There were several reports the government attempted to commit arbitrary or unlawful killings within the country and abroad. The government typically investigated SSF killings within the country and prosecuted perpetrators. The government investigated sporadic grenade attacks and a spate of machete killings across the country and continued to prosecute individuals who threatened or harmed genocide survivors and witnesses.
On October 15, Mozambique police found former Rwandan Development Board Managing Director Theogene Turatsinze floating dead and tied with ropes in a lake two days after he was reported missing. Mozambique police initially indicated Rwandan government involvement in the killing before contacting the government and changing its characterization to a common crime. Rwandan government officials publicly condemned the killing and denied involvement. Domestic political observers commented that Turatsinze had access to politically sensitive financial information related to certain Rwandan government insiders. The killing remained unsolved at year’s end.
In a June 27 addendum to its interim report, in its November 15 final report, and in a November 26 letter to the UN Security Council, the UN Group of Experts (UNGOE) accused the government of violating UN arms embargo and sanctions regimes through “direct military support” and “the provision of material and financial support to armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Specifically, the UNGOE claimed the government provided weapons and ammunition, recruits, intelligence, political and financial support, logistics, and direct Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) military interventions in support of the M23 armed group rebellion in the eastern DRC, which began in April. The UNGOE asserted the de facto chain of command of the M23 started with Rwandan Minister of Defense General James Kabarebe and included Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense General Jacques Nziza. The government strenuously disputed the credibility of the UNGOE report and consistently denied providing any support to the M23. Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other international experts also provided evidence in support of the claim of government assistance to the M23. In press releases dated June 3, September 11, November 8, 16, and 20, and December 28, HRW accused the M23 of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life, including the summary execution of at least 33 recruits, among other abuses. The UNGOE echoed such claims, alleging the M23 and RDF troops killed dozens of recruits and prisoners of war through summary executions, beatings, starvation, or by burying them alive. Fourteen international NGOs, including Global Witness, Freedom House, and The Enough Project, published an open letter on December 10 criticizing Rwanda’s support for the M23 armed group. Several of those NGOs also produced their own reports and press releases detailing human rights abuses by the M23. In addition to the M23, the UNGOE alleged the Rwandan government provided material and financial support to several other armed groups operating in the DRC, including Raia Mutomboki, the Congolese Defense Forces, and the Patriotic Resistance Forces of Ituri, among others. The UNGOE had charged each of those groups, but especially Raia Mutomboki, with committing extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.
Laurent Nkunda, the former leader of the Congolese armed group National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), which was reported to have received support from the Rwandan government, remained under house arrest without charges. During the year, elements of the CNDP reconstituted themselves as the M23 armed group. Nkunda was arrested in 2009 by the RDF when he returned to the country reportedly for consultations with government officials. The Rwandan government has not acted on the DRC’s 2009 extradition request for Nkunda.
In September 2011 security personnel shot and injured opposition party PS-Imberakuri member Eric Nshimyumuremyi, allegedly because he was armed and seeking a fight. A PS-Imberakuri spokesperson claimed Nshimyumuremyi was not armed and was shot because he was a party member. The Rwanda National Police (RNP) defended SSF action and did not discipline those involved. Prosecutors charged Nshimyumuremyi with illegal possession of weapons, and his trial continued at year’s end.
In December 2011 an unidentified gunman killed Charles Ingabire, a Rwandan journalist and government critic, in Kampala, Uganda. Both the press and human rights organizations reported Ingabire had survived an earlier attack in September 2011. Rwandan authorities alleged he had embezzled from a microfinance company, orphans, and a genocide survivors’ organization and was probably killed for that reason.
Five grenade attacks in January and March in Kigali’s Muhanga District and Musanze District resulted in three deaths and injuries to 37 persons. Police arrested several suspects associated with the attacks, which were widely believed to have been orchestrated by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) armed group operating mainly in the eastern DRC. On January 13, judges convicted 21 defendants and acquitted eight in relation to several 2011 and earlier grenade attacks. Prosecutors earlier dropped charges against more than 70 others. Of the 29 defendants tried in court, only four had lawyers, and several maintained SSF members had tortured them into signing false confessions. Judges placed the onus of proving torture on the defendants and refused to examine defendants’ claims absent a medical report; however, Amnesty International and HRW claimed the defendants had no access to doctors during their time in detention at Kami military intelligence camp and that such medical examinations could not be obtained without endangering the doctor. Several appeals continued at year’s end.
On December 6, the High Court in Musanze District convicted 11 of 12 defendants for threatening state security in relation to 2011 and earlier grenade attacks and other “terrorist acts.” According to HRW, many of the defendants had disappeared in 2011, and the majority claimed in open court they had been tortured and forced into confessing during illegal detentions at Mukamira military camp. The criminal trial of an additional 18 SSF defendants began on December 12. An observer of the trial told HRW the majority of the defendants testified by year’s end and claimed to have been arrested between 2010 and 2011, illegally detained at Mukamira military camp, and tortured.
According to HRW, another state security trial began in December, including defendants charged with the early 2012 grenade attacks. In addition HRW reported at least three persons who disappeared in September 2011 and were illegally detained at Kami military intelligence camp until transfer to Kicukiro prison in December 2011 have been scheduled to go on trial in a group of 10 defendants in February 2013 for threatening state security and collaborating with the FDLR.
On December 20, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in Tanzania, convicted Augustin Ngirabatware, the country’s former minister of planning, of genocide and crimes against humanity. The court sentenced Ngirabatware to 35 years in prison. Ngirabatware was found to have distributed weapons at checkpoints where Hutu militias would kill ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. Ngirabatware’s trial was the last genocide case tried by the ICTR.
Police arrested 14 individuals in connection with numerous machete killings between July and September. Assailants tortured and killed at least 15 prostitutes in Kigali, while small groups indiscriminately slaughtered more than a dozen prostitutes in Muhanga District and Musanze District. According to the Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ARDHO), which received death threats for investigating the Muhanga killings, citizens were afraid to speak with authorities because the assailants attacked witnesses who provided information. Some witnesses, human rights activists, and government officials expressed fear the machete killings were a terrorist campaign instigated by the FDLR.
The government investigated and prosecuted individuals accused of threatening or harming genocide survivors and witnesses or of espousing genocide ideology, which the law defines as dehumanizing an individual or a group with the same characteristics by threatening, intimidating, defaming, inciting hatred, negating the genocide, taking revenge, altering testimony or evidence, killing, planning to kill, or attempting to kill someone. From January to September, a special protection bureau in the Office of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) registered 167 cases of genocide ideology, of which 64 were filed in court, 31 were dismissed, 10 were reclassified, and 62 were pending investigation. From January to September, the courts adjudicated 59 cases (63 individuals), convicting 52 and acquitting 11 (see section 1.e.). Police investigated six murders of genocide survivors. No information was available regarding charges filed, but according to the genocide survivors’ association Ibuka, police arrested suspects in all six cases. On October 1, in Kigali, genocide survivor Alex Rutindura, who media reported was involved in a court case over his parents’ land, survived a machete attack by six assailants, the third attempt on his life in two years.