Press Release N° 22/2016: Condemnation of the handing over Rwandan refugees to a repressive regime notorious for involvement in acts of torture and extra-judicial killings.

The political platform, composed of political organisations Amahoro PC, FDU – Inkingi, PDP – Imanzi, PS - Imberakuri and the Rwanda National Congress (RNC); strongly condemns the extradition of Rwandans to a regime that is notorious for political cynicism of manipulating genocide to crush dissent and for gross violations of human rights including torture, arbitrary arrests and detention and extra-judicial killings; where there is ample evidence of interference of the Executive in the judiciary by particularly the President whose wishes are the law.

Today the most senior officials including the President now speak out clearly and invite the public to engage in extra judicial killings. President Kagame is on record encouraging extra judicial killings. For example, on January 12th, 2014, following the assassination of Col. Karegeya in South Africa, President Kagame made a speech of self-congratulation in which he stated: “Anyone who betrays our cause or wishes evil to our people will suffer the consequences. It’s only a question of how and when he will face the consequences”. President Kagame reiterated his threat in another speech on June 5, 2014 in Nyabihu in north-western region of Rwanda.  On that occasion, he warned: “We will continue to arrest more suspects and if possible kill in broad daylight those who attempt to destabilize the country”.  He was reacting to the condemnation by the US State Department of enforced disappearances in Rwanda.

The Minister of Defence General Kabarebe, demonstrating how little value the regime gives to human life, said when referring to the death by strangulation in a hotel in South Africa of Colonel Patrick Karegeya, a former comrade in arms turned dissident, “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. Such consequences are faced by those who have chosen such a path. There is nothing we can do about it, and we should not be interrogated over it”. General Mubarak newly appointed commander for Kigali and eastern province, is quoted also telling a public rally on Saturday 27th August 2016 in Rwimbogo that he was going to save the time and energy of the Police and relatives who bring refreshments to petty thieves by dealing with them in the military manner that he is famous for “everyone knows I am a person who means business when it comes to dealing with troublesome people”

It is mind blowing to see that governments from “civilised countries” are happy to hand over Rwandans to such a repressive regime. Such attitude has emboldened the Rwandan regime in its repressive policies. Worse still for Rwanda it undermines national reconciliation and creates a fertile ground for future conflict. As Professor F. Reyntjens pointed out more than 10 years ago, “While it is understandable that the ‘genocide credit’ and the logic of ‘good guys and bad guys’ should have inspired an understanding of a regime born out of the genocide, this complacent attitude has incrementally, step by step, contributed to a situation that may well be irreversible and that contains seeds for massive new violence in the medium or long run.  (Prof. F. Reyntjens journal on African Affairs, Vol. 103, No. 411, April 2004, pp. 208-9; quoted in the RESEARCH PAPER 06/51 25 OCTOBER 2006 for the House of Commons.

While Rwandans must take full responsibility in the tragedy that befell them, there is no doubt that external powers, by supporting repressive regimes in Rwanda, have exacerbated the conditions that have made the cycle of political violence possible. The complacent attitude of the international community towards the excesses of President Kagame and open support by very influential people have brought him to consider himself demi God, with divine right to rule for ever.

The platform would like to stress that its opposition to the extradition is in no way aimed at covering anyone for his/her responsibility in the genocide, but as a matter of principle. It is well established that it is not possible under the present conditions in Rwanda to obtain a fair trial. The trials of Mrs. Victoire Ingabire, leader of the Rwandan opposition political party FDU-Inkingi, Mr. Mushayidi Déogratias President of PDP-Imanzi, Dr. Niyitegeka Théoneste, former candidate for the 2003 presidential elections and many others, should have demonstrated that the Rwandan justice system is not independent of political interference.

For the sake of peace in Rwanda and to save the belief in the whole concept of democracy and human rights, governments should stop handing over Rwandans to a regime that is not only notorious for gross human rights violations including acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners but also prides itself in carrying out these gruesome crimes against its own people.

Brussels, December 9, 2016.

Jean-Damascène Munyampeta

Chair Platform

Acteur.changement@gmail.com