KIGALI - The Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, yesterday said that the case involving Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the leader of the yet-to-be-registered political party, FDU-Inkingi, is not a “political case” as some people claim but a terrorist case with “regional and international dimensions”.
He was reacting to a decision by Gasabo Intermediate Court to deny bail to Ingabire and her co-accused, Maj. Vital Uwumuremyi.
Ngoga said that Ingabire’s case is based on evidence collected from several countries, including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, United State and several European countries that don’t have anything to do with local politics.
“If it is a political problem that we are creating for Ingabire, what about Burundi which arrested her collaborators? What about the DRC? What about these European countries and America that we are challenging to produce the evidence of collaboration with FDLR?” he wondered.
“They are all members of the United Nations. They are party to various international treaties and agreements that obliges them to cooperate with us on matters of terrorism. FLDR is an organisation that is subject to not less than 15 Security Council resolutions,”
“If it had been a domestic matter, we would not have taken the risk of investigations to go beyond our borders,” Ngoga said.
Ingabire is facing fresh charges related to forming a terrorist organisation with the aim of causing state insecurity.
She is charged with Maj. Uwumuremyi, a former Ex-FAR and a commander in the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, of forming the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CDF) which was to become the military wing of the FDU-Inkingi.
Ngoga said that Rwanda has asked countries where Ingabire coordinated activities to provided evidence, and among these, Burundi and DRC have cooperated while Holland and the US have promised to provide the required documents, adding that the case should be kicking off soon.
“The fact is that she is, among other things, accused of cooperating with FDLR, a terrorist organisation, and the whole transactions involve all the above mentioned countries,” Ngoga said, adding that those ignoring the facts and turning the case into a political issue have a tradition of criticising Rwanda and are showing double standards on terrorism.
Ngoga added that many a time the critics go wrong and will decide to keep quite when the truth comes to light, citing Ingabire’s assistant Joseph Ntawangundi, a genocide suspect arrested upon arrival earlier this year, whose arrest drew a lot of criticism until he pleaded guilty.
“They never even had the courage to apologise to the public and admit that they had gone wrong,” Ngoga said, adding that soon investigations into Ingabire’s case will be completed to enter the substantive trial.
Ngoga challenged anyone who has evidence challenging what the prosecution has as evidence to come up instead of generalising the whole case as political. He added that terrorism has one definition which applies to all countries and Rwanda is not unique.
Ngoga said that most of these crimes including divisionism and ideology are not unique to Rwanda and have a universal appeal; this is no reason Rwanda should be looked at differently.
Ngoga accused FDU-Inkingi members in Belgium and Holland for coming up with baseless allegations of torture and mistreatment on the internet, yet Ingabire who appeared before the judge twice did not address the issue with the judge, who in this case is the right person.
“I want to refute these baseless allegations of torture and mistreatment. We have no reasons to mistreat anybody but if what they had expected is preferential treatment, we cannot afford to do that.”
“Preferential treatment is also a form of discrimination to other prisoners who are not given that preferential treatment,” Ngoga said, adding that no one has been denied access to Ingabire.
He added that there are even International Organisations in the country that have access to prisoners to assess the situation and they are free to visit Ingabire.
“No preferential treatment, no discrimination and no mistreatment. Whoever wants to visit can come and visit,” Ngoga added.
Ngoga said that there are administrative procedure to be followed and not anyone storming the Rwandan embassy in Holland and request to speak to Ingabire immediately, observing that even in Holland, things don’t work that way.
“It is simply humane that the family is aggrieved, but it’s not a must for the case to stop because the family is aggrieved. Even in Holland, all prisoners have families which I’m sure are aggrieved. They are not celebrating and Holland has not released anyone on that basis,” Ngoga said.
Ngoga added that it is unfair that other countries consider terrorism a serious crime but when it comes to Rwanda, it is a simple political case, a sign of double standards. He added that Ingabire’s case will be combined into one case because it involves the same activities and the same people.
Meanwhile Ngoga told the press that under the same case, more people will be charged including Paul Rusesabagina.
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday confirmed it is investigating Paul Rusesabagina on suspicion of financing subversive activities and the case is linked to that of Ingabire.
Rusesabagina through Western Union sent funds to two men, then top FDLR commanders, with the aim of recruiting new fighters for CDF.
Rusesabagina sent funds to former FDLR commanders; Lt. Col Tharcisse Nditurende and Lt. Col Noel Habiyaremye, who have since been arrested, as well as another one identified as Jean Marie Vianney Karuta, in Kinshasa and Brazzaville to plan their activities. The 4 commanders are co-accused with Ingabire.