Marching for Madame Victoire, 20 Years after the Rwandan Genocide
Twenty years after the Rwandan Genocide, supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire marched in Brussels, Belgium on February 22, 2014 to call for the freedom of Victoire Ingabire and all Rwandan political prisoners. They denounced the Rwandan Supreme Court’s December ruling on Ingabire's appeal, which increased her sentence from eight to fifteen years. Ingabire was convicted of inciting the Rwandan people to rise up against the government, conspiring to destabilize Rwanda and voicing disagreement with the official history of the Rwandan Genocide.
KPFA Evening News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Supporters of political prisoner Victoire Ingabire marched in Brussels, Belgium today to denounce the Rwandan Supreme Court’s December ruling, which increased her sentence on appeal. Today's demonstrators were also calling for the release for all of Rwanda'a political prisoners. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: While Victoire Ingabire’s supporters marched in Brussels today, her British lawyer iain Edwards said that he is still waiting for a translation of the ruling, from Kinyarwanda to English, before saying whether or not they will appeal beyond Rwanda, to a regional court or to the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.
In 2010, when Ingabire attempted to run against sitting President Paul Kagame, she told KPFA that extremists on both sides, Hutu and Tutsi, had committed crimes before, during and after the 100 days of the Rwandan Genocide, and that both sides should have to answer to the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, where only Hutu people have been charged. Marceline Nduyumana, of the Womens' International Network for Democracy and Peace, said that Ingabire is in prison because she dared to say what many people in Rwanda knew but are afraid to say.
Marceline Nduwamungu: In Rwanda now, people are fearful. They don't talk easily. So when she arrived there, she said things that can't be said there. So the government said that she was trying to rise people against the government, because when she arrived there, she said that all what happened in Rwanda . . . all those people who have done bad things in the genocide, on both sides, because in all there is the Tutsi side and the Hutu side. . . now the Hutu side was dealt with in the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, she asked that the other side also answer the charges against it. And then the government didn't want to hear that, so she was put in prison and now she's still there and has to pass her 15 years inside.
KPFA: This year is the 20th anniversary of what came to be known as the Rwanda Genocide, and commemorations are planned around the world. The official account which was codified by an Amendment to the Rwandan Constitution, has served as an appeal for Western military intervention, as in LIbya, Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, and an excuse for Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s 18 years of overt and covert war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kagame has always said that he was compelled to defend Rwanda against a Rwandan refugee army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite abundant evidence that the Rwandan army was instead smuggling minerals from Congo to Rwanda for sale on the international market.