Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rwanda: General Marcel Gatsinzi does not condemn the killers of Mulindi killings

Army regrets Mulindi killings

By James Munyaneza & Patrick Bigabo
Monday, 06 February 2006

Defence minister General Marcel Gatsinzi (pictured) has described as regrettable circumstances under which at least three jailed Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) soldiers were shot dead by the military at Mulindi Military Prison during the last festive season.

Gen. Gatsinzi told The New Times in an exclusive interview from his office in Kimihurura that the incident was unprecedented and said the army had launched investigations to establish the exact cause of the killings.He said according to the information he received from the Chief of General Staff Gen. James Kabarebe, the deceased were shot by military police personnel as the inmates attempted to demonstrate. In a scuffle which ensued, eight more prisoners sustained injuries and were hospitalised at Kanombe Military Hospital.However, Gen.Gatsinzi did not condemn the killers, and though he said he was still waiting for the findings of the inquiry by the army prosecution department, he said the military police soldiers had been caught up in a messy situation. “It’s of course regrettable. In the first place, it was illegal for soldiers to demonstrate, leave alone their attempt to disarm the military police; even civilians are not allowed to strike without an authorisation. Imagine the carnage that would have resulted in case they succeeded in removing arms from the military police.” He said the military police personnel had been dispatched to the prison to restore peace after the inmates increasingly threatened to cause havoc. “They were fond of writing letters and passing them under the doors threatening to stage a violent demostration.”The incident followed the incarcerated soldiers’ demand to meet Gen. Kabarebe and justice minister Edda Mukabagwiza to express their grievances. Some of their complaints were that army prisoners had been kept at bay in regard to the January 1, 2003 Presidential Decree that gave provisional liberty to thousands of prisoners. And that the military prosecution department was delaying investigations into their alleged crimes. The military prisoners also complained of harsh conditions inside the prison, a charge General Gatsinzi denied saying that detained Rwandan soldiers enjoy the best treatment over civilian inmates and other incarcerated soldiers in the region.He however refused to reveal the identities of the dead, only saying that some had been convicted of serious criminal cases. “Some were on death row, and I believe it is these few with notorious criminal records that were inciting the rest.”In an earlier interview, Army Chief of Infantry Staff Lt. Gen Charles Kayonga was noncommittal.“We have given our views to those concerned with investigating the killings. We don’t think it is necessary now to pass information to the press or media,” Kayonga stated briefly in a telephone interview with The New Times. He said among the recipients of their report on the killing was the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Rights body tight-lipped Though the NHRC carried out its own investigations into the killings, the rights organ officials refused to discuss the matter with the press. Laurent Nkongori, who led the commission investigators, referred The New Times to the NHRC vice president and spokesman, Deogratius Kayumba. Kayumba confirmed that the commission had already compiled a preliminary report on ‘criminal findings’ but he too refused to give details, saying they would report their findings through their annual reports to parliament. This means that the findings and the commission’s subsequent recommendations on the incident would most likely be made public earliest in January 2007, given the time the commission usually takes to release its reports.Currently, the commission’s latest report is that of 2004, and it is still busy preparing that of 2005. It was impossible to talk to the commission president Zainab Kayitesi, as she was reported to be in a meeting when The New Times rang her cellular phone. A promise by the person who answered the phone that the NHRC boss would call back was not fulfilled.However, a commissioner of NHRC who preferred anonymity described as ‘unnecessary’ the army’s use of guns to quash the alleged demonstration that resulted into ‘unnecessary deaths.’ He said the incident constituted yet another major human rights concern in six months within the national security organs, in addition to last year’s four-month illegal police detention of eight police officers in defiance of a court verdict.Senators on Thursday expressed concern about the Mulindi killings and demanded an explanation from ministers Christophe Bazivamo of Internal Security and Edda Mukabagwiza of Ministry of Justice. They were told that minister Gatsinzi was better placed to respond. The ministers, who were appearing before the Upper House over security and judicial matters, said they had no explanation on the issue.Meanwhile, the Military High Court president, Maj. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, said he was aware of the incident but that there was no case yet filed in relation to the murders. “The court has not received any case concerning the killings. Therefore I have no comment as of now,” Nyamvumba said “I would be biased to commit myself on the matter (of killings). Professionally I have to listen to both sides before I can make an objective comment.”A top police source said under the competence of the military justice, the action against the soldiers at Mulindi was ‘justifiable’.

Army regrets Mulindi killings

Defence minister General Marcel Gatsinzi (pictured) has described as regrettable circumstances under which at least three jailed Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) soldiers were shot dead by the military at Mulindi Military Prison during the last festive season.
Something's rotten in the kingdom of Gihanga.

"Les nations, disait Mao Zedong, pourrissent comme les poissons, par la tête".

Abatabizi bicwa no kutabimenya.

Abasenateri Ntibishimiye Ibisobanuro bya Minisitiri w'Umutekano
Jeanne D'Arc Umwana Kigali03/02/2006

Inteko ishinga amategeko, umutwe wa Sena, muri gahunda yo kugenzura imikorere ya guverinoma, kuri uyu wa kane tariki ya 2 Gashyantare 2006 yahamagaje Minisitiri w’Umutekano, Bazivamo Christophe, gutanga ibisobanuro ku bijyanye n’iraswa ry’imfungwa za gisirikari zo ku Mulindi, ndetse no kuri gereza bavuga ko ziba mu gihugu zikora mu buryo butazwi.

Abagize umutwe wa Sena ntibumva ukuntu raporo z’imiryango mpuzamahanga zihora zitunga agatoki u Rwanda zivuga ko mu Rwanda hari gereza zifunga abantu ziba ahantu hatazwi, mu buryo butazwi, kandi butubahiriza uburenganzira bw’ikiremwa cya muntu.

Ku bijyanjye n’iraswa ry’imfungwa za gisirikare zo ku Mulindi ryabaye tariki ya 21 Ukuboza 2005 bazira gukora imyigaragambyo mu buryo butemewe n’amategeko, Minisitiri Bazivamo yavuze ko nta cyo abiziho, ko byabazwa Minisitiri w’Ingabo.

Gereza na zo imiryango mpuzamahanga ivuga ko ziba mu gihugu mu buryo butazwi, Bazivamo yatangarije aba Senateri ko izo gereza ntazibaho.

Inteko Ishinga Amategeko, umutwe wa Sena, ntiyanyuzwe n’ibisobanuro Minisitiri w’Umutekano mu gihugu yabahaye , akaba azongera gutumizwa gutanga ibindi.

Gutumiza Minisitiri kwisobanura mu Nteko, yaba mu mutwe w’Abadepite cyangwa wa Sena, biri mu nshingano z’inteko ishinga amategeko ku bijyanye no kugenzura imikorere ya guverinoma.
Andi Makuru


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