This year Rwanda made headlines in some important outlets of foreign media with some of its issues attracting the world’s editors and analysts. The arrest of Rose Kabuye will no doubt continue to spur great media attention, political concern and judicial adjustments worldwide as we enter 2009.
Arresting Kabuye who is the Director of State Protocol, and her appearance before a French judge will remain in the headlines because it reminds Africa that it needs to stand up together and fight against the abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction for the sake of political interests of superpowers.
Here we have a diplomat who traveled to Germany to prepare a visit by her country’s President and was arrested on a French arrest warrant on November 9 despite the fact that the French judge’s report that indicted her remains controversial worldwide.
EU Development Commissioner, Louis Michel, was quoted by BBC saying that he ‘doubted the validity of the French report that led to her arrest’.
The African Union said the arrest of Kabuye could ‘endanger international law, order and security’.
The Pan African Parliament sitting in Johannesburg dismissed the universal jurisdiction principle upon which RPF members were indicted as biased and ‘political in nature’.
The Guardian’s online version quoted Rwanda’s Minister of Information, Louise Mushikiwabo, as saying that her government was ‘disappointed many times by international law’.
A deep analysis of the Minister’s words in The Guardian reacting on the arrest opens a debate on whether this world has a system of rendering justice or whether some of the suspects are too powerful to be summoned.
Kabuye’s case was too interesting to go unreported by the world’s media partly because it shows how a superpower can use its lawyers to hide its political mistakes and manipulate international opinion.
This month, the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) called upon the African Union to meet the United Nations and set up ways on how to internationally regulate issuance of indictments and arrest warrants against suspects of grave crimes worldwide after examining how the principle of universal jurisdiction was misused to indict African leaders.
Rwandans and their friends in almost all continents of the World protested against the arrest of Kabuye. Most of them maintain of course she is an innocent woman and a hero who was arrested on a politically motivated warrant yet she played a prominent role in stopping the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
Despite all of the above condemnations, Rose Kabuye who flew home last week for Christmas, still prefers appearing before a French court in order to challenge injustice against the financially weak of this World.
The decision, if well analysed, is a contribution to international judicial affairs, rights, and leadership. Her crave for fair justice for all makes Rose Kabuye appear as a freedom fighter, a public administrator, a champion of African rights, and a mother that boosts hope and confidence for the rest of female humans.
“I am innocent and am ready to prove it that is why I am not worried at all. Much as I didn’t want to go back, there is need to face the reality of the problem and let the law take its course,” Kabuye said shortly after her arrival at Kigali International Airport on Wednesday. She was answering the question on whether she would be going back to France to stand trial.
Issues surrounding her case mean that Rwandans in particular and Africans in general need to find themselves a solution against them being targets of superpowers of the World who seem to have designed paths to stop them whenever they feel the need while the financially weak swallow their sorrow as they remember injustices they face from the rich.
Kabuye remains a hero in this battle for her courage.