The National Commission for Human Rights during Press Conference with Journalists

Kigali, 13 October 2017 – Rwanda’s National Commission for Human Rights today presented findings of its inquiry into allegations of the Human Right Watch (HRW) report titled “All Thieves must Be Killed” published on 13 July 2017. The Commission found major errors in the HRW report, which raise serious concerns about the way the organization conducts its work.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs. Nirere Madeleine said: “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 because the entire report is built on fabricated information.”

Among the findings of the Commission are the following:


·         Seven people reported executed in the HRW report are alive. These are: Nsanzabera Tharcisse (serving a sentence in Nyakiriba Prison/Rubavu), Majyambere Alphonse (lives in Boneza Sector/Rutsiro District); Nyirabavakure Daphrose (lives in DRC with her husband); Karasankima Jovan (lives in Nyabirasi Sector/Ngororero District); Habyalimana Elias (lives in Belgium since 2009); Nzamwitakuze Donat (lives in Uganda with his wife) and Hanyurwabake Emmanuel (lives on Idjwi Island, DRC).


·         Four people that HRW claims were executed, died of disease. One of these namely Uwintwali Thaddé died of a long illness on 25 September 1999 whereas the HRW report claims that he was executed by soldiers on 13 December 2016 for stealing a goat. Another person, Habimana Innocent, a former RDF soldier of the Marine Regiment, died of illness on 1 May 2013 though he is said to have been killed on 17 February 2017 for fishing with illegal nets.


·         Ten people are reported to have been executed, but are unknown to local authorities or residents of administrative entities where they are said to have been living. These are: Mbarushimana Innocent, Ntahondereye Jean Damascène, Niyigena Emmanuel, Nzabandora Ndayishimiye, Hakuzimana Basabose, Nteziriza Naftal, Buhagarike François, Bemeriki Alexandre, Habiyaremye Jean de Dieu and Nshimiyimana Vincent.


·         Six people died as a result of various accidents, including drowning in Lake Kivu, whereas HRW claims that they were executed by the Rwanda Defence Forces, National Police or DASSO officers. These are: Bihibindi Jean de Dieu, Minani Samuel, Bazangirabate Amurani, Ntakingora Djuma, Renzaho Vedaste and Ntamuhanga Emmanuel.


·         Of the two people who the HRW report claimed were killed on orders of local authorities, the Commission established that the perpetrators were prosecuted and sentenced by courts as they committed the offence on their own behalf.


·         In the case of Nzitakuze Emmanuel who HRW reported was executed by an RDF soldier, the Commission found out that the perpetrator, Captain Nkurunziza François, was prosecuted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.


·         The allegation by HRW that 10 people were executed by Rwanda military or police officers after being accused of petty theft – following a claim of orders that “all thieves must be killed” – was established to be untrue. At different times, these individuals were shot by border patrols while crossing the Cyanzarwe Valley from the DRC at night; a pathway usually used by FDLR elements to infiltrate Rwanda. Local authorities have regularly alerted residents not to cross the valley during the night, for security reasons.