Journalists Under Siege In Rwanda

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2020
Contact: Kitty Kurth
Email: kittykurth@me.com
Phone: 312-617-7288

CHICAGO – Sep. 23, 2020 – Journalists being told they are the “enemy of the state” for their dedication to facts and truth-telling is a new experience in the U.S., but in Rwanda it has been open season on reporters for decades. Journalists who report about the ongoing human rights violations committed by President Paul Kagame’s government continue to do so knowing they may face physical threats, be forced to leave the country, or be murdered at home.

“Kagame’s assault on Rwanda’s free press has left only a single voice in the country — his own. This is particularly chilling since it mirrors the government’s control of Rwandan media before the 1994 genocide. By silencing political, journalistic, and civil society voices, Kagame exercises near-total control of the country, creating the conditions for new violence,” according to Author Anjan Sundaram.

The data and stories that Sundaram and different organizations are actually able to collect tell a chilling story.

● According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in Rwanda eight journalists have been killed or reported missing, and 35 have had to flee abroad since 1996.
● The Committee to Protect Journalists list the names and circumstances surrounding the 17 journalists murdered in Rwanda between 1992-2020.
● And one of the most recent comprehensive looks at the network of fear that established and aspiring young reporters face in Rwanda can be found in Sundaram’s 2016’s Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship. The appendix contains a list of 75 innocent journalists attacked, killed, or forced to flee Rwanda after they criticized Kagame. It is a damning list.

The 2010 murder of Rwanda journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage is a prime example of the sacrifices the press makes to report the truth. Rugambage was the acting editor of the newspaper Umuvugizi, which had been suspended by the government for being critical of the regime. However, he continued to post articles online including one about the attempted murder of a former Rwanda army official who was an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame.

Even Rwandan journalists living in exile are not safe from retribution. Reporter Charles Ingabire was gunned down in Uganda in 2011. He ran an online publication called Inyenyeri News that was critical of the government of Rwanda.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) provides a snapshot of the media landscape in Rwanda:

“The number of abuses registered by RSF has fallen in recent years, but censorship is ubiquitous and self-censorship is widely used to avoid running afoul of the regime. Foreign journalists are often unable to obtain the visas and accreditation they need to report in Rwanda. Despite a new media law in 2010 and efforts to develop Internet connections throughout the country, the legislation is very oppressive. An overhaul of the penal code in 2018 did not reform prison sentences for journalists convicted of insult or defamation. The spectre of the 1994 genocide is still used to brand media critical of the government as ‘divisionist.’ In 2015, the government banned BBC radio broadcasting in the local Kinyarwanda language after a BBC TV documentary referred to the deaths that took place during the advance on Kigali in 1994 by Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels led by Paul Kagame, now Rwanda’s president. Kagame’s reelection in August 2017, after a constitutional amendment allowed him to run for a third term, means that authoritarianism and censorship are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Paul Rusesabagina has consistently called out the Kagame regime for its abusive practices toward journalists and the assault on freedom of speech in Rwanda. This is one of the real reasons that Rusesabagina has been kidnapped and arrested in Kigali.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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False Accusations Against Rusesabagina Started A Long Time Ago

CHICAGO – Sep. 15, 2020 – Since Paul Kagame became the President of Rwanda, he has wanted to be the only hero. When the movie Hotel Rwanda came out in 2004 and showed the extraordinary lengths that Paul Rusesabagina went to save 1,268 people during the Rwandan genocide, Paul Kagame initially praised the movie. But, when Rusesabagina became famous and gained a platform to talk about the need for human rights and political space within Rwanda, Kagame decided that Rusesabagina must be stopped.

Since 2004, he has sent spies to break into Rusesabagina’s house in Belgium, surveilled, tailed, and harassed Rusesabagina’s speeches. Kagame has tried to silence Rusesabagina’s humanitarian efforts. Kagame’s goal for more than 15 years was to silence the big fish, Paul Rusesabagina. Kagame has called for Rusesabagina’s death, disappearance, or imprisonment for years. Now Kagame got his wish.

