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Procedure : 2016/2910(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1065/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-1065/2016

Debates :

OJ 06/10/2016 - 77
CRE 06/10/2016 - 3.1

Votes :

PV 06/10/2016 - 5.1

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0378

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 465kWORD 54k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1061/2016
4.10.2016
PE589.654v01-00
 
B8-1065/2016

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Rwanda, the case of Victoire Ingabire (2016/2910(RSP))


Cristian Dan Preda, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Davor Ivo Stier, Roberta Metsola, Tunne Kelam, Patricija Šulin, Ivan Štefanec, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Jaromír Štětina, Pavel Svoboda, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Milan Zver, Romana Tomc, Claude Rolin, Tomáš Zdechovský, Lefteris Christoforou, Michaela Šojdrová, Thomas Mann, Stanislav Polčák, Marijana Petir, Eduard Kukan, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Jeroen Lenaers, Ivo Belet, Giovanni La Via, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Adam Szejnfeld, József Nagy, Csaba Sógor, Dubravka Šuica, Andrey Kovatchev, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Jiří Pospíšil, Seán Kelly, Eva Paunova, Therese Comodini Cachia, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, Krzysztof Hetman, Francisco José Millán Mon on behalf of the PPE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Rwanda, the case of Victoire Ingabire (2016/2910(RSP))  
B8‑1065/2016

The European Parliament,

-having regards to its previous resolution on Rwanda and Victoire Ingabire’s case,

-having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR);

- having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

-having regard to the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa,

-having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

-having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

-having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU on constitutional review in Rwanda of 3 December 2015,

-having regard to Joint local EU statement on the referendum on a draft constitution in Rwanda of 18 December 2015,

-having regard to the press release of 16 March 2016 of the United Democratic Forces on the appeal case of political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza,

-having regard to the Freedom House report on Rwanda 2015,

-having regard to the Amnesty International country report Rwanda 2015/2016,

-having regard to the Amnesty International report Justice in jeopardy. The first instance trial of Victoire Ingabire of 2013,

-having regard to the answer by VP/HR Ashton to a EP written question regarding Victoire Ingabire, EP Plenary, 4 February 2013,

-having regard to the Human Rights Watch  statement on Rwanda: Opposition Activist Missing of 29 September 2016,

-having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas after 16 years Victoire Ingabire returned to Rwanda in January 2010 in order to participate in presidential elections as the candidate of the opposition Unified Democratic Forces (UDF-Inkingi); whereas her political activities were focusing on the idea of a state of justice, freedom of political associations, empowerment of women in Rwanda;

B. whereas Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) continues to be the dominant political party in Rwanda under President Paul Kagame, controlling public life along the lines of a one party system, with critics of the Rwandan authorities being harassed, intimidated and imprisoned;

C. whereas Victoire Ingabire was ultimately barred from running in presidential elections and was arrested on 14 October 2010;

D. whereas Victoire Ingabire was accused of conspiracy against authorities using terrorism and denying the 1994 genocide because of her presumed relations with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu rebel group; whereas she denied all the charges and claiming them to be politically motivated;

E. whereas, although one witness testified that state intelligence services had fabricated evidences against Victoire Ingabire, on 30 October 2012 she was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison;

F. whereas many human rights organisations denounced the first instance trial of Victoire Ingabire, as serious irregularities and her unfair treatment were observed;

G. whereas in its report Amnesty International points to prejudicial public statements made by the Rwandan President in advance of her trial, and a reliance on confessions from detainees in Camp Kami where torture is alleged to be used;

H. whereas on 13 September 2012, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, together with two other Rwandan political figures Bernard Ntaganda and Deogratias Mushyayidi was nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2012 of the European Parliament;

I. whereas on the 25th of March 2013 Victoire Ingabire started her appeal trial and called for re-examination of evidences;

J. whereas in April 2013 during her appeal in front of the Supreme Court she was sentenced on the ground of new charges based on documents without legal character, and which, according to her Defense Counsel, were not brought before it during the trial; whereas the two new charges include negationism/revisionism and high treason;

K. whereas Rwandan national law contravenes international conventions that Rwanda is party to, particularly the international conventions on civil and political rights, specifically the freedom of expression and of thought, which the Rwandan government signed on the 16/07/1997;

L. whereas on 29 of April, 2013 after having testified against Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in Rwandan High Court in 2012, four prosecution witnesses and co-accused members of FDLR Colonel Tharcisse Nditurende, Lieutenant Colonel Noel Habiyaremye, Lieutenant Jean Marie Vianney Karuta and Major Vital Uwumuremyi, told the Supreme Court that their testimonies were falsified and that Ingabire’s political party FDU-INKINGI never aimed at the formation of a ‘‘Coalition of Democratic Forces (CDF) military wing;

