woensdag 19 oktober 2011

Het proces tegen Ingabire volgens de krant – deel 3

Het is een beetje vreemd gesteld met The New Times. Tot en met 5 oktober is er elke procesdag een bericht in de krant over deze zaak. Maar dan stopt het opeens. Is er vanaf 6 oktober niets zinnigs meer te vertellen? Is de verslaggever ziek geworden? Of zou het zo zijn dat er vanaf die tijd geen koppen meer te maken zijn met een beetje negatieve inslag over Ingabire. Het is wel duidelijk waar de krant staat in deze zaak.

Over de gebeurtenissen op donderdag 13 oktober weten ze gelukkig nog wel een bericht te maken. De High Court heeft besloten dat alle bezwaren van de verdediging ongegrond zijn. Onder andere wordt als uitleg gegeven dat een Rwandees die een misdaad heeft begaan in een ander land veroordeeld kan worden in Rwanda als dat ook een overtreding is in dat desbetreffende land. Dit andere land is in dit geval Nederland en er staat dat alle zaken waarvan Ingabire wordt beschuldigd ook strafbaar zijn in Nederland. Ik vraag me af of dat werkelijk ook het geval is. Vooral de vergrijpen 'genocide ideology' en 'divisionism' lijken mij geen strafbare feiten in Nederland. Een Nederlandse jurist zou dit misschien kunnen duiden.

Ingabire to begin her defense next week
By Charles Kwizera

KIGALI - Victoire Ingabire will, next week, begin her defense in the High Court, to answer six counts leveled against her
The charges are, forming an armed group with the aim of destabilising the country, complicity to acts of terrorism, Conspiracy against the government by use of war and terrorism, inciting the masses to revolt against the government, genocide ideology and provoking divisionism.
Ingabire’s counsel is composed of Ian Edwards, a British lawyer and Gatera Gashabana.
Last week, court heard from Ingabire’s four co-accused, who all pleaded guilty and incriminated her.
The four former members of the FDLR militia, acknowledged having formed an armed group with the influence of Ingabire.They alleged to have received money from the FDU-Inkingi leader to buy arms to be used for terrorist activities.
During his defense hearing, one of the co-accused, Maj. Vital Uwumuremyi, yesterday,  presented to court e-mails that he allegedly exchanged with Ingabire between 2007 up to when she returned to Rwanda early last year.
He explained every e-mail exchange, explaining to the judges what the contents of the mails meant as most of them were in coded language.
Uwumuremyi also explained the various Western Union money transfer forms and gave the details of how he used the money that was sent to him.
Being a political commissar of his battalion, Uwumuremyi was instrumental in persuading his commander, Lt. Colonel Tharcisse Nditurende, to form Coalition des Forces Democratique΄(CDF) which was a breakaway faction of  FDLR rebel outfit.
This trial has been going on for three weeks.

Ingabire trial postponed to next week
By Charles Kwizera

KIGALI - The trial of Victoire Ingabire and her four co-accused, was yesterday adjourned to October 4 after her defence counsel argued that there are some charges that the High Court has no jurisdiction over.
The trial was entering the fourth consecutive week.
Addressing High Court panel of judges, Ian Edwards who is among Ingabire’s counsel, told court that they had objections to make before the trial proceeds.
“We have two major objections we want to make so that you pronounce yourselves on them before our client’s defence proceeds,” Edwards said.
He explained that almost all the charges against Ingabire, including the terrorism and genocide ideology charges, were allegedly committed outside Rwanda and therefore the High Court has no territorial jurisdiction over her.
“Based on this, we find that our client is not supposed to submit herself to this court or answer any charges before this court because the alleged crimes were not committed on Rwandan territory,” he said.
Another objection, according to Ingabire’s lawyer, is that the charges preferred against her, especially the terrorism charge and the Genocide ideology, were committed before the laws punishing them had been published in the official gazette.
“All the evidence shown by prosecution dates from 2006 up to when Ingabire was arrested, and yet the laws on counter-terrorism and genocide ideology were published in 2008 and 2009, respectively,” explained Edwards.
But the prosecution did not take it lightly.
“Your honour, it is unfortunate that our counterparts can do such a thing and at the same time request for a quick trial. They never submitted their objections before this day, and yet they had our submissions for close to ten months now,” said prosecutor Alphonse Hitiyaremye.
“Following the irresponsible actions of the defence, we request that we be given enough time to examine the document and research since there are many articles that have been quoted”.
Prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa reiterated that most of the objections were invalid saying the defence opted for the objections as tactics to delay the trial.The trial is expected to resume on Tuesday next week.

Ingabire case: Prosecution slams defence claims on jurisdiction
By Charles Kwizera