Here is a preview of the coming attractions at the trial. These are the refuted false allegations that Kagame tried to level at humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina back in the years between 2010 – 2012. Some of the highlights included falsely accusing Rusesabagina of wiring money to rebels. James Kimonyo, the then Rwandan Ambassador to the United States, accused Rusesabagina of conspiring with former US Ambassadors to buy guns for rebels. Kagame generally accuses Rusesabagina of being a genocide denier while the reality is Rusesabagina spends his time educating people about the Rwandan genocide to make “never again” actually mean never again. Rusesabagina also stresses the need for an internationally sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission for Rwandans at home and in the diaspora so that Hutus and Tutsis can live in peace and freedom.

Please read the documents below so that you will be prepared for the #fakenews that you will see at the kangaroo court trial of Paul Rusesabagina.

Here is the document outlining some of the 2010-2012 false allegations and real facts (https://hotelrwandarusesabaginafoundation.files.wordpress…).

#FreeRusesabagina 

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Was Rusesabagina Removed from a GainJet Charter to Kigali on a Stretcher?

CHICAGO – Sep. 13, 2020 – On August 28, 2020, Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian famous for saving 1,268 Rwandans during the 1994 genocide, whose true story was told in the film Hotel Rwanda, was the victim of an abduction, disappearance, and extraordinary rendition from Dubai, UAE to Kigali, Rwanda.

There is strong and credible public evidence that Paul Rusesabagina was carried on Bombadier Challenger 605, Tail Number SX-FSA from Dubai to Kigali, leaving at 12:55 am and landing at 4:50 am in the Rwandan capital.

Additionally, there are reports from the Kigali Airport that Rusesabagina was taken off the plane in Kigali on a stretcher.

GainJet has previously run charters carrying Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his family members. The Africa base of GainJet’s operations is in Rwanda.

All contact with Mr. Rusesabagina’s family on mobile devices was cut off for many hours before the trip. He was held incommunicado for almost 13 days in the custody of the Government of Rwanda. He has had two supervised calls with his family.

Paul Rusesabagina would have never voluntarily traveled to Rwanda. President Paul Kagame has labeled him a “false hero,” referred to him as a terrorist, made an attempt on his life, has regularly harrassed him for over 20 years, and will now pepper Rusesabagina with an array of false terrorism-related charges.

Importantly, the Government of Rwanda claimed that this was an extradition carried out with international cooperation. This is demonstrably false. Not only did the Government of the UAE deny this claim, but it accurately observed there is no bilateral or multilateral extradition treaty by which Rwanda could ever secure the extradition of someone from the UAE, in accordance with UAE law. This was clearly an extraordinary rendition carried out in flagrant violation of international law.

Rusesabagina’s legal team asked GainJet for a copy of the invoice and payment records of the person(s) who chartered that flight and who paid for the flight. GainJet has not responded.

There are more questions that need to be asked and more information that needs to be provided. If GainJet does not provide the information, they will be complicit with the illegal kidnapping and arrest of Paul Rusesabagina and the extraordinary rendition of Rusesabagina from Dubai to Kigali.

In addition to the questions of who chartered and paid for the plane there are more:

• Where is the video tape of Rusesabagina boarding the private aircraft in UAE? If he walked on let’s see it. If not, let’s see it.

• Where is the plane manifest? Let’s see it.

• Where is the video of footage of him arriving in Kigali? If he was on a stretcher, why? If not, show us the video footage?

• Who chartered the plane?

• Who paid for the plane?

•Where is Paul’s photo? Why didn’t they take a photo of Paul?

Rwanda has a typical practice of publishing photos of international detainees arriving in Kigali Airport in the press – they take almost the exact same photo every time:

Bandora – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/63868

Mugesera – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/38888

Uwinkindi – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/51868

Munyagishari – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/67749

Bandora – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/63868

Mugesera – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/38888

Uwinkindi – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/51868

Munyagishari – https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/67749

GainJet is at the heart of an international incident. They need to provide the facts behind the kidnapping.

The media needs to demand that GainJet, UAE officials and the Dubai airport along with the Kigali Airport provides this information immediately.

If the information from GainJet is not provided in short order, legal action will be taken to report that GainJet failed to deny its involvement in this extraordinary rendition or provide any information about the flight in question.

