Court orders Rwanda govt to pay Ingabire Sh172m

Monday December 17 2018


By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3

Arusha. Rwanda government has been ordered to pay the recently released opposition leader Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire a total of 65 million Rwandese francs (equivalent to Sh171.6 million) for the moral and material prejudice she suffered in jail.

Some 10m francs will be for the entire material damages she suffered and 55m francs as compensation for the moral prejudice she, her husband and her children suffered.

The African Court of Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) in its ruling last week ordered the respondent government to pay all the amounts within six months.

“Failure to settle the amount, the government of Rwanda will be required to pay interest on arrears calculated on the basis of the applicable rate set by the central bank,” Justice Sylvain Ore said in the judgment following an application she filed before the Court.

In her earlier appeal, Ms Ingabire appealed to the continental court for Rwanda to annul her 15 years imprisonment sentence by the Supreme Court of Rwanda on December 13th, 2013.

She had also wanted Rwanda to reimburse her $200,000 for the material prejudice suffered and $100,000 for the moral prejudice suffered by her and her close family members.

Although the respondent state (Rwanda) received all the notifications on the case and subsequent court decisions since the November 24th, 2017 judgement, it did not respond to any of them.

On November 23rd, 2018, Ms Ingabire (the applicant) informed the court that she had been set free and has left prison. That followed an amnesty by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

The opposition politician was earlier (October 30 th, 2012) sentenced by the High Court of Rwanda sentenced to eight years imprisonment for the same charges which included her alleged denial of genocide against the Tutsis in 1994.

Ms Ingabire, the Chair of UDF-Inkingi political party who returned to her country in 2010 from exile to vie for presidency, during that year’s presidential elections in her country.

She filed an appeal appeal before the African Court, contending that her fundamental rights as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights have been violated and sought a remedy from the Court.

Rwanda government was not represented at the hearing of the case because Kigali has challenged the independence and impartiality of the African Court.

Rwanda, which last year withdrew its signature on the legal instrument which allowed individuals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to file a case before it.

In her defence, Ms Ingabire claimed she has not denied the genocide against the Tutsis but once remarked that the Hutus also perished and deserved a memorial site.