We have learnt with satisfaction the judgement of the African Court of Human and Peoples ‘ Rights, based in Arusha -Tanzania) in the case of the political prisoner, Mrs Victoire Ingabire against the Rwandan government, confirming that she did not get a fair trial in Rwanda, highlighting several violations of her Rights including freedom of expression and absence of internationally recognised standards relating to her legal defence.
The Inkingi UDF is confident that the Council of Ministers of the African Union will ensure the proper implementation of the ruling in accordance with article 29 (2) of the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples ‘ Rights establishing an African court of Human and Peoples ‘ Rights: » and which provides: « The judgments of the Court shall also be notified to the Council of Ministers which shall ensure their implementation. We also hope that President Kagame who has been charged with reforming the institutions of the African Union and is to become its chair next year 2018, will be a role model for other African Heads of State in respecting the decisions of the organs of the African Union.
Mrs. Victory Ingabire returned to Rwanda on 16 January 2010, to register her party, the UDF-Inkingi and to participate in the presidential elections of August 2010. The Rwandan regime which does not tolerate any dissenting voice persecuted her since her arrival in Rwanda. She was harassed physically and attacked psychologically through pro government newspapers.
Unable to break her will to stand in the presidential elections and keen to end her political career, the regime jumped the gun by arresting her on October 10, 2010 and eventually charging her in a politically motivated trial. Like all other critics of the regime she was charged among other things of violating two articles of the Penal Code: 461” Offence against the established power or the President of the Republic” and 463: “inciting insurrection or trouble amongst the population”. Hence dissent is criminalised under these laws, making Rwanda a de facto one-party state.
She was finally sentenced to eight years ‘ imprisonment, and on appeal to the Supreme Court by the High Court the sentence was raised 15 years. Shed did to lose faith in her battle for justice which she could get from her own country. She turned to the ACHPR.
The trial was characterized by major irregularities identified by all independent observers and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, FIDH, the European Parliament. The ruling passed by the African Court for Human and Peoples Rights has confirmed the political nature of the trial of the president of FDU-Inkingi.
The FDU-Inkingi is quite pleased that the judges have done justice to its President Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, albeit the tactics and attempts of the Rwandan government to obstruct the normal process. One of the tactics was to get the Summit of Heads of State of the African Union, held in Kigali in July 2016, to appoint Judge Marie Thérèse to the bench of the African Court even though she was on the panel of judges at the Supreme Court of Rwanda who sentenced Mrs Victoire Ingabire.
The UDF-Inkingi urges member countries of the ACHPR to use their influence to demand from the government of Rwanda to implement the ruling.
Under article 30 of the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples ‘ Rights establishing an African court of Human and Peoples ‘ Rights: » The States Parties to the present Protocol undertake to comply with the judgment in any case to which they are parties within the time stipulated by the Court and to guarantee its execution.
The FDU-Inkingi, call on the Rwandan Government to open the political space and unconditionally free all members of the FDU-Inkingi Party and other political and prisoners of conscience.
Done in Paris, November 24, 2017
For the UDF-INKINGI
Dr. Emmanuel Mwiseneza
2nd General Secretary
Email: [email protected]