Former Persecutor General Martin Ngoga has revealed sensitive information regarding the US government officials behaviour towards Rwanda and meticulously broke down hectic and demeaning processes he was subjected to during his tenure as a high ranking state judicial officer.
In a testimony he penned down and published by The Pan African, Ngoga, currently the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), explained how he was regularly summoned by Washington and Western countries to explain why Rwanda had arrested and or prosecuted their citizens even when the suspects had committed crimes against Rwandans and Rwanda and on Rwandan soil.
He mentioned three particular cases and explained the ordeal he went through as a prosecutor general and his team, including Rwandan investigators who were working with him on certain case, particularly those that involved the examples he gave.
“I met the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr. Johnny Carson. The specific purpose of the meeting which had taken me to Washington was to explain why Peter Erlinder had been arrested in Rwanda,” he wrote.
Peter Erlinder, the American lawyer who was arrested in Rwanda in May 2010 when Ngoga was the Prosecutor General. “He was arrested based on our law against genocide denial and revisionism. The law itself had been criticized a lot by some countries in the West. However, that law had been enacted based on a similar law that existed in Europe on punishing the denial of the holocaust.” Erlinder had cimmited these crimes several times while defending genocide convicts and in his publications and then in Rwanda when he attempted to offer legal legal counsel to another convict, Victoire Ingabire.
In his testimony, Ngoga made revelations that are new to the pubic domain. He tackled the Paul Rusesabagina case which the USA government has vehemently been harassing Rwanda over.
The Secretary of the US Department of State, Antony J. Blinken, who is expected in Rwanda for an official visit, according to a press statement from his office, will “press” Rwanda on the the” wrongful detention of U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Paul Rusesabagina.”
Rusesabagina is serving 25 years in prison for terrorism. The US government has been demanding for his release.
Rusesabagina was found guilty of, among many accounts, financing terrorism and personally leading a terrorism organization from his bases in USA and Belgium.
During his time as Rwanda’s Prosecutor General, Rusesabagina had been under the radar of FBI and other European investigators for his terrorism activities.
“I travelled to Washington and sought the services of an international law firm to help me to secure an appointment with senior officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” Ngoga said.
When they met, he shared the evidence he had… he learnt from the FBI the following day that they had actually uncovered 11 more instances of transfers of money through Western Union, which Rwanda knew nothing about.
“So, they uncovered more than twice as much evidence as we had. But in this case, it does not really matter how many transfers there were; what matters are the intentions behind them (terrorism),” he continued revealing.
“I knew of about five transfers at the time I left for Washington, by the time I departed to return to Rwanda, another 11 transfers that I hadn’t known about before, had been uncovered. So, I returned to Rwanda with a promise from the FBI that they were going to continue with the investigation. Then one morning I received a phone call from the then US ambassador to Rwanda, who wanted me to meet an official from Washington who had a message from the FBI, which could not be shared through diplomatic channels. When I met the official from Washington, he handed me a letter confirming that the FBI had officially commenced investigations against Rusesabagina.”
The former Prosecutor General, in his testimony, draws serious conclusions on the relationship between Rwanda and the USA, which Secretary Blinken purportedly has come to furnish.
FBI and Belgian investigators had damning evidence against Rusesabagina and “the investigations into his activities were a collective effort under international law, through judicial cooperation that involved several jurisdictions, not simply the Rwandan authorities on their own…People who have come forward to criticize the way the case proceeded are mainly politicians and Rusesabagina’s friends.”
Ngoga is wondering what US government politicians need Rwandan judicial institutions to explain and why. Interfering with judicial matters is unacceptable in the US and in European countries.
“If there was a need to discuss what went wrong… it would have to be about whether it is a breach of criminal procedure in Rwanda or of any internationally known judicial principle, based on evidence, based on procedural stage or the judgement itself,” he said.
“That is the kind of discussion people ought to have. However, a blanket condemnation of Rwanda’s judiciary, apparently because it cannot conduct a fair trial against anyone, is extremely problematic. Rusesabagina was properly sentenced,” he added.
Ngoga questions how a House Committee decides that this was not fair! “There is no criticism that focuses on the evidence. Was it fabricated? No one says anything about this. All they say is “no no, the trial was not fair!” In what sense was it not fair?
He said that Blinken, a lawyer too, will be endangering his political career by undertaking such political gymnastics in diplomatic engagements.
“If there is such an opening in the United States, when is it going to be operationalized to allow him to press the FBI before pressing Rwanda? Perhaps judicial interference promotes good governance in Rwanda but undermines democracy in the United States?” he concluded.
Meanwhile, social media has been following Secretary Blinken’s Travel to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
— Gatete Nyiringabo Ruhumuliza (@gateteviews) August 8, 2022
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