
5. Encourage the government of Rwanda to agree to a comprehensive and unconditional dialogue with the opposition on ways for resolving the political impasse, engulfing Rwanda.
For further details contact
Mr Kennedy Gihana –Rwanda National Congress Secretary General RSA
Email: [email protected]