M. whereas Victoire Ingabire appealed in December 2013 at the Rwandan Supreme Court which upheld the conviction on charges of ‘’genocide ideology’’ and “conspiracy against the country through terrorism and war” and increased the sentence to 15 years;

N. whereas in 2015 Ms Ingabire appealed to the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights accusing the Rwandan government of violating her rights; whereas in March 2015 Rwanda withdrew itself from the African Court claiming Rwanda’s courts are capable of dealing with all local cases;

O. whereas since April 2016 the detention conditions of Ms Ingabire have deteriorated significantly; whereas she is deprived of external and special-diet meals and her medical certificate was abrogated; whereas she was temporarily refused access to her lawyer;

P. whereas several opposition party members are kept in prison; whereas Illuminée Iragena, a nurse and political activist linked to the FDU-Inkingi, has been missing for the past five months; whereas Léonille Gasengayire, the treasurer of FDU-Inkingi was arrested on 23 August 2016 and charged with inciting public insurrection;

Q. whereas a delegation from the European Parliament was denied access in September 2016 to jailed opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, due to what the Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation considered as “no special reason for Ms. Victoire Ingabire, a convict that is subjected to national detention guidelines and rules, to receive a visit of the EU Members of Parliament on official mission”;

R. whereas human rights situation, namely political participation and freedom of expression in Rwanda remains worrying, while independent civil society remains very weak;

S. whereas Rwandan president Paul Kagame is to run for third term in 2017 following constitutional changes that would effectively allow Kagame to stay in power until 2034; whereas those constitutional changes prompted criticism from western governments;

T.whereas Rwanda ranks 161 out of 180 in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index ; whereaspress freedom continued to deteriorateas independent journalists were frequently harassed, threatened, and arrested; whereas exiled and foreign journalists are increasingly subject to extra-legal intimidation, violence, and forced disappearances for criticizing officials in their reporting;

U. whereas in October 2014, the government suspended indefinitely the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Kinyarwanda-language radio service following the airing of a controversial BBC television documentary about Rwanda’s 1994 genocide;

1. Expresses its deep concerns over the Rwandan Supreme Court’s denial of appeal and judgement sentencing Victoire Ingabire to 15 years of prison; believes that the appeal process conducted in Rwanda did not meet international standards, including Ms Ingabire right to the presumption of innocence, and was based on fabricated evidences and confessions from her co-accused that came after a period of military detention in Camp Kami, where torture is alleged to be used to coerce confessions;

2. Strongly condemns politically motivated trials, prosecution of political opponents and prejudging the outcome of the trial; in this respect urges Rwandan authorities to ensure that if a new appeal process of Victoire Ingabire takes place, it has to be fair and meets standards under Rwandan and international law; underlines that trial and charges cannot be based on vague and imprecise laws, which are misused, as it is in the case of Victoire Ingabire;

3. Calls for upholding the rights of Victoire Ingabire in prison, including access to legal representation and adequate food and treatment;

4. Stresses that withdrawal of Rwanda in March 2016 from the jurisdiction of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) just a few days prior to the hearing of the appeal case by Ms Ingabire is circumstantial and aims at limiting the direct access of individuals and NGOs to the Court;

5. Takes the view that Rwandan judiciary system has failed in conducting the criminal trial of Victoire Ingabire, being unable to prove that it can deal with high-profile political cases fairly and independently; expressed concerns of a possible transfer of Victoire Ingabire to a remote place in Rwanda where her external contacts will not be able to reach her and her life will be in danger;

6. Reminds Rwandan authorities that the EU raised its concerns for the respect of human rights and rights to a fair justice within the official political dialogue with Rwanda under Art. 8 of Cotonou Agreement; calls for immediate revision of Ms Ingabire case as denial of appeal cannot be tolerated; urges for impartial decision in this case, based on facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, pressures or threats;

7. Condemns any intimidation, arrests, detentions, and prosecutions of opposition parties leaders, members, activists, as well as journalists and other perceived critics of Rwandan government solely for expressing their views; urges in this respect Rwandan authorities to review and adjust national law in order to guarantee freedom of expression, notably articles 463 and 451 of the penal code which constrains freedom of expression;

8. Expresses its criticism at the speed at which the referendum on constitutional change allowing President Kagame to stand another turn in elections in 2017 was held;

9. Reminds Rwandan authorities that democracy is based on pluralistic governments, functioning opposition, independent media and judiciary, respect for human rights, and the right of expression and assembly; Calls in this respect on Rwanda to open its political space live up to these standards and improve its human rights record; expects Rwanda to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of Association and Assembly (2014) and  free all political prisoners including Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhiza;

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, HR/VP Federica Mogherini, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General, the institutions of the African Union, East African Community, the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly and the EU Member States, Defenders of Victoire Ingabire, the President of Rwanda.

 

Last updated: 4 October 2016Legal notice