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.

Post by:
Filed under: World
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Leeng

    How about calling a spade juat that?
    you people should wake up or at least stop pretendng to be asleep.

    Lots of Tutsi poeple got killed in 1994 and lots of Hutu people got killed from 1994 to date. So what's the big deal here? Those who killed tusis should be punished. and how about those who killed or are still killing Hutus?

    what sucks also is that the current Rwandese gvmt has the west blinded by the labels they smack on anyone who challenges their actions. Genocidaire, Terrorist helper (which terror by the way), those who "disturb peace and stability, and the list goes on. What goes round comes round and the sooner they realise that real peace cannot be achieved by intimidation,manipulation and fabriated accusations. There has to be a voice that represents what the Rwandese population wants. That, ladies and gentlemen is democracy. I wonder what Michael Jean, the Canadian Governer General will have to say about what is going on now in Rwanda?!!
    And by the way if you have lived in Rwanda, I challenge you to challenge me, because you at least may have anidea of what I'm talking about, not just stuff harvested from the media!

    April 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Poshie

    No one is surprised that Kagame ordered the arrest of Victoire. He is a hateful vampire who feeds on the blood of hutus he has killed since 1990. We can only pray that this act will wake up the world, so everyone can see who he really is, he has lied since day one. He is probably the only President who was a high ranking officer in another country's government (Uganda). He was sent to Military Training at Ft Leavenworth in the early 90s by Museveni, failed to complete the required programs at the school, ended up being KICKED OUT and in turn became the head of a completely different state (Rwanda). He has managed to lie to the entire world about the so called non-existent genocide, which was really a civil war that he started in the first place. The arrest of Victoire is an act of a very desperate man, who sees his time coming to an end and there's not a damn thing he can do about it. He's arresting high ranking military officers left and right as they're trying to flee the country. He's bent on hunting down the ones that did get away. He is the furtherest thing from a democratic leader and we all need to denounce his actions. Otherwise, we risk turning a blind eye to another civil war he will start in order to remain in power, which is his main objective. When we look back 50 years from now, he will surpass Hitler, Al-Bashir, Idi Amin & Hussein all combined to be one of the worst authoritarian of all time. All the more reasons to STOP him now before he claims more innocent lives!

    April 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Champ

    Paul Kagame said that he is not bothered by being called Hitler. He also said that he those who flee the country are "excrements". He also said that he will squash mosquitoes with a hammer. He admitted just last week that he shot refugees. This was all in his own words. The file with translation will be on youtube soon. Paul Kagame continues to show his colors and his supporters both internal and external continue to follow blindly. He accuses the lady of having a genocidaire assistant while in his own government, the minister of defense for the better part of the last decade is the same general Marcel Gatsinzi who was in charge (the chief of staff) of the EX-FAR during the Rwandan genocide. Talk about genocide ideology.

    So ridiculous is the Rwandan government's claim in the charges against Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, they also levied the exact same charges against Deo Mushayidi a Tutsi genocide survivor who lost his whole family in 1994. He also stands accused of "Genocide Ideology and divisionism"...lol..What does Mushayidi have in common with Ingabire? You guessed it: they are both opponents of Kagame's government. Their arrests are simply for being political opponents. But then again, what do we expect? Kagame is responsible for the the death of over 3 million children under the age of five in Congo. He is the mastermind of 6 000 000 deaths in the Congo.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Key Joyner

    I have been following what's going in Rwanda since its 1994 tragedy. So far I was so amazed by report indicating how Rwanda has risen from the ash, and built a strong democratic system and reconciled the long time bloody antagonists of Hutu and Tutsi ethnics. Some report point out that relationship between people has risen at a point that no one even remember his/her ethnic group. They even praise the many who have confessed their crimes and those many who have forgiven.
    Could the only remaining divisive factor be the regular official speeches that emphasize genocide of Tutsi, as to undermine other victims of such attrocities?
    Reports indicate that Rwanda has made stride in economic progress and improvement of living conditions of all Rwandans.
    But when I heard that they are harassing and persecuting a mother and using fabricated stories to accuse her of trying to compromise progress achieved under president Kagame leadership, as a way of preventing her from running against Kagame, one would question the validity of all those reports. If they really purport the truth, how would President Kagame be afraid of Victoire Ingabire who did not even lived in Rwanda for all those years? If the claimed achievement is real, no one would be able to challenge Kagame in Rwanda. Why is he imprisoning his only potential challenger for this coming August elections?

