Sue Spanish judge, parties urge government

KIGALI - Leaders of Rwandese Labour Party (PSR) have asked the Government of Rwanda to take legal action against a Spanish judge who issued indictments against senior Rwandan military officials.

KIGALI - Leaders of Rwandese Labour Party (PSR) have asked the Government of Rwanda to take legal action against a Spanish judge who issued indictments against senior Rwandan military officials.

Last month, Spanish judge Fernando Andrei Mirelles indicted 40 senior members of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), all of whom are former officers in the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) on allegations of committing crimes after the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

According to PSR president, Jean Baptiste Rucibigango, legal action would stop further baseless indictments that are meant to destabilise the country’s security.

“As a party that wants peace, we cannot tolerate such false indictments against our officers; they are meant to jeopardize our country’s security,” Rucibigango told a news conference on Saturday.

Rucibigango who is also a parliamentarian in the Chamber of Deputies wondered where Merelles got the authority to issue the indictments without making thorough investigations.

The judge claimed to have gathered testimony from 22 people, most of them in exile and now in witness-protection programmes.

Rucibigango said Merelles’ indictments are lacking and a sign of carelessness because he never bothered to come to Rwanda or the Democratic Repubilic of Congo (DRC) – where the alleged crimes were purportedly committed – to find out the truth.

“This also demonstrates how the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels are using some countries to plan their futile propaganda campaign  against our country,”he added.

FDRL is a genocidal force based in eastern DRC.

In a related development, the president of the Party for Progress and Concord (PPC), Dr Alivera Mukabaramba, also took a swipe at Merelles, saying the judge’s allegations were only for propaganda value.

Addressing journalists at Hotel Okapi on Saturday, Senator Mukabaramba said the indictments were a prejudice to the international law because Rwanda is a sovereign state.

Etienne Niyonzima, the vice-president of PPC explained that the Spanish judge’s indictments are meant to distract Rwandans’ unity and reconciliation process.
“He (Merelles) wants to plunge the country back into the culture of hatred and discrimination as it was in the past,” he explained angrily.

The Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has also dismissed the indictments, saying that they are politically motivated.

The Government has on several occasions said that a group of Genocide fugitives is at the centre of a coordinated campaign to tarnish its image, with the intention of returning to power and accomplish the Genocide

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