Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ingabire show trial resumes

KPFA Radio News, 94.1fm-Berkeley, kpfa.org, 10.02.2011:

Victoire Ingabire, center, on trial for terrorism, threatening state security,
and genocide ideology in Kigali Rwanda.  Ian Edwards, her British defense lawyer, left.
KPFA Weekend News Anchor Anthony Fest: Turning now to news from Africa, the trial of Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire will resume on Tuesday in Rwanda's capital city, Kigali. Ingabire is charged with terrorism and threatening state security. On September 26th, the judge in the case told Ingabire's defense lawyers that their submissions were presented in, quote, "a choking and barbarian manner," before adjourning to give the prosecution time to respond to them. The defense responded by filing a motion to have the judge removed from the case.
Ingabire's lawyers have declined to talk about the case until it's concluded, but KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Professor Peter Erlinder, who was arrested when he traveled to Rwanda to advise on Ingabire's defense.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Professor Peter Erlinder, the reports of last week’s court proceedings, even as recounted in President Kagame’s newspaper The New Times, would sound comical if Ingabire weren’t facing life in prison. The judge called the defense barbarians, the defense filed to have the judge removed, the prosecution even stood up and said the defense couldn’t be trusted because they were defending criminals, in a criminal trial. How could the Kagame regime allow a trial so important to its own rationale and justification sound so ridiculous?

Professor Peter Erlinder, left, in handcuffs,
in a courtroom in Kigali himself, after traveling
there to advise on the defense of Victoire Ingabire.
Kenyan lawyer Kennedy Ogetto, who then
traveled there to defend him, is also a defense
lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal on
Professor Peter Erlinder: Well, one of the risks that a government runs when it organizes a show trial, is that unless all aspects of the trial are controlled, the trial may turn into something very different than what they intended. What's happened is that by allowing Madame Ingabire to be defended by lawyers who are not completely under the control of the Rwandan state, there's been a possibility of raising issues that the government can't control, and, raising those issues in a way that's been legally appropriate has caused the proceedings to become uncontrollable to the Kagame regime.
KPFA:  ​And what about the near silence of the international press?  
Professor Peter Erlinder: Well, that's quite another issue and really quite extraordinary in a couple of ways. First of all you had the spectacle, last week, of Kagame being honored by Bill Clinton at the same time Kagame was holding Ingabire in prison with a shaved head and pink pajamas, in trumped up legal proceedings, and no one mentioning it in any of the proceedings in which Mr. Clinton and the world press were present. And no coverage of the trial as it's ongoing.  And, even when the defense filed motions in which they pointed out that 75% of the evidence was inadmissible because it involved events that occurred long before any of these laws existed, it has not been sufficient to cause there to be a change.

KPFA: What's really at stake in this trial? Why is the Rwandan regime of Paul Kagame so determined to send Victoire Ingabire to prison for 30 years or life?
Professor Peter Erlinder:  Well, the existing narrative that supports the Kagame regime, requires all Rwandans to accept a founding mythology that Tutsis were the only victims of the violence that occurred in 1994 and Hutus are the morally responsible parties. 

KPFA: Professor Peter Erlinder, thank you for speaking, again, to KPFA.

Professor Peter Erlinder: Pleasure.

KPFA: For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

To hear the audio archive, go to: http://www.anngarrison.com/audio/rwanda-ingabire-show-trial-out-of-kagames-control.

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