Complaints will be lodged with authorities in the countries where GainJet operates and has flown requesting they investigate these allegations and, if proven, blacklist GainJet airline from traveling there.

Contacts for GainJet, according to their website (http://www.gainjet.com/gainjet-team/) are:

Capt. Ramsey Sahban Ceo & President
ramsey@gainjet.com

Ali Malek, Charter Sales Manager
ali@gainjet.com

Sofia Kontou, Head of Accounts
sofia@gainjet.com

Simon Roussos, Accountable Manager
simon@gainjet.com

Capt. Evangelos Lykoudis
fom@gainjet.com

#FreeRusesabagina 

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Changing Stories, Rwanda’s Kagame Can Not Make Up His Mind

Rwandan Government continues to lie about illegal arrest of humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina

CHICAGO – Sep. 9, 2020 – Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian famous for saving 1,268 Rwandans during the 1994 Genocide, was kidnapped and brought illegally to Rwanda and is a victim of extraordinary rendition. According to news reports from independent journalists, there are differing reports of what happened and how the illegal arrest was made.

• When President Kagame first announced the spurious charges against humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, he said that arrest was made with “international cooperation” yet no country has admitted cooperation.

• The next version was that the “international cooperation” meant that other countries had been asked to investigate. Yet, Belgium said that they had nothing to do with the arrest. UAE said that they had nothing to do with the rest.

• Then President Paul Kagame hinted that Rusesabagina had been “tricked” in to traveling to Rwanda. He said that his plan had worked “flawlessly.”

• The Secretary General of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) said that Paul got on the plane voluntarily but did not know that the plane was going to Kigali and he was arrested upon arrival. The family believes the last part to be true. Paul Rusesabagina would never get on a plane to Rwanda. He would have had to have been taken there against his will. It seems that Kagame’s plan to illegally extradite Paul did indeed work “flawlessly.”

Rusesabagina, a Belgian citizen, did not voluntarily come to Rwanda and no extradition process was followed. The International Community needs to demand Rusesabagina’s immediate release.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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The Truth Behind Hotel Rwanda and Paul Rusesabagina

CHICAGO – Sep. 8, 2020 – Since the movie Hotel Rwanda came out in 2004, Paul Kagame has been trying to re-write history and lie about the actions taken by Paul Rusesabagina to save 1,268 people during the Genocide. Before the movie was made, facts were checked. Before Paul’s book, An Ordinary Man, was written, facts were checked. Below are statements from Keir Pearson, the writer of the movie Hotel Rwanda and Tom Zoellner, the co-author of An Ordinary Man.

Keir Pearson
Writer, Hotel Rwanda

When I was researching and writing HOTEL RWANDA (a process that took over 4 years), I constantly double checked what I was doing with numerous sources and scholars, including Alison Des Forges, who at the time was the preeminent scholar on Rwanda. She worked for Human Rights Watch, had lived in Rwanda for decades, and wrote probably the most detailed and definitive book on the genocide called LEAVE NONE TO TELL THE STORY.

After the genocide, Des Forges along with other Human Rights Watch investigators, UN investigators, and Rwandan investigators who were part of Kagame’s regime looked into what happened at the Mille Collines Hotel because it was such an anomaly. The story of the Rwandan genocide is mass slaughter—everywhere—especially where Tutsis were gathered in large numbers. Yet, at the Mille Collines, they all survived.

Des Forges clearly stated that if Paul had done anything remotely wrong, he would have been arrested and locked up back then, given the level of scrutiny the hotel received, and that any rumor of “bribes” was just that—rumor… and perhaps some malicious gossip. My research on the ground confirmed what Des Forges told me.

Keep in mind that around 1,000 people sought refuge in the hotel. Not all came into contact with Paul nor had any idea of what he did. But Paul did do everything in his power to make sure the interhamwe didn’t storm the hotel and murder every man, woman, and child there.

The idea that Paul actually turned Tutsis over to the Interhamwe to be slaughtered and yet escaped all scrutiny seems even stranger to me. In all my research, I never came across anyone who even made that accusation.

Kagame praised the film when it screened in Rwanda in 2005. It was only after Paul became critical of Kagame and a potential political threat that the smear campaign against Paul and the veracity of the film began. Kagame’s animosity for Paul has only grown over the years.

