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Parliamentary question - E-005726/2012(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

The EU is closely monitoring Victoire Ingabire's trial. The case is the first of its kind as a Rwandan citizen who also has refugee status in the Netherlands, returned to Rwanda on a Rwandan passport. The trial has been followed by several EU Member States’ embassies, various human rights’ organisations and NGOs.

In the Netherlands, Ms Ingabire became politically active. On entering Rwanda, Ms Ingabire held a speech at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and made the statements, which were aimed at asking attention for the plight of the majority Hutu population in Rwanda. As the declarations were controversial in content and since it is forbidden by Rwandan law to make explicit reference to ethnicity, these acts were labelled ‘divisionism’ and seen as promoting ‘genocide ideology’.

Ms Ingabire was arrested in April 2010, but was granted bail the next day, on condition that she would restrict her movements to the town of Kigali. She was again arrested in October 2010, on the ground that more serious charges of support to terrorism had been added to the indictment.

The trial began in September 2011 and has proceeded very slowly, but the defence has been able to present its case. The Rwandan authorities have been doing their outmost to make sure that the terms of Ingabire's detention conditions are up to international standards.

The hybrid nature of Rwandan law (civil law basis, with more and more influence of common law) has created some legal uncertainty, which should be clarified with the verdict expected to be delivered on the 7 September 2012, following which an analysis of the court case can be completed.

The defendant will also have the right to an appeal. I assure you that EU will continue to monitor the case and will take the required actions following the completion of the trial.

OJ C 256 E, 05/09/2013