Uncertainty over trial date
KIGALI - The Director of State Protocol, Rose Kabuye, flew to France yesterday to report in court today but she told journalists before she left that the date for her appearance before judges was still unknown to her.
Accompanied by some high government officials, members of her family, and some Rwandans who had turned up to show her support, Kabuye waved at them before boarding a Kenya Airways plane.
“I am glad to have been here for the New Year and Christmas holidays with my family and in my country but I have to go,” she told members of the press shortly before her departure.
Kabuye arrived home on Christmas Eve last year after her bail terms were modified by a French court to allow her to leave French soil and celebrate Christmas at home.
Rwanda’s Minister of information, Louise Mushikiwabo, had told The New Times earlier this week that Kabuye’s appearance in court was due today (January 10, 2009) but she did not confirm this information to journalists.
“As I go I am not even sure when I will see the judges because the date is not yet set,” she said.
The public who had consistently mounted protests ever since her arrest had been overjoyed when the lady who had fought in the Rwandese Patriotic Army(RPA) which stopped the Genocide against Tutsis returned home, but most of them went cold again as they saw her boarding her plane back to France.
“We were together with her celebrating her return but now see, she is gone again…we are very saddened,” said Rachel Muyoboke, a member of the women’s network in the Northern Province who was at the airport to send off Kabuye.
Kabuye’s arrest in Germany in November last year sparked off massive protests both within and outside the country with many Rwandans saying that the arrest was a direct attack on the country and its sovereignty.
“We will stay with her all the time,” she added.
Most women who were at the airport with Muyoboke yesterday waved to Kabuye as she embarked on her trip, as some choked back tears of sorrow, refusing to comment on the circumstances.
“Rose, we love you,” said one of them, Elizabeth Rugina, as she waved at the senior government official.
“I remember her when she was leaving Kenya to join the war,” Rugina added.
Kabuye said that she hoped her trial ‘will be as quick as possible so that this whole problem is solved as she re-asserted that she was innocent and only victimized.
Her arrest was based on an arrest warrant issued in 2006 against her and other senior Rwandan government officials by French judge Jean Louis Bruguière.
The warrants allege that the officials, who were all members of the RPA, played a role in the shooting down of the plane carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana.
Several analysts and the Rwandan government consider the accusations as ‘politically motivated’ by France to cover up its reported role in the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda.