Monday, September 5, 2011

Ingabire's Verdict?

The long awaited and much anticipated trial of Victoire Ingabire, the imprisoned de facto leader of the Rwandan political opposition, was due to start today. The judge adjourned court until Wednesday, citing the need for competent interpretation.

Yet, on Twitter, the Government of Rwanda has declared victory in the case, stating that it (not the prosecution) has documents to prove her ties to 'terrorist' groups in the region, and thus her guilt.

Nice to see the government being *this* transparent on its interference in the judicial system. I wonder what diplomats resident in Kigali might have to say on this. My guess is a muted response, particularly since President Kagame recently called international justice two-faced in reaction to the denial of visitors visas for several members of his delegation to France (or at least the timing of his reaction suggests as such).

While some people might find it a bit of a conceptual stretch to link Ingabire's domestic trial to Kagame's visit to France, what I think we are looking at is not justice, but rather fodder for Kagame's duplicitous actions vis-a-vis international criticism of his regime. Indeed, Ingabire's trial corresponds to continued demands from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others to revise and update the genocide ideology and ethnic divisionism laws. The timing of the two events is actually pretty crappy for continued government efforts to show itself as forward looking, progressive and ethnically inclusive. My sense is that we are about to enter an intense period of government propaganda that will further reveal points of weakness in ruling RPF....


  1. The regime is showcasing this trial as a triumph of judicial independence. However, this is far from the reality, and the trial is a political strategy--albeit a poor one. This is becoming more and more evident.

  2. I wonder what you mean by interfering with the judicial system. In most democracies it is the government who tries suspects. So in most cases it will be the government who has to come up with the proof.
    Also I dont understand your problem with the fact that Rwanda has prohibited denial of the genocide. In the whole of Europe it is forbidden to deny the holocaust..what's the difference?