Rwanda to appear at Ingabire court case in Arusha

Monday January 16 2017

PHOTO | STEPHANIE AGLIETTI | FILE Rwanda's jailed opposition figure, Victoire Ingabire [R] leaves the Supreme court on October 18, 2012 in the capital Kigali.

Rwanda's jailed opposition figure, Victoire Ingabire [R] leaves the Supreme court on October 18, 2012 in the capital Kigali. FILE AFP

By The EastAfrican Team

The African Court of Human and People’s Rights is set to hear cases involving Rwanda despite the country’s plans to withdraw from the court.

In March, the government of Rwanda will appear before the court in a case filed by jailed opposition politician Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire over alleged violation of her political and human rights.

“The Ingabire matter has been fixed for public hearing on March 17, 2017,” said Dr Robert Eno, the registrar of the court.

Ms Ingabire, the head of the unregistered political group the United Democratic Forces FDU-Inkingi, took Rwanda to the continental court claiming that her fundamental rights were violated in the course of her trial and subsequent sentencing.

Through her lawyer’s conclusion, Ingabire asked the court to quash the decision of the Rwandan Supreme Court that sentenced her to 15 years in prison and to order her release on parole.

They also requested the court to repeal “with retroactive effect” provisions of the Rwandan penal code relating to the punishment of the crimes of propagating the ideology of genocide, which she criticised as being vague.

“We would like the African Court to acknowledge that Ms Ingabire did not receive a fair trial in Rwanda,” Dr Caroline Buisman, one of the lawyers representing Ingabire, told The EastAfrican.

The Dutch lawyer who last May was asked to leave Rwanda by immigration officials, says pre-hearing preparation is going well though she had not “personally met Ingabire.”

“After my unsuccessful attempts to see her in May 2016, I did not try again to obtain a visa to enter Rwanda.