I don’t think the important question today is what happened at the Mille Collines 26 years ago. The important question is what’s happening to Paul right now. But this is the intent of authoritarian rulers and their propaganda: to put us on our heels defending what is right.

Tom Zoellner
Co-Author, An Ordinary Man Professor of English, Chapman University Politics Editor, The Los Angeles Review of Books

Our book was fact-checked line-by-line prior to its publication by one of the foremost scholars of the 1994 genocide. It was proclaimed truthful in every regard.

Neither Kier nor Philip Gourevitch came across anyone during their on-the-ground research who said Paul “took bribes,” “turned people over to the Interahamwe,” or committed any action that was counter to the initial (and still correct) version of events.

No factual challenge of Paul’s actions arose until after April 4, 2005 when the movie was screened (with Kagame’s approval) in Amahoro stadium to an audience of over 10,000 was responded positively. It was after that point that the relationship between the two men deteriorated.

I believe Kagame viewed Paul a rival for power. Paul also began sharpening his criticism of the regime in his public comments, and took aim at Kagame in one incendiary paragraph in his autobiography.

That’s when the smear campaign against him began, and negative stories about Paul began to run almost daily in the state-run media. People emerged (who had never come forward before) making all sorts of allegations out of left field.

We can debate whether Paul used his platform wisely after he attained widespread recognition, but I believe his actions during the genocide were exactly as he and multiple witnesses described them prior to his vociferous criticism of Rwanda’s authoritarian president.

Rwanda revisionism

Since 2004, the Rwandan government has pressured people who were with Paul at the Hotel Milles Collines to change their stories. The told the truth after the genocide, and now they are forced to tell Rwandan lies.

It’s unreasonable to think Paul could have helped each individual personally when there were more than 1,000 of them. Not all came into contact with Paul nor had any idea of what he did. But he did what he could do to make sure the interhamwe didn’t storm the hotel and slaughter them. The mere fact that they’re alive and making these statements is a testament to that.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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Urgent Appeal Filed To UN Special Rapporteur On Torture On Behalf Of Paul Rusesabagina

Humanitarian Famous For Saving 1,268 Rwandans During 1994 Genocide

WASHINGTON – Sep. 7, 2020 – Today, international counsel for Hotel Rwanda humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina filed an urgent appeal to Dr. Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Paul Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen who was brought illegally and involuntarily to Rwanda in an extraordinary rendition – no extradition process was followed. (Link to appeal at end of release)

In their appeal, lawyers Jared Genser and Brian Tronic of Perseus Strategies requested Dr. Melzer act urgently to assist Mr. Rusesabagina, who was “abducted, disappeared, and subjected to an extraordinary rendition from Dubai to Rwanda and is currently being held incommunicado by Rwandan authorities in Kigali.” They explained that he has had no contact with his family, authorized legal counsel, or Belgian diplomats (he is a citizen and has a right to consular access) for 11 days since his abduction. The appeal also provides the first complete narrative of the timeline of what has happened to Mr. Rusesabagina from August 28, 2020, to present.

Dr. Melzer was asked to open up an immediate investigation into Mr. Rusesabagina’s treatment and to reach out to the Government of Rwanda immediately to ensure his mental and physical integrity is respected, especially in light of his serious health issues, at least two of which (a heart condition and hypertension) require him to take ongoing medication.

They also emphasized that the combination of his ongoing and illegal incommunicado detention with President Paul Kagame’s false public statement that Mr. Rusesabagina “heads a group of terrorists that have killed Rwandans,” that he will “have to pay for these crimes,” and that he “has the blood of Rwandans on his hands” is not merely a flagrant denial of his right to the presumption of innocence, but could also provide license to the police or prisoner authorities to execute jailhouse justice rather than treat him in accordance with the rule of law.

Jared Genser, counsel to Mr. Rusesabagina further observed:

“We are gravely concerned for Paul’s health and welfare. President Kagame bragged about how his plan to bring Paul to Rwanda illegally worked ‘flawlessly’ and he continues to hold him incommunicado and without presenting him to a court where he could challenge the lawfulness of his detention. His shocking public declaration that Paul is guilty of being a terrorist and that he has the blood of Rwandans on his hands gives license to police and prison authorities to torture or murder him, outside any legal process. I urge the world to demand that Paul be immediately and unconditionally released. This is the only legal result that would be compatible with Rwanda’s obligations under international law because any legal action that emanates from an extraordinary rendition is illegal.”

Link to urgent appeal: https://www.perseus-strategies.com/wp-content/uploads/202…

#FreeRusesabagina 

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Rwanda Blocks Rusesabagina’s Real Lawyers

International Counsel for Rwandan Humanitarian Reject Claims of Lawyer in Rwanda Who Says He was Hired to Represent Him

CHICAGO – Sep. 6, 2020 – Paul Rusesabagina has been held incommunicado for nine days since being abducted from Dubai on August 28th. For the last several days, the lawyer for Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda has been denied access to Paul. Additionally, Rusesabagina has had no consular visits, no Red Cross visits and no communication allowed from his family.

Yesterday in Rwanda, a person unknown to the Rusesabagina family put on a sham press conference saying that he is the lawyer that Paul Rusesabagina has chosen. THAT IS NOT TRUE. This is another travesty of justice that the international community must not tolerate.

Paul Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen who was brought illegally to Rwanda and is a victim of extraordinary rendition. Paul did not voluntarily come to Rwanda and no extradition process was followed.

Today in Rwanda, President Kagame admitted to exactly that – and in fact said that his plan for extraordinary rendition “worked flawlessly.”

Belgian and US officials need to act now. Jared Genser, the newly-hired international pro bono counsel for Mr. Rusesagabina said that “They need to know that unlike US law, under international law, there is an “abuse of process” doctrine and legal precedent for requiring that a person who is kidnapped or brought involuntarily to a country should be released and his case dismissed.”

The process playing out right now in Rwanda is a kangaroo court process that the United States and Belgium can not condone.

Rusesabagina’s family has chosen an expert team of international human rights lawyers to represent him:

Gatera Gashabana, Rwanda

Vincent Lurquin, Belgium

Kate Gibson, Australia

Peter Robinson, United States

Jared Genser and Brian Tronic, United States

Philippe Larochelle, Canada

Paul’s family is shocked and outraged that there is a lawyer claiming publicly to represent him. Paul was abducted, disappeared, and the victim of an extraordinary rendition from Dubai to Rwanda on August 28th. For nine days, he has been held totally incommunicado. He has been denied access to his chosen local counsel who has repeatedly been turned away at the police station, to all family, and to the Government of Belgium, from which he has a right to a consular visit as a Belgian citizen.

There is no way Paul Rusesabagina would interview and voluntarily hire this lawyer without consulting with his own family first, let alone instruct him to hold a press conference without connecting with them in advance.

More importantly Mr. David Rugaza, the Rwandan lawyer who claims to represent Rusesabagina, is really just advancing the interests of the Government, as he said he welcomed representing Paul Rusesabagina in court. The “press conference” was held only in Kinyarwanda with only state media in attendance. This is unacceptable in a high profile international case.

Genser argues that “If he were really representing Paul, this would be a stunning and unforgivable act of gross malpractice. Any competent lawyer at the first press conference would reject any legal proceeding in Rwanda as invalid and ultra vires because it emanated from an illegal extraordinary rendition and call for Paul’s immediate and unconditional release.” Paul’s family calls upon the international community to demand the Government of Rwanda end this sham and immediately allow local counsel, the Red Cross and the Embassy of Belgium to visit him in prison.

On Friday August 28, 2020, Paul Rusesabagina was abducted and disappeared from Dubai and subjected to an extraordinary rendition to Rwanda. The Rwanda Bureau of Investigation claimed in a tweet on Monday August 31, 2020, that he was arrested through “international cooperation,” yet the United Arab Emirates strenuously objected. They said there is no agreement between UAE and Rwanda relating to extraditions and that he left on a private plane. Meanwhile, that same day, police officers brought him to their headquarters in Kigali and marched him in front of the media. Yet nine days after his abduction, disappearance, and extraordinary rendition, he continues to be held incommunicado.

