The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: IBUKA Wants Prosecution to Appeal Ingabire?s Sentence

The Umbrella body of Genocide Survivors (IBUKA) has protested the eight years jail term handed to Victoire Ingabire, saying the High Court ignored the gravity of the offences for which she was convicted.

Ingabire was, on Tuesday, sentenced after court found her guilty of terrorism and denying the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

She was convicted of two counts of Genocide denial and conspiracy and planning to cause state insecurity, and was acquitted of four other charges that included genocide ideology, promoting ethnic divisionism and supporting armed groups.

Addressing a press briefing yesterday, Dr. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of IBUKA, called on the prosecution to file an appeal to challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court.

"Eight years is a petty sentence considering that all the crimes she was convicted of, especially trivialising the Genocide were premeditated. The speech she made at Kigali Memorial Centre was clearly planned," said Dusingizemungu.

Ingabire, returned to Rwanda in January 2010 with an ambition to stand for the presidential elections which were held in August that year.

Part of her charges were drawn from a speech she gave at Gisozi Genocide Memorial, where her utterances, which included insinuation that there had been double genocide in Rwanda, were seen as trivialising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

"Ingabire chose the most sensitive place in the country to mock the Genocide survivors, she deserves the toughest punishment that would act as a warning to whoever tries to minimize the genocide," added the IBUKA president.

Part of the basis of the court to give Ingabire a lenient sentence was a letter she wrote to the President asking for clemency.

However, according to Dusingizemungu, the consultations made by IBUKA clearly indicated and proved that Ingabire did not ask for pardon from the President, and that her letter was shoddy in a way that she did not clearly indicate the addressee.

Ingabire's letter was addressed to "The Highest Authority of Our Country," he said.

Although the survivors' body wants the prosecution to appeal, the Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga was non committal on whether his office intends to appeal or not in an earlier interview.

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