April 22nd, 2010
01:36 AM ET

Rwandan opposition leader arrested, '94 genocide cited

A Rwandan court will decide Thursday whether to grant bail to a presidential hopeful arrested on charges that include collaborating with a terrorist organization and "genocide ideology," referring to mass killings of hundreds of thousands in 1994.

Victoire Ingabire is a likely challenger to President Paul Kagame in the August elections. Her arrest Wednesday was followed by an appearance in a Kigali court, according to a statement from the prosecution.

"The court will decide on Thursday whether she remains in preventive custody as requested by the prosecution or is granted bail awaiting substantive trial," the prosecution said.

Prosecution officials said she faces charges of genocide ideology, ethnic division and collaborating with a terrorist group.

Ingabire, the leader of the opposition United Democratic Forces party, was in exile in the Netherlands until January.

"Her involvement in politics does not mean that she is above the law," the prosecution said in a statement.

Opposition party members are facing increasing threats, attacks and harassment ahead of the elections, according to rights groups. Ingabire has said she's been harassed since her return.

"The Rwandan government already tightly controls political space," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "These incidents will further undermine democracy by discouraging any meaningful opposition in the elections."

Kagame has denied that he's trying to silence the opposition. In an interview with CNN earlier this year, he slammed human rights organizations for their assessment.

"You tend to make a judgment of a country, 11 million people, on what a couple of people have said and (they) don't take into account what Rwandans say," he said. "Nobody has asked the Rwandans ... it's as if they don't matter in the eyes of the human rights people. It's our own decisions in the end."

Rwanda is scheduled to hold national elections in August, sparking fears of ethnic division. In 1994, militias made up of ethnic Hutus slaughtered ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus nationwide in a 100-day rampage that killed at least 800,000 people.

The genocide ended when Tutsi-led militias backing Kagame ousted the Hutu government supporting the massacre.

Ingabire is an ethnic Hutu. Her party decried her arrest as illegal and urged officials to release her.

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soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Kitatire

    This lady came to a salvation of hundrends of thousand!we want democratic election!viva Ingabire victoire'tuli kumwe'

    April 22, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    mr kagame don't take Africa back to them dark times. Please u have done u're time well and we respect u for that. Now is time to go don't use them ways of cousing trable to stay in power! Time has change we all know. let Rwandis choose and don't take the person the want to choose away!!!!

    April 22, 2010 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gabriel

    Rwanda should solve this dispute and stop killing innocent people.

    April 22, 2010 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Johachim Jaja

    No body is suprised at all at how events are unfolding in Rwanda. The only way a minority can stay in power is to clober opposition into silence. It is that simple!

    April 22, 2010 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. francine

    kagame keeps a serious hatered in his heart.the arrest of this heroine ingabire is only ordered by kagame himself because he,s determined to exterminated all educated and politicians from the ethny hutu.this is the advice of some of his right men like tite Rutaremara,kabarebe,...the have decided to silence the voice of a hutu!it,s a shame

    April 22, 2010 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. FBL

    I have heard some of Victoire public speeches and I have wondered why someone in todays Rwanda would use such language and reference, when everyone else is talking about moving on so that the wounds can heal. I cant help to feel that there are some external forces that are encouraging her choice of direction. I think gov of Rwanda and the countries in the region should lookout for this external influence because the whole region is affected.

    April 22, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Omojola ademola

    Why should she be arrested.all because she's a strong opposition.

    April 22, 2010 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. yacob

    You Mr. Kagame this is what you learnt from your hero the Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi.you both try to use the past as a shield for your current injustice. As gorilla fighters you did your home works and your people thank you for that. You are always puffing about your story 20 yrs.back and tell us that you are better than the past. But, don't forget that 0 is greater than -1 but, 0 is always 0 unless you add atleast 1 on it. Ya, you better chose another hero than the one who is spitted by his people but pretends as progressive for the outsiders.

    April 22, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Uko mbibona

    Ingabire Victoire, is a respecful lady and she needs to respect herself and if she really wishes her country to progress, she has to look forward but not backward and most of all, she should not bring the ideology that was used by Politicians in Rwanda 16years ago. This kind of politics lead this small country to a genocide of more than 1M tutsi and massacres of a lot of Hutu. Everyone should differentiate Genocide and Massacre but not confuse the two.

