In July, Human Rights Watch claimed in a lengthy document it had found 37 Rwandans in the districts of Rutsiro and Rubavu were “summarily executed” by what it called “Rwandan security forces”. But an investigation released Friday shows they are either alive, died of natural causes or the names given by HRW are of people who do not exist.
The probe conducted by the independent National Human Rights Commission also found that the HRW researcher assigned by his organisation to conduct the ground investigation actually arrived in western Rwanda and spoke to different people, while showing them names of supposedly missing people. In all the instances, he left business cards and promised to return after two weeks to hear from that particula witness, but never returned.
At a press conference in Kigali, the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs. Nirere Madeleine said the “entire (HRW) report is built on fabricated information”.
In the meticulously written report, the commission details the case of each of the people allegedly executed. KT Press read through the 26-page report and here is the sum up:
– 7 persons reported executed in the HRW report are alive and these include: Nsanzabera Tharcisse, Majyambere Alphonse, Nyirabavakure Daphrose, Karasankima Jovan, Habyalimana Elias, Nzamwitakuze Donati and Hanyurwabake Emmanuel;
– In the HRW report, names of one person are mistaken. The HRW report talks about Nsabiyeze Pascal while the correct names are Nsabiyeze Alias.
During its investigation, the Commission visited Habyalimana Elias’ home where they met his wife NIKUZE Pelagie. It was discovered her husband lives in Belgium since 2009. The information was confirmed by his father Ngwije Samson residing in Muhororo Vilage, Nyarubye Cell in Musasa Sector, says the Commission in its report. There is even a photo of him taken from Belgium.
-4 persons reportedly killed in the report, have died of natural diseases. These are: Uwintwali Thaddé, Kanyesoko Jean, Habimana Innocent, Ntiriburakaryo Jean Damascène;
– 6 persons died as a results of various accidents though HRW reports that they were executed by the Rwanda Defence Forces, National Police or DASSO officers. They include: Bihibindi Jean de Dieu, Minani Samuel, Bazangirabate Amurani, Ntakingora Djuma, Renzaho Vedaste, Ntamuhanga Emmanuel;
In this group, strange information reported by HRW has been found false by the Rwanda rights commission. For example: Bihibindi never stole a cow and his family says he fell into River Sebeya from a bridge on that river. He was going home late in the evening and he slipped into the river. As for Minani Samuel, HRW gave different names – he is actually MINANI Yamweli and died on Lake Kivu due bad weather caused by a storm that capsised his fishing boat.
The case of Ntamuhanga Emmanuel is more intrigging. HRW claims he was shot by soldiers on military patrol boat. DUSINGIZIMANA Patrick who was with Ntamuhanga fishing on Lake Kivu says when they saw a military patrol, Ntamuhanga jumped into the water because he was a good swimmer. DUSINGIZIMANA stayed put, and the military boat did not even approach their boat. Moments later, DUSINGIZIMANA saw the body of his friend floating and it had no bullet wounds.
– One person reportedly executed by the Rwanda Defence Forces or police officers was actually shot dead by the Congolese soldiers on the DR Congo side of the lake. The person is called: Tuyisenge Moise;
For one person reportedly executed by an RDF soldier; the Commission found that the perpetrator Captain NKURUNZIZA François was charged and sentenced to 10 years in prison and, currently serving his sentence at Mulindi Military Prison. The victim name is Nzitakuze Emmanuel;
– As for 2 persons reported by the HRW to have been killed by individuals on orders from authorities, the Commission established that perpetrators were prosecuted and sentenced by courts as they committed the offence on their own behalf. These include: Barayavuga Jean Claude and Uzamutuma Théoneste;
– There are 10 persons reported to have been executed, but who are unkown to local authorities of administrative entities singled out in HRW report. These people are: Mbarushimana Innocent, Ntahondereye Jean Damascène, Niyigena Emmanuel, Nzabandora Ndayishimiye, Hakuzimana Basabose, Nteziriza Naftal, Buhagarike François, Bemeriki Alexandre, Habiyaremye Jean de Dieu, Nshimiyimana Vincent;
– The allegation that 10 persons reported by HRW to have been executed by the Rwanda military or police officers after being accused of theft and executed on orders according to which all thieves must be killed is not true. At different times, those individuals were shot while crossing the Cyanzarwe Valley from the DRC, during the night; a pathway usually used by FDLR elements to cross to Rwanda. Local authorities have forbidden residents to cross the valley during the night for security purposes . These people include: Tuyishime Ernest, Nirere Jeanine, Niyonzima Benjamin, Nshimiyimana Innocent, Rukundo Fulgence, Gasore, Iradukunda Prosper, Mukeshimana Joseph, Hakizimana Pierre, Muke Flavien alias Basare.
In its report, the Commission also presented its own findings on the notion contained in the HRW report that “All Thieves must Be Killed” implying that the directive came from local authorities.
During its investigation, the Commission found that a Researcher in the Africa Division of HRW called LEWIS Mudge travelled to Boneza Sector, Rutsiro District on 6 July 2017 where he met with NIRERE Etienne, the Exective Secretary of Boneza Sector. Mudge showed the official a book containing a list of the people from his Sector that were reportedly killed and asked him whether he had some information about it.
The Executive Secretary says he wrote down the list and only responded that he had no information thereon but that he was going to look in the matter. The researcher left him with his ID card and told him he would come back two weeks after, which he did not do. He instead included their alleged discussions in the report that HRW published.
A furious commission chairperson said it was unvelievable how far Human Rights Watch was willing to go to keep itself relevant, even if it meant announcing deaths of people who are alive.
“Based on the findings of our report, we call upon international and national institutions to which the Human Rights Watch report was submitted to disregard its contents including the recommendations,” said the commission chairperson, alongside her colleagues.
Meanwhile, a recorded videos of witnesses of people who died from several diseases instead of the HRW fabricated claims. They also include a person who was reported dead while he is alive.