House divided over Human Rights report

PARLIAMENT - Senators and Members of Parliament were, yesterday, locked in a heated debate over the 2009/10 Human Rights report that was presented to the joint Parliamentary session. The controversial report which elaborates a few cases of human rights violations, was presented by the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, Sylvie Zainabu Kayitesi.
The Executive Secretary the National Human Rights Commission Sylvie Zainab Kayitesi (L) consults Commissioners Deogratias Kayumba (C) and Pierre Karemera in Parliament yesterday. (Photo
The Executive Secretary the National Human Rights Commission Sylvie Zainab Kayitesi (L) consults Commissioners Deogratias Kayumba (C) and Pierre Karemera in Parliament yesterday. (Photo

PARLIAMENT - Senators and Members of Parliament were, yesterday, locked in a heated debate over the 2009/10 Human Rights report that was presented to the joint Parliamentary session.

The controversial report which elaborates a few cases of human rights violations, was presented by the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, Sylvie Zainabu Kayitesi.

Some lawmakers analyzed and refuted some facts in the report and went on to propose that the House rejects the report while others pleaded with the House to accept the ‘shallow report’ and scrutinize it in a parliamentary commission sitting.

Some  of the controversial points in the report include the arrest and detention of Dr. Runyinya Barabwiriza, a Genocide suspect who has been in prison since 1994.

The report indicates that Barabwiriza is accused of being one of the master minds of the Genocide, planning and executing and distributing arms for the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi.

Although Barabwiriza’s case is yet to be tried, Kayitesi’s report recommended that he should be released immediately without trial and be given reparations for the lengthy detention without trial.

The report’s recommendations angered several MPs who wondered how the Commission could condone impunity and ask for reparations for someone suspected to have participated in the Genocide.

“This report is full of false information, the few pages I read contained totally wrong information that is why I decided not to waste my time reading it,” said MP Innocent Kayitare, who also gave details on the case against Barabwiriza.

Sen. Antoine Mugesera said; “this report has some elements of sentiments, there is no way you can seek for reparations for someone who participated in the Genocide yet the victims have never been accorded reparations.”
Despite several concerns that where raised by some MPs, lawmaker Françoise Mukayisenga pleaded with her colleagues to accept the report the way it is and details be discussed in the parliamentary standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and fight against Genocide.

Mukayisenga managed to win the support from some section of the MPs but the parliamentary session, however, failed to reach a conclusion and adjourned to Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile the Human Rights report indicates that the Commission handled 2,452 cases in a course of a year and a half.

Most of the complaints filed to the commission were related to cases handled by Gacaca courts and property related.

Ends

 

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