    How can she believe that she will be voted when she is still 16years back? Today's Rwanda need a leader that will promiss and make a Rwanda with a brighter future. Rwandans (Hutus, Tutsis, Twas) are still wounded about what happened in 1994 and want to focus on unity and development rather than losing time thinking too much on the genocide that can only sadden them.

    True, Kagame might not be the best leader but he is the only one (for the moment) who understand what Rwanda and rwandans need and has made all effort to put Rwanda where she is ranked today. I think, he needs to be praised for what he did and if there are some wrongs then he should also be asked how and why and pay the cost,

    Again, the whole region needs someone like Kagame or better than him but strictly not people like Ingabire who want to create division instead of encouraging development and a brighter Future.

    April 22, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jony Jess

    rwandans have found their MANDELA, so stand behind her;
    she was not afraid to go to kigali, she was not afraid to talk directly to general Kagame, she dicided to abandon her nice job in Europe, all this to stand for democracy and freedom.
    the time for Fear and Silence has to end.
    stand up for a peaceful struggle to freedom.
    While she is in Jail, don`t disappoint her, continue her cause, just like south Africans did it for MANDELA while he was in Jail for 27 years.!!!

    April 22, 2010 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Alain Kamanzi

    Ofcourse that there are exterrnal people behind Ingabire . We will not allow this to happen. Rwandans are the only ones to choose what feet them, not human right watch or whoever. By the way, where was the so called human right watch and all people against kagame today, when tutsis were being genocided? whyHRW didn't use its influence to stop the genocide commited by ingabire's allies?

    Shame on you!

    April 22, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. John oriarion

    She is stained with the blood of 800,000 women and children. I see her as the sister of aldoph hitler

    April 22, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joseph R.Tettey

    The problem is why decide to arrest a politician when elections are to be held.These shameful acts are too frequent in Africa.Why do people like Kagame and Africa politicians use security forces to intimidate and massacre their people.You treat your people like animals and l doubt if you really have those poor countries at heart.You rather release the lady and let her carry on with her life Mr.Kagame and stop that barbaric jungle life.YOU remind the world of that shameful Museveni of Uganda the home of ldi Amin.

    April 22, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gicari Dunia

    16 after genocide happened, there are people who as of today want to bring back the somber days of 1994. First of all, Ingabire's deputy was arrested on genocidal charges upon his return. The very INgabibire stood up and defended him that he SW innocent that genocide took place when the accused was not in Rwanda. Later on, it was found out the man was really in Rwanda and accusations were true. Himself recognized his role and sought pardon while being tried. Now, when Ingabire became aware she was being discovered, she said her deputy was being used by the government. How come did she come to hate the man she was defending? Now a word to Kagame's opposers-GENOCIDAIRES: Guys, it is not the West that will bring you back to Rwanda. Most of you were relying to FDLR thinking it would win the war all of you began. Now, when you were defeated militarily, and loosing everything at battlefield, you opted lobbying and mistaking political fight by doing what you are doing today. Even a child does know that those prople we were fihting yesterday in Ruhengeri, DRC are the same people back with their forefront horse as Ingabire. You will be defeated again! You are warned.
    Foreiners gave you asylum only but would not bring you back to power.

    April 22, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Karim le Rwandais

    Mrs. Victoire Ingabire is a 41-year-old mother of three. She had a very good job in the Netherlands, where she had been studying during the 1994 genocide. In 2009, she resigned to return to Rwanda and participate in the presidential election this August 2010. She was back in Rwanda on Jan. 17, 2010, after 16 years in exile. She was recognized by all as the main leader of the Rwandan non-violent political opposition.

    After three months of fabricating evidence, today the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) Rwandan government arrested her. The current Rwandan government’s abuse of prisoners has been documented by many human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Mrs. Ingabire is currently at risk of torture or even death while incarcerated.

    Today is a very sad day for Rwanda because the current Rwandan government is sending a message that if you participate peacefully in the country’s political process, there is a price to pay. If the government thinks that the people may vote for you, you will be jailed. This disrespect for human rights and democracy is exactly what caused the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

    Victoire Ingabire , we stand behind you as our Mandela and may God bless her.

    Karim le Rwandais

    April 22, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
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