Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rwanda frustrates Ingabire’s trial

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It’s been more than a year of pain and anguish since Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was arrested. The first arrest was made on May 24th 2010 and she was subsequently placed under house arrest. Even without clear evidence the police detained her again on the 15th of October the same year. Now, the Rwanda prosecution having failed to give her a speedy and fair trial is turning the blame on her. The Rwandan media claims that Ingabire is responsible for delaying her own case. The cynically implied message being that Ingabire enjoys detention.

On the 24th of June, the New Times released an op-ed titled “Victoire [Ingabire] should not Rush us”. It quoted the Rwandan prosecutor, Martin Ngoga as saying, "If these countries send us the information tomorrow, then we can start the case tomorrow, if it takes longer, we will wait, but from the feedback we have received, we are sure all information will trickle in." He was being open to the fact that Rwanda did not have enough evidence against Ingabire. Yet the government continued to detain her.

Interestingly, the Rwandan government is turning around to place the blame on Ingabire. According to Sunny Ntayombwa, a New Times columnist, Ingabire wants another five months in jail. The piece which is literally aimed at mocking her, insinuates that she is enjoying staying in a Rwandan cell with “a private shower, toilet, a comfy bed and a window”; as if to suggest that Ingabire was homeless before her imprisonment.

In an interview that Radio Netherlands Worldwide held with Ingabire’s lawyers, it emerges that the trial will be postponed but not for reasons given by Rwanda. First, the lawyers accuse the prosecution for failing to consult with them when setting the trial dates. This is important because two of the lawyers are British nationals, living in Britain. Another problem has to do with translation. Yes despite the government of Rwanda’s switch from French to English, they still conduct trials in Kinyarwanda and provide no English translations. Ingabire’s lawyers do not understand Kinyarwanda and have to translate over 2000 pages.

It’s been clear since day one that the Rwandan government wants to silence Ingabire ; and they are now using the legal system to achieve that end.

2 comments:

Mamadou Kouyate said...

Thanks Nkunda for the article.
I found one mistake regarding the date of Ms Ingabire first arrest last year.
She was arrested on 21st April 2010and released the next day on bail then placed under house arrest
( http://rwandinfo.com/eng/rwanda-opposition-leader-victoire-ingabire-arrested-2/ )until her second arrest in October 2010.
Please make any necessary corrections.
Thanks.

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