Victoire Ingabire in court yesterday. The NewTimes \Timothy Kisambira
After a one week break, the trial involving Victoire Ingabire and her four co-accused resumed in the High Court yesterday.
The trial was adjourned after Ingabire’s defence team raised concerns of lack of jurisdiction by the High Court to try some charges against Ingabire and issues of non-retroactivity of the law.
“After our comprehensive analysis of the objections, we find them baseless both legally and in the principles governing criminal procedures,” prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa said.
He criticised the defence for bringing up the objections in the course of the trial instead of doing so at the beginning.
Ingabire’s lawyers had argued that almost all the charges against Ingabire including the terrorism and genocide ideology charges were committed outside Rwanda and therefore, High Court had no territorial jurisdiction to try her.
They also said that charges preferred against Ingabire by prosecution especially the terrorism charge and the genocide ideology were committed before the laws punishing the same had been published in the official gazette.
The laws were published in 2009 and 2008 respectively, which if adhered to, defence claimed, would be retroactive, which is legally unaccepted.
“We think that the defence came up with these objections as a strategy to avoid facing the truth and avoiding going into the substance of the case,” the prosecutor stated.
According to prosecution, defence did not put into account that the 2008 law punishing the Genocide ideology came in as a compliment to the 2003 law on genocide denial and crimes against humanity, especially its fourth article.
“By saying that the law came into being in 2008, the defence wants to insinuate that Rwanda did not have a law on Genocide before which is not right,” said Ruberwa.
He provided court with two accounts of the cases on genocide denial that were tried by the Supreme Court on offences that were committed in 2006.
On the charge of complicity in the acts of terrorism, prosecution noted that the defendant went on to interact with the terrorist group working as their boss even after the publication of the law criminalising the same in 2009.
On claims of lack of jurisdiction by High Court to try Ingabire on offences committed outside Rwanda, prosecution articulated that Article ten of the Penal Code stipulates that if an offence is committed outside Rwanda and the country in which it is committed punishes the offence, the Rwandan courts have the competence to try such an offender.
“In this case, we, as well as the defence know that Holland which is the country where Ingabire committed the acts of divisionism criminalises it.”
Prosecution also singled out some international laws that provide exceptions on some offenses committed outside a country with the aim of harming it.
The hearing continues today, when court is most likely to make a ruling on the objection.
The objections cropped up when Ingabire was supposed to begin defending herself on the accusations preferred against her following the presentation of defence by her co-accused who include Lt. Colonels Tharcisse Nditurende and Noel Habiyaremye, Major Vital Uwumuremyi and Capt. Jean Marie Vianney Karuta.

Ingabire asks Court to leave out pieces of evidence
By Charles Kwizera

Victoire Ingabire in court; She wants pieces of evidence left out during the trial. The New Times\ File phot
As the trial of the president of the unregistered FDU-Inkingi party Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire takes root, the defendant has requested the High Court to remove some of the evidence in the file.
Ingabire made the plea yesterday during a hearing of her defence’s claims of lack of territorial jurisdiction by the court to try some charges against her and on issues of non-retroactivity of the law.
After the response from prosecution on the objections that Ingabire’s defence raised last week, the presiding Judge Alice Rulisa gave Ingabire the floor.
Ingabire affirmed her defence’s demand that court remove two of the three pieces of evidence used against her on the charge of Genocide ideology and divisionism. The evidences in question are declarations that were made by Ingabire in July and October 2000.
According to prosecution, they contain ideas of genocide denial and divisionism as well as sectarianism.
“I want them removed from the file because they were published way back before the 2008 law against it was published,” said Ingabire, speaking about the non-retroactivity of the law. She observed that she is only be obliged to explain the 2010 declarations she made upon her arrival in Rwanda.
“I wrote the declarations myself and I can defend them. But what I want is to see the law being respected,” she said.
“The law was put in place to be obeyed and not to be violated by prosecution,” she reiterated.
The prosecution, in their previous explanations, said that they had included the documents to show Ingabire’s involvement in the politics of genocide negation and divisionism, but would use the latest evidence to charge her.
“Your honour, such evidence will help you to understand the background and the person of Ingabire as far as her genocide denial activities are concerned,” said prosecuting attorney Bonaventure Ruberwa on Tuesday.
At this point, Ingabire requested that prosecution makes a clear distinction between the documents to be used as evidence against her and those aimed at helping the judge understand her.
The trial, which involves Ingabire and her four co-accused has been ongoing for the last one month. The four are Lt. Colonels Tharcisse Nditurende and Noel Habiyaremye, Major Vital Uwumuremyi and Capt. Jean Marie Vianney Karuta.
The hearing continues today.

High court qualified to try Ingabire - Judge Rutazana
By Charles Kwizera

Following weeks of a pre-trial hearing involving Victoire Ingabire and her co-accused,Judge Angelique Rutazana  has ruled that the High Court is qualified to go ahead with the case, dismissing the objections raised by the defence counsel as ‘baseless’.
The trial,took a different direction on September 26, when the defence objected the  territorial jurisdiction of the high court and the principle of non-retroactivity of the law.
Ingabire is facing terrorism charges with the prosecution alleging that she was working with senior FDLR militiamen to form a military wing known as Coalition of Defence Forces (CDF) aimed at destabilising Rwanda.
She is also accused of promoting ethnic divisions, propagating the genocide ideology and trivialising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The defense team also demanded that charges of complicity to terrorism acts and formation of an armed group be dropped alleging that she was never notified of the charges during her preliminary interrogations.
“After examining the objections and hearing from both sides, the high court finds the objections baseless. This court declares itself competent to try Ingabire,” declared Judge Angelique Rutazana yesterday morning.
On the issue of territorial jurisdiction, Rutazana said that court found that article 90 of the organic law relating to the competence of Rwandan courts, gives the high court competence to try any one regardless of nationality and the country where she committed the crimes as long as they (crimes) are against humanity.
The Judge went on to say that article 13 of the penal code also gives the high court the competence to try a Rwandan or foreigner who has committed a felony or misdemeanor committed in Rwanda or outside Rwanda as if it was committed in Rwanda.
Article ten of the same code also allows Rwandan courts to prosecute any Rwandan who commits a misdemeanor in another country, if that country punishes the crime.
Holland, where Ingabire allegedly committed the crimes punishes them.
On the objection concerning non-retroactivity of the law, the court found that the request by the defence to remove from the file evidence on genocide ideology and terrorism cannot be granted due to the stage at which the case he reached.
Ingabire had initially requested that evidence that dates back before 2008 and 2009 when the laws on genocide ideology and terrorism were published be deleted from the file.
After reading the verdict, Justice Alice Rulisa announced that the case would continue from where it had stopped, prior to the raising of the objections.
Ingabire took to the floor and began her defence. She, however, presented her profile as requested by the judge for most of the afternoon.

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