Monday, April 16, 2012

Victoire Ingabire rocks Kagame's kangaroo court

Victoire Ingabire, center, with her British lawyer Iain Edwards, left, before deciding, this week, that there was no point in further attempting to
herself in Rwandan President Paul Kagame's kangaroo court. 

Victoire Ingabire has refused to continue playing the role of defendant in her show trial in Rwandan President Paul Kagame's kangaroo court. She has asked her lawyers to do the same, and her British lawyer, Iain Edwards, has already returned to London, from Kigali.

The Rwanda News Agency reports that "Prosecution said Ingabire will be dragged to court for every hearing." Other outlets report that prosecutors have asked the court to assign new lawyers to "defend" her. Despite Kagame's near absolute power in Rwanda, he still seems to have some need to maintain the semblance of a fair trial, like the 2010 semblance of a fair presidential election, during which Ingabire was placed under house arrest and prevented from running against him. After the election and release of the UN Mapping Report documenting Kagame's crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she was finally incarcerated in Kigali's 1930 maximum security prison.

The court is expected to respond to the prosecutors' requests on Wednesday, April 18th.

The Rwanda News Agency has shown real courage by producing the report below, considering Kagame's war on journalists. Most other reports available thus far are variants of an Associated Press wire written by Edmund Kagire, one of the most shrill scribes at Rwanda's The New Times, which republishes with a "Government Supporting Daily" subhead.

Ingabire Victoire decides to stop her defence

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Ingabire here appearing for the start of her controversial trial back in mid 2010.
She has decided to suspend her defense in protest.

Kigali: Opposition politician Victoire Ingabire told the High Court on Monday that she is halting her defence arguing she has lost hope of getting a fair trial, RNA reports.

Facing several charges including terrorism, genocide ideology and forming a criminal enterprise, Ingabire said prosecution has been intimidating her witnesses, which she notified the court, but was ignored.

Appearing Monday morning for the continuation of submissions on the charge of terrorism and forming criminal group intent on armed rebellion, Ingabire said she would no longer talk in court. This essentially means she will not even come to court.

Ingabire made reference to a defence witness, ex- FDLR spokesman Lt Col Habimana Michel alias Edmond Ngarambe, who stunned court last week when he denied Ingabire had ever been in contact with FDLR rebels. He also dismissed a top prosecution witness as having been never among senior FDLR rebels.

Reports say after the surprise announcement, prosecution and judge seemed to have been taken off guard. In response, the lead prosecutor Bonavanture Ruberwa, said they were ready to continue the case with or without Ingabire’s participation. Prosecution said Ingabire will be dragged to court for every hearing.

Court said it will rule on Ingabire’s decision on Wednesday April 18 at 11am.

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