PARIS - The Director of State Protocol Rose Kabuye, who was recently arrested in Germany, was yesterday transferred to France. Members of the Rwandan Community in France standing outside the Palais de Justice in Paris, France confirmed this, moments after she was reportedly secretly and swiftly whisked into court by French police.
“We were not able to see her as she was hurriedly and secretly rushed into court on arrival here,” Nido Uwera, one of the Rwandans outside the Palais de Justice told The New Times on phone.
Uwera said that they were waiting anxiously to hear the outcome of Kabuye’s first court appearance. She also revealed that the Rwandans in France had earlier been given the go ahead to demonstrate against Kabuye’s arrest.
“We were given permission by the authorities here to protest come this Saturday. We are now planning for the rally.”
Immaculée Rahmatali, another Rwandan waiting outside the court building, also emphatically stated that they would wait till they heard what came out of her first court appearance.
“She is ours and she is innocent and we will wait here until we hear whatever comes out,” she said.
“This is a sad day in the history of international justice, a sad time for diplomacy and the International Justice is in jeopardy,” declared Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama during a live media debate on Kabuye’s arrest yesterday.
“This is about Rose, it’s about Rwanda and it’s about Africa but there is a light at the end of the tunnel because this case is going to unearth many things that have been hidden,” said Foreign Affairs Minister, Rosemary Museminali, who also attended the debate.
Kabuye’s transfer to France coincided with massive protests in Kigali and all over the country and hundreds of thousands converged before the German Embassy condemning the country for what they called an illegitimate arrest.
“The government and the people of Rwanda would like to reiterate their unequivocal demand to have Kabuye unconditionally released as she is an innocent political hostage and we call upon the Federal Republic of Germany and France to cease the judicial harassment of Rwandan officials,” said a government statement read by Mushikiwabo.
Government also reemphasised the request a few months ago by the African Union calling for an imposition of a moratorium on all the indictments against Rwandan officials which officials say, were politically motivated.
From a legal point of view, international law doesn’t permit any foreign judge to indict someone from a different country unless the criminal is an international terrorist…downing of that plane, as unfortunate as it was, could not in any way qualify for an international terror attack,” said Karugarama, who is also the country’s Attorney General.
He added: “Actually, Bruguiere’s method of work was more of terrorist in nature because his report is a political statement full of hate and racist language…it’s like a social research not a judicial document.”
Following the arrest, Rwanda decided to send home Christian Clages, the German Ambassador to Rwanda and recalled Rwanda’s ambassador from Berlin.
Reacting on the next step the government plans to take regarding the diplomatic impasse, Museminali said that this would depend on how Berlin reacts to the arrest.
Immediately after her arrest on November 9, Kabuye opted for her trial to be held in France from where the indictments leading to her illegal arrest were issued.
Kabuye’s arrest in Germany was on the basis of an arrest warrant stemming from controversial and widely condemned indictments by French Judge, Jean Louis Bruguière. He falsely claims that she played a role in the downing of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane.