SUMMARY OF THE REPORT ON INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT BY THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSTIRO AND RUBAVU DISTRICTS ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS WACTH (HRW)’S REPORT OF JULY 2017
This report provides details of the investigation carried out by the National Commission for Human Rights pursuant to its mandate of monitoring the respect of human rights and the investigation on the situations that appear to raise human rights violations on the content of Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled “All Thieves Must Be Killed”. It also describes the methodology employed by HRW throughout its investigation as well as comments and opinions of the population and local authorities in that regard. In addition, the report provides information on allegations of extrajudicial executions.
The HRW report alleges that in Rubavu and Rutsiro Districts, some people were killed because they were thieves, drug dealers, fishermen using illegal fishing nets referred to as kaningiri, as well as those who did not attend community work (Umuganda). The report also alleges that some victims were killed by the Army, Police, Reserve Forces and DASSO while others were killed by individuals following orders given by local authorities.
After investigations, the Commission found that:
- Seven people 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;
- Four people allegedly killed in the report died of natural diseases. These are: Uwintwali Thaddé, Kanyesoko Jean, Habimana Innocent, Ntiriburakaryo Jean Damascène;
- Six people died as a result of various accidents although HRW reports that they were executed by the Army, Police or DASSO officers. They include: Bihibindi Jean de Dieu, Minani Samuel, Bazangirabate Amurani, Ntakingora Djuma, Renzaho Vedaste, Ntamuhanga Emmanuel;
- One person was reportedly executed by an RDF soldier whose HRW alleges was not prosecuted but the Commission found out that the perpetrator was prosecuted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The victim’s name is: Nzitakuze Emmanuel;
- Two people were reported by HRW to have been killed by individuals on orders from authorities, but the Commission established that the perpetrators were prosecuted and sentenced by courts as they committed the offence on their own capacity. These include: Barayavuga Jean Claude and Uzamutuma Théoneste;
- There are 10 people reported to have been executed, but who are unknown to local authorities and residents of administrative entities indicated in the 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 people reported by HRW to have been executed by the Rwanda military or police officers after being accused of theft – on orders according to which all thieves must be killed – was found to be untrue. At different times, these individuals were shot while crossing the Cyanzarwe Valley from the DRC at night and refusing to stop while ordered to do so. The valley is a pathway usually used by FDLR elements to cross into Rwanda and disrupt security. Local authorities have warned residents not 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 this report, the National Commission for Human Rights also presents 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 . The Commission accessed minutes of security meetings held on dates indicated in HRW report in Rubavu and Rutsiro Districts, during which it is alleged orders that all thieves must be killed were given. In these minutes, the Commission did not find mention of any authority giving these orders.
Based on the content of these minutes of these meetings, and also on testimonies from local residents and authorities of Rubavu and Rutsiro Districts, the Commission conludes there were no orders that all thieves must be killed as reported.
In its own investigations, the Commission founds serious inaccuracies as well as methodological flaws in HRW approach to collect information because in some cases, witnesses had to be paid for testifying.
Furtheremore, since the HRW report does not, in many instances, ascertain the entity responsible for alleged violations ; which is in itself problematic in as much as there is no evidence to support them, the Commission is of the view that such approach aims at creating confusion in institutions to which the report is submitted as it is very difficult to investigate on the facts reported by HRW when there is a doubt on the organs or instutions mentionned in the report.
The National Commission for Human Rights 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. It also calls upon HRW to follow due process and proper human rights investigation procedures and standards when conducting its investigation.