According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: “Secret and/or incommunicado detention constitutes the most heinous violation of the norm protecting the right to liberty of a human being under customary international law. The arbitrariness is inherent in these forms of deprivation of liberty as the individual is left outside the cloak of any legal protection.” In addition, there are already a wide array of ways in which Mr. Rusesagabina’s abduction, disappearance, extraordinary rendition, and ongoing detention already violates both Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates’ obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, an international treaty to which both are state parties. Mr. Rusesabagina’s team will shortly file a formal complaint at the United Nations against Rwanda in relation to this situation and the violations of both domestic and international law in his case.

Paul Rusesabagina is a 66 year old citizen of Belgium and resident of the United States. His family is deeply concerned about his health and safety in prison. In addition to his age, Paul is a cancer survivor and suffers from a heart condition and hypertension, both requiring ongoing medication. Beyond the legal issues, the family urges Paul’s release on compassionate grounds.

Background – The Rusesabagina Legal Team

Gatera Gashabana, Rwanda – He was born in Kalehe, DRC, in 1957 and studied law at the University of Kinshasa and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, 1985. He was Court Appeal of Kinshasa Gombe between 1986 until 1998. He has been registered as an Attorney in Rwanda Bar Association since October 1999. He was elected as the President of the Rwandan Bar Association in August 2006 – 2008. He is also registered as an Advocate before the International Criminal Law and the MIRCT. Today, Gatera is a consultant to several Kigali organizations: practices commercial, civil, societies, labor, financial and criminal law. He speaks both French and English.

Vincent Lurquin, Belgium – A Belgian political leader and an internationally acclaimed lawyer who fights for human rights, refugees, and migrants, as well as serving as a criminal defense lawyer in cases with implications for the global good. Originally educated at the Royal Athenaeum in Koelkelberg, he then obtained a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Philosophy before entering the legal field. He has been registered with the Brussels Bar since 1983. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to civil rights and justice, starting with his work with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1999 to his management of legal representation for victims in the International Criminal Court. He also participated in the founding of the Citizen Network which aims to strengthen the rule of law in countries such as Rwanda, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9publique_d%C3%A9mocr…). He continues to serve in the Brussels Parliament and is devoted to international legal work for the advancement of justice, truth, and human rights.

Kate Gibson, Australia – Has been practicing before international criminal courts and tribunals since 2005, representing accused in cases involving Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Between 2009 and 2018, she was co-counsel of Former Vice-President of the DRC, Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba who was acquitted of all charges by the ICC Appeals Chamber. She also represents Rohingya victims in the Myanmar/Bangladesh situation at the ICC. Previously, she was the co-counsel of President Charles Taylor before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Co-Counsel for President Radovan Karadžić before the UN Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. At the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Kate was Lead Counsel of Minister Justin Mugenzi and Legal Assistant to General Gratien Kabiligi who were both acquitted of all charges. She is currently the Vice-President of the Association of Defence Counsel in The Hague and holds an LL.M in International Law from Cambridge University.

Peter Robinson, United States – An American lawyer who has defended persons accused at the International Criminal Court and international war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia for the past 20 years. He most recently served as Lead Counsel to former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic. Prior to beginning work at the international tribunals, Mr. Robinson was a federal prosecutor in the United States for 10 years, and then a criminal defense lawyer based in Northern California.

Jared Genser, United States – is Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, a public interest law firm, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Referred to by the New York Times as “The Extractor” for his work freeing political prisoners, he was previously a partner in the government affairs practice of DLA Piper LLP and a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. He will be co-Executive Director of a dramatic TV series that he recently sold with actor and producer Orlando Bloom to Amazon Studios for Prime Video (150 million viewers worldwide). His past clients have included former Czech Republic President Václav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Liu Xiaobo, Desmond Tutu, and Elie Wiesel. He holds a B.S. from Cornell University, an M.P.P. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was an Alumni Public Service Fellow, and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. His most recent book is The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Commentary and Guide to Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2019). He was a recipient of the American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Award.

