(English) RWANDA: INGABIRE TRIAL: PROSECUTION INCONSISTENCIES AND THE QUESTION OF WITNESSES' IMPEACHMENT.

Kigali 14th November 2011

Since 10th November 2011, the High Court has allowed the prosecution “witnesses” to take indirect questions and to respond after preparation with their lawyers. For unknown reasons, the National Public Prosecution Authority has filed for sentence discount to all the co-accuseds in exchange for their guilty plea and full collaboration to corner the opposition leader Madame Victoire Ingabire, FDU-Inkingi Chair. Their open court accounts of the modus operandi is seriously blasting the prosecution evidence. At this stage of their contradictions, the conditions for prosecutor’s witnesses’ impeachment have been attained.

Colonel Tharcisse Nditurende, one of the key witnesses, was escorted from Burundi to Rwanda in September 2009 as a “war prisoner”. He was officially interrogated by the police on 24 April 2010, more than seven months after. Curiously, the information he gave in that interrogation was used two months before in the Criminal Investigation Department’s grilling of the opposition leader Victoire Ingabire in February – March 2010. He has confessed in open court that his forced return to Rwanda was arranged by a joint operation between the Burundi and Rwanda intelligence services. He was illegally held in isolation incommunicado in KAMI military barracks for 7 months and was many times “interrogated” by unidentified officers with no legal assistance and no procès-verbal. And eyes looking at the floor, he told the High Court “I was not mistreated”! During “his interrogations”, he claimed that he arranged travel arrangements to Bujumbura with his co-accused friend Lt Colonel Noel Habiyaremye in Dar es Salaam, but in court he forgot and said Nairobi. Considering the fact that Tharcisse Nditurende before and after the genocide has committed his life to fight against RPF and is now a “new born again” begging for mercy and considering other serious contradictions in his statements, Defence counsel Iain Edwards strongly believes that during those 7 months in isolation confinement under military intelligence interrogations, something happened to him that triggered a paradigm shift in his behaviour, either under duress, fear, promises or threats. He has no credibility in this case. He needs help himself.

The other key witness is Vital Uwumuremyi who pretends to be a Major in the FDLR. Today on the first question, he betrayed the accusation script. He was asked when and where he was arrested and where he was living before that. He said he was heading to the DRC from Rwanda. But his Laisser- Passer shows that Vital Uwumuremyi entered Rwanda officially with a DRC exit stamp on 13 October 2010 and that prior to the arrest he was actually in the DRC. Who has facilitated his travels, his forged documents, why, for what purposes? Who gave him those travel papers and the identity card? In open court, the suspect declined to answer. The prosecutor backed him up and reminded that this was not a cross-examination and that Vital Uwumuremyi “should not” answer those questions. The objection was sustained.

The prosecutor told the court that the government of the Netherlands has finally given all the evidence on Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. We learnt that it’s a bunch of around 600 pages. The court decisions in the Netherlands were about 3 documents. The other material has been concealed.

Those were the fears expressed by the family defence team in the Netherlands questioning the credibility of the Rwandan judicial.

Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President
FDU-Inkingi

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