Home NewsNational Ingabire Victoire Yet to Complete Conditions of Presidential Pardon – Rules the High Court

Ingabire Victoire Yet to Complete Conditions of Presidential Pardon – Rules the High Court

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
2:21 pm

The High Court in Rwanda on Wednesday made a verdict in a case where previously convicted self-proclaimed opposition politician Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is demanding to be exonerated and cleared in order to restore all her rights as a citizen, taken away on grounds of being convicted on criminal charges of a serious nature.

The high court denied her clearance on ground that she is not eligible to apply for it yet.

Ingabire, who returned to Rwanda in 2010, was jailed and later found guilty of conspiracy to cause insurrections and undermine an established government as well as denying and minimizing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, sentencing her to 8 years in prison.

She later appealed the verdict the country’s highest court, the Supreme Court, which in December 2013 increased her jail term to 15 years.

Ingabire was released in September 2018 after President Paul Kagame commuted her prison sentence of 15 years and granted her clemency after serving half of her sentence.

On February 14,  Ingabire appeared before the High Court requesting to be cleared so as to recover her full rights as Rwandan citizen.

Ingabire argued that as per the country’s laws, she is eligible to be cleared of her criminal record, based on her conduct over the five years since her release.

She filed several defence arguments according to which she respected the conditions of her release by reporting to the prosecutor of primary level, and participating in national programs.

The prosecution however argued that in several occasions, Ingabire failed to respect conditions of her release, and on top of that, was investigated on other matters that are related to prior offences. Ingabire denied any wrongdoing and said she has become “a good citizen.”

Ruling against Ingabire, the high court said that Ingabire is simply not eligible, because she has not yet met the conditions to apply for clearance.

The presidential order granting pardon/clemency in its article 2 provides for conditions to be fulfilled by the grantee of mercy.

She is required to report to the Primary Level Prosecutor of her place of residence, at the prosecution office and notify the Village, Cell, Sector and District leaders of her residence, within fifteen (15) days from the date when clemency was issued.

It also said that she shall appear before the Primary Level Prosecutor of her place of residence, at the prosecution office, once a month, on a day determined by the Primary Level Prosecutor. In case of impossibility of appearance on the determined day, she shall request not to appear in a reasoned letter addressed to the Prosecutor in advance. The
Prosecutor shall respond within three (3) days. If the prosecutor does not respond, it will be presumed that he or she has
accepted the request.

The order also provided that Ingabire shall seek authorisation from the Minister in charge of justice every time she wishes to go out of the country.

The last paragraph of this article however, provides that these conditions shall cease to apply at the end of the remaining period of imprisonment, which the grantee of mercy was supposed to serve.

On her release, Ingabire had barely served eight years in jail in 2018, which means that she was remaining with seven years. That jail sentence would end next year. The law however, gives a grantee of mercy the right to seek clearance five years after the end of the commuted jail sentence.

This puts Ingabire’s eligibility to apply for clearance in 2030.

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