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Parliamentary question - E-005726/2012Parliamentary question

VP/HR — Violence and political repression in Rwanda: Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza imprisoned for over 18 months for fighting for democracy and human rights

Question for written answer E-005726/2012
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 117
Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL)

The leader and presidential candidate of the United Democratic Forces of Rwanda (UDF) party, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, has now been imprisoned without cause in Kigali Central Prison for over 18 months. She faces three charges – genocide denial, divisionism and collaboration with armed groups – which lack any real legal basis and for which she could be imprisoned for life. Moreover, she believes she lacks any minimum safeguards for her defence: there have been numerous false testimonies, and defence lawyers and witnesses have suffered threats, intimidation and reprisals.

Having suffered house arrest after trying in vain to register the UDF for the August 2010 presidential elections, which Paul Kagame’s party won with 93 % of the vote and which had no international election observers, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza was imprisoned in October of that year and falsely accused of collaborating with the terrorist group the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and denying the 1994 genocide.

Ms Ingabire Umuhoza, who has on numerous occasions before and since her imprisonment acknowledged the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, claims that crimes against humanity were committed against other elements of the Rwandan population before and after this genocide — as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 955 (1994) — and fights for the perpetrators of these crimes to be investigated and brought to trial.

As dozens of associations and NGOs report, behind her imprisonment is the political repression systematically exercised by the Kagame Government and the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who discretionally use laws passed by their government to block the existence of strong opposition parties or movements.

1. Is the Vice-President/High Representative informed of this case and does she have more information about Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s imprisonment?

2. Has or will the Vice-President/High Representative formally contact the Kagame Government to express her concern about Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s situation?

3. Will the Vice-President/High Representative investigate this case and take all the steps she can to have Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza freed immediately and to ensure she has a fair trial?

OJ C 256 E, 05/09/2013