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16th April 2012 – Victoire Ingabire withdraws from court proceedings

Victoire Ingabire Withdraws from court

Victoire Ingabire and her lawyer Ian Edwards decide to withdraw from court

On Monday, April 16, 2012, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair of the party FDU-Inkingi, decided to withdraw, with immediate effect, from the show trial brought against her by the prosecution and which has been dragging on for more than six months before the High Court of Kigali. Having completely lost confidence in the justice of her country, Ms. Ingabire Umuhoza will no longer attend the hearings which the Court would like to set up against her will, through the use of force. She decided to boycott them.

Such a decision with its multiple judicial implications was taken after Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza noticed the persistent lack of fairness of her trial which from the beginning was marked by the failure of the general principles of law such as the basic non-retroactivity of laws, material competence and territorial jurisdictions, continuous intimidations against the defense counsel and the defense witnesses, the lack of neutrality of the judges who repeatedly took part in the accusation while being complacent with the prosecution.

Having tried everything to bring the court to uphold the basic principles of justice, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is definitely convinced that there is no justice to expect from a judicial system under the orders of the regime, as this has been demonstrated by countless interferences of the executive, starting with the President of the Republic, through intemperate statements and other acts of harassment against the accused. The time has come to tell the world that it is time to end this travesty of justice.

The Interim Executive Committee and the Coordinating Committee of FDU-Inkingi welcome and support their Chairperson for such a courageous decision she just took. This decision marks a major turning point in the process of struggle for human rights in Rwanda. The current regime has shown its limits, the world can now see the true totalitarian nature of the RPF regime, a regime that blithely tramples most the elementary rules of justice, interferes in the judicial process, threatens and intimidates defense witnesses and defense lawyers with the sole aim of preventing the exercise of civil liberties.

Indeed, the crime of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is nothing else than having demanded the opening of political space, having dared to express her intention to run for the highest office in the presidential elections of August 2010 and having sought to create an opposition political party. Last but not least, her crime is having asked that the crimes against humanity committed by the regime be prosecuted and that the pain and the memory of all victims of the Rwandan genocide to be recognized

In our document dated on June 19, 2011 and titled “a political trial against Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza”, we showed the political nature of this trial and this fact was confirmed throughout the trial. Although she knew that the current regime had no moral authority to judge her as a political opponent, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who is accused of the worst of the crimes including terrorism and genocide denial, nevertheless agreed to appear before this court. The fears expressed by many analysts are now confirmed: the Rwandan judicial system does not work and it is in the hands of dictatorial regime. From now on, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza will focus, although she remains in prison, on her vital political struggle, that of the rule of law, civil liberties and reconciliation.

The party FDU-Inkingi asks the Rwandan government to immediately and unconditionally release its Chairperson in order to start constructive discussions between the government and the opposition. This is the only way capable of guaranteeing long-term political alternation and peaceful social coexistence.

The party FDU-Inkingi warns the Rwandan authorities against any attempt to the life and physical or mental health of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, by degrading harassments or inhuman treatments. The same warning is made for all collaborators of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the members of the Interim Executive Committee, party officials at different levels and all the defense witnesses.

The party FDU-Inkingi also warns the Rwandan government against any attempt to disregard the decision of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza to withdraw from this show trial, in particular, through the use of force to compel the accused to appear in court.

The party FDU-Inkingi will soon present to the Rwandan public and the international community, a complete analysis of this political trial.

FDU-INKINGI
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President