French court lifts Kabuye indictment

KICUKIRO - The Director of State Protocol, Rose Kabuye yesterday returned home from France for the third time following a French court decision to lift the arrest warrant that led to her wrongful detetion in Frankfurt, last November.
Rose Kabuye in an interview with reporters on arrival at Kigali International Airport last evening. (Photo/ J. Mbanda).
Rose Kabuye in an interview with reporters on arrival at Kigali International Airport last evening. (Photo/ J. Mbanda).

KICUKIRO - The Director of State Protocol, Rose Kabuye yesterday returned home from France for the third time following a French court decision to lift the arrest warrant that led to her wrongful detetion in Frankfurt, last November.

Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, Kabuye announced that the lifting of the indictment implies that she will be able to resume her duties and travel freely anywhere in the world.

“After two days of interrogation with the judges, I requested to come back to Kigali. I was granted permission and was also informed that my arrest warrant has been suspended,” Kabuye told The New Times on arrival at Kanombe International Airport.

Kabuye’s arrest stemmed from the controversial indictments issued in 2006 by French Judge Jean Louis Bruguière’s indictments that have widely been condemned by the Rwandan Government as having been politically motivated.

She and with eight other former senior members of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) were accused of having played a role in the shooting down of a plane that was carrying former President Juvenal Habyarimana.

“I can now continue with my job and travel anywhere in the world unlike before when I had to only travel to Rwanda and France. This opportunity has also come at a time we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. So I am very grateful,” she added with a smile. She is set to go back to France in the first week of May.

“Rwanda as a nation has interest in supporting international justice and the government remains ready and willing to play its role in conformity with the spirit of international justice and fairness,” reads a statement released by the ministry of Information following her return.

When contacted, Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said that the latest decision means that Kabuye was granted an extra-territorial bail which will enable her to travel elsewhere.
“She can now move in any part of the world freely because the warrant has been held redundant,” said Karugarama, who is also the Attorney General.

“This is a step in the right direction; our hope now is that she gets a free, transparent and speedy trial,” he said. He was however quick to add that by demanding for a speedy trial, the judicial process should not be sabotaged.

“These are not the judges who issued the indictments, they need ample time to digest the case now that they have gotten the gist of the whole file after the interrogation,” noted Karugarama. 

Asked if the latest decision will have an impact on the other indictments, Karugarama said that despite similarities of the case, he would not comment on the others.

“It has a bearing with the others but I don’t want to be sub judice by commenting on a matter that it already before court,” he said.

Following Kabuye’s arrest, most of the witnesses in the case have retracted their testimonies, some saying they were influenced by officials in the Champs Elysee, the French Presidence. 

Kabuye was arrested in November last year in Germany while on an official trip to prepare for a presidential visit.

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