    April 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aimable

    Ingabire is our Mandela. And just like the real Mandela, she shall overcome General Kagame's Apartheid.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. J.B.MWENGE

    No,it is terrifyig to hear that Ingabire,the modal of EAST AFRICAN women is now in custody because of democracy.Shame on Kagame to arrest her.It is very disturbing when you hear the killings of tutsis was a genocide and the killigs of hutus was a masacre.As it is understood the two tribes live in the same country,they speak same language and share same culture values.Nowthen using quire terminologies on what happened sixteen years back may lead to unnecessary annihilation of relationship among brothers.The world should cometogether to make one RWANDA not to agravate hatrages.General Kagame democracy is painful when you lose and enjoyable when you win,don't you have confidance to compete?then why keep woman in jail! or do you follow the steps of your comrade KAGUTA who brought shame to east africa?Please free Ingabire from prosecution.

    April 23, 2010 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Key Joyner

    Kagame is a good guy, a miracle worker, who had reconstituted Rwanda from ash. He is very democratic and promote human understanding. There is no way he would fear Victoire Ingabire.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pete

    This shows how terrified Kagame is of true democracy and freedom. It also shows reports about him being progressive are lies. Why would he be so affraid of competing with this woman and all opposition. That's because he knows the majority of Rwandans do not want him and that he would lose to any opponent if he didn't rig the election like he did in 2003. The only people who think he is doing well are foreigners and his small clique in Rwanda. If Rwandans are given a choice, he would LOSE.

    April 23, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. David

    I just want to ask the foreign counties who does give President of rwanda Paul Kagame microphone to stop, this man is a killer He does not respect the humanu rights is a shame to see Kagame having a chance to lie and talk in the most world cable Tv like CNN.

    This man his behaviour is like street kids look and listen to his speech in rwanda parliament, calling rwandese citizeship « shit». Mr President u talk in kinyarwanda but u have to know that the radio record is on how many peaple are in jail for their comments they did?,how many innocent peaple did u kill in Rwanda even in the neighbour countries like Congo etc.get off killing innocent people

    April 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tony

    African leaders will never change this has been one of the major problems in africa ,the leaders wants to stay in power for ever ,kigami should and give room for other people ,after spending many years what new thing does he has to give and leave the woman alone .

    April 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mwangi

    If somebody brings around the memories of the 1994 genocide, they have no place in the current day Rwanda.

    There is a constitution banning people from publicly taking about anything that would incite violence, one of which is the 1994 genocide re-talks.

    Hopefully, she will learn a lesson.

    April 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Twagira

    Sonner or later the truth will come out. Kagame should have gone way before Saddam Hussen because if I compare them, Saddam is an angel (do not get me wrong I know how bad Saddam was, but this is one way to let you imagine how bad Kagame is if Saddam would be called "angel")

    April 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TIMTIM

    The wind of change is blowing in Rwanda. Genocide and crime against humanity that brought Kagame on power are 16 years old. The Rwandan people have moved on. Only Mr. Kagame is still thinking genocide and using it to justify his grip on power. Now that Rwandans have been given a choice in Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, let our people go Kagame! Either review the constitution and ban multipartism or keep it as is and allow every Rwandan eager to make a contribution to our country's history to do so. Don't keep double guessing what opposition politicians want to do. They are all adults vaccinated and very responsible. So the choice is yours.

    Concerned Rwandan citizen

    April 25, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. thomas karava

    Please might God protect Ingabire she is really hero, she does not have blood on her hands unlike Kagame who killed at least 5.4 million of Congolese; Kagame is busy taking minerals of Congo. where is justice in the world ?

    Thanks !

    April 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Linda T.

    I think that it is so sad about the things that are happene today.If only we of all race could live in peace with one another.But we are living in the last days and you can see by things that are going on now.There is nothing no one can do it will be this way until Christ return and judge those that are here.I pray for those that are suffering and the little children who can't understand why these things happene.May God have mercie on yors souls.

    April 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3