(English) RWANDA: DEAD END FOR THE KANGAROO TRIAL OF POLITICAL PRISONER INGABIRE

Kigali 20 October 2011
In limbo for weeks, the kangaroo trial of the Rwandan opposition leader Madame Victoire Ingabire, is now in a dead end.

Mme Victoire et ses avocats

It has been adjourned until 24 October 2011 on the request of the defence counsel, visibly humbled by repeated harassments and threats aired by the presiding judge Alice Rulisa in violation of the due process rights, acting as a prosecutor when questioning the defendant. One lawyer received a last warning to have his powers of attorney revoked and loose his status in the Rwandan courts.

Ethics violations, procedural rules violated, due process violations and threats to the lawyers have been the way of justice in this circus. Madame Victoire Ingabire and her defence counsel have lost hope in a fair trial.
The presiding judge Alice Rulisa has clearly articulated beliefs and opinions that reveal her partiality and bias against the defendant and her counsel. The judge has refused to respect the non-retroactivity of the criminal law and has spent many days grilling the defendant on allegations and publications that happened many years before the criminal laws in consideration. The court has refused to discuss the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court in this case. The judges have continued to require the defendant to produce supporting documents I.e. the whole UN mapping report, the whole UN security council resolutions and Amnesty international or Human rights reports, just to force the defendant to discuss the credibility of those organisations and their quality to report on Rwanda, a country that is not theirs. Judge Rulisa has consistently framed the issue from a personal perspective when she stated that she gives no credit to all those international researches and reports, and instead that the prosecutor is right to press charges.
It’s the presiding judge’s right not to trust the work of international organisations, nevertheless their publications are established references and the defendant should not be forced to respond to all the questions of the government of Rwanda on those reports.
This process has reached a stalemate. It’s time to tell Rwandans and the world.
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice-President
FDU-Inkingi

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