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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Rwanda, notably the case of Victoire Ingabire

4.10.2016 - (2016/2910(RSP))

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

Jordi Sebastià, Heidi Hautala, Bart Staes, Barbara Lochbihler, Ernest Urtasun, Bodil Valero on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1061/2016

Διαδικασία : 2016/2910(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Rwanda, notably the case of Victoire Ingabire


The European Parliament,

-Having regard to its previous resolutions on Rwanda, notably that of 23 May 2013,

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by Rwanda in 1975,

-having regard to the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights instruments, in particular, 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 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

-having regard to the United Nations Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners,

-having regard to the Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions in Africa,

-having regard to the 2014 report on Rwanda of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association,

-having regard to the outcome of the 2015 Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda and to the 2016 concluding observation of the UN Human Rights Committee after its review of Rwanda’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

-having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, and particularly to Annex VII thereto, which calls for the promotion of human rights, democracy based on the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance,

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


A.Whereas Victoire Ingabire is the chairperson of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF), a coalition of Rwandan opposition parties,

B.whereas after 16 years in exile she returned to Rwanda in 2010 to run for the presidential election,

C.whereas Victoire Ingabire was barred from running for president, arrested and charged with acts related to terrorism and minimising the Rwandan genocide,

D.whereas on 30 October 2012, a Rwandan court found Victoire Ingabire guilty of conspiracy to harm the existing authority and the constitutional principles using terrorism, armed violence or any other type of violence against the government and grossly minimizing the genocide and sentenced her to 8 years imprisonment,

E.whereas the trial, which started in 2011 is considered by many observers as politically motivated and not in conformity with international standards, guided by fair trial principles,

F.whereas in April 2013, in the course of her appeal before the Supreme Court, while she was cleared of the six charges lodged by the prosecution, she was sentenced on new charges that were not based on legal documents and that, according to her defence counsel, had not been presented during the trial; whereas the two new charges include negationism/revisionism and high treason;

G.whereas in May 2013, after having testified against Victoire Ingabire before the Rwandan High Court in 2012, four prosecution witnesses and a co-accused told the Supreme Court that their testimonies had been falsified; whereas a prominent human rights organisation expressed concerns about their ‘prolonged incommunicado detention’ and ‘the use of torture to coerce confessions’

H.whereas a European Parliament delegation on a visit to Rwanda in September 2016 was prevented by Rwandan prison authorities to visit Victoire Ingabire,

I.whereas the Rwandan government withdrew its declaration allowing individuals to file complaints directly with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights on February 29, 2016, only days before judges were to hear a case brought against the Rwandan government by Victoire Ingabire,

J.whereas on 1 April 2016, the UDF-Inkingi party released an alarming call announcing that the detention conditions of Victoire Ingabire had deteriorated,

K.whereas Illuminée Iragena, an opposition activist close to Victoire Ingabire, has been missing since March 2016 and there are fears for her safety;

L.whereas several other arrests and disappearances of politicians and journalists occurred recently, namely the arrest of Léonille Gasangayire and the disappearance of John Ndabarasa,

M.whereas Victoire Ingabire’s party, UDF-Inkingi, has not been able to legally register as political party and several of its members have been threatened, arrested and detained,

N.whereas respect for fundamental human rights, including political pluralism and freedom of expression and association, are severely restricted in Rwanda, making it difficult for opposition parties to operate and for journalists to express critical views;


1.Reiterates its concern as regards the politically motivated nature of the trials against Victoire Ingabire and the absence of standards of a fair trial,

2.Urges the Rwandan government to ensure that Victoire Ingabire is provided rapidly with a new trial complying with international fair trial standards,

3.Urges the Rwandan authorities not to aggravate the already highly difficult detention conditions of Victoire Ingabire by for example trying to deprive her of her diet food,

4.Regrets that Rwandan authorities did not allow a European Parliament delegation to visit Victoire Ingabire in prison, on the grounds ‘that there is no special reason for Ms Victoire Ingabire, a convict that is subjected to nation detention guidelines and rules to receive a visit of EU Members of Parliament on official mission’,

5.Reiterates its deep concern as to the regular occurrence of politically motivated trials in Rwanda, the disappearance of governmental critics and the use of torture,

6.Calls on the Rwandan government to respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights including the right to life and physical integrity, freedom of association and freedom of assembly,

7.Calls in this context for a review of the articles of the penal code that constrain freedom of expression, notably articles 463 and article 451, 

8.Reminds the Rwandan government that sufficient political space and a climate of free expression are preconditions for the organisation of free and fair elections and essential to sustain Rwanda’s development; calls on the government to engage with the opposition in the run-up to these elections,

9.Expresses its concern about restrictions on independent civil society organisations, including the cumbersome registration process, government interference in the internal affairs of Rwandan non-governmental organizations and the intimidation and expulsion of human rights activists, 

10.Calls on the Rwandan authorities to urgently proceed with the review of its declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to file complaints at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and restore and reintroduce it,

11.Urges the Rwandan authorities to increase efforts to investigate the cases of Illuminée Iragena, John Ndabarasa and other individuals who are feared to have been forcibly disappeared, to reveal their whereabouts and release or try them, if they are in detention,

12.Asks the European Commission to critically review EU support to Rwandan government institutions to ensure that this support fully promotes human rights and has no negative effects on freedom of expression and association, political pluralism and independent civil society,

13.Instructs its President to forward this Resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and the parliaments of the Member States, the EEAS, the Government and Parliament of Rwanda, the African Union Commission, the Pan-African Parliament and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.