Brian Tronic, United States – Counsel at Perseus Strategies. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia, where he​ double-majored in Math and Philosophy. After law school, he clerked for two years in the Vermont Superior Court, and then moved to South India to work at a human rights organization through the William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India. He then served as the Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights at Fordham Law School, an Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School (India), and the Supervising Attorney and Teaching Fellow at the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at the Georgetown Law Center. He is a member of the Massachusetts bar and the District of Columbia bar.

Philippe Larochelle, Canada – is one of the founding partners of Larochelle Avocats, a firm specializing in litigation based in Montreal, Canada. He has extensive experience in civil, criminal and Aboriginal law, both before Canadian and international courts. Since 1998, Mr. Larochelle has developed a private practice focusing on civil and criminal law before the Superior Courts, Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Since 2001, he has also practiced in international criminal law, representing clients before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Tanzania), the International Criminal Court (The Netherlands) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (The Netherlands). He has also published articles on the subject in both French and English.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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UPDATE: Paul Rusesabagina Wrongly Taken & Arrested in Rwanda, Denied Access to Lawyer for Second Day

CHICAGO – Sep. 4, 2020 – UPDATE: For the second day in a row, Paul Rusesabagina’s lawyer in Kigali was denied access to see him in the jail. The Rwanda Investigation Bureau has said that someone called on behalf of Paul Rusesabagina to say that they had a team of lawyers for him but that is not true. He has had no Consular visits. While the Rwanda Government said that they talked to his sons about visiting him, that is not true. Paul’s wife has called the jail and has not been allowed to talk to him.

Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian famous for saving 1,200 refugees during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, whose true story was told in the film Hotel Rwanda, has been arrested while traveling.

“We believe Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped and taken by extraordinary rendition to Rwanda,” said a spokesperson for the family. “We knew he was flying to Dubai for a meeting from San Antonio and return to San Antonio on Tuesday per his flight bookings. (He took Emirates 236 from Chicago to Dubai on Thursday, August 27 and was scheduled to return from Dubai to Chicago on Emirates 235 on Wednesday, September 2 Confirmation JYJQF6. He had a separate itinerary from San Antonio to Chicago and back.) We have read press reports that he got on to a plane that traveled from Dubai to Kigali. We do not know whether he walked on to the plane misled by the destination, or was dragged on to plane. Either way he was a Belgian citizen being taken against his will in to Rwanda. Paul Rusesabagina would never knowingly get on to a plane bound for Kigali.

President Kagame’s forces have attempted to harm Rusesabagina repeatedly over the last fifteen years. Rusesabagina would know that if he went to Kigali he would end up dead, disappeared, or in prison.

Rusesabagina ended up under arrest in Kigali. He is being held by President Paul Kagame’s government on false charges. He is a regular critic of human rights violations in Rwanda, and the Rwandan government regularly brings false charges against all critics in order to try to silence them.

The Rwandan government has been attempting to discredit Rusesabagina since the movie Hotel Rwanda appeared in 2004. He is seen as a famous Rwandan in exile who is embarrassing to Kagame and his authoritarian government. The various charges against Rusesabagina were shown to be false on many occasions, but Rwanda continued to pursue him. Rwandan agents have regularly followed Rusesabagina for over a decade, including invading his home, threatening his life, and frequently attempting to disrupt his public and private speeches.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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Humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina Kidnapped and Detained by Rwandan Government

CHICAGO – Aug. 31, 2020 – Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian whose true story was told in the movie Hotel Rwanda has been arrested while traveling. “We believe he was kidnapped and taken by extraordinary rendition to Rwanda. He is being held by President Paul Kagame’s government on false charges. Rusesabagina is a regular critic of human rights violations in Rwanda, and the Rwandan government regularly brings false charges against all critics in order to try to silence them,” said a spokesperson for the family.

No one from his family has talked to him. Paul’s family is extremely concerned about his health and well being and is pleading with the international community to get involved, to visit him and make certain that he is safe, and to insure his swift release.

About:

Paul Rusesabagina is the real life hero of the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda and the President and Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation.

As portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the film, Rusesabagina saved the lives of more than 1,200 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rusesabagina served as manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali and bravely risked his life to shelter Hutus and Tutsis who were seeking refuge from the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. His popular autobiography, An Ordinary Man, was published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. in April 2006.

In order to further the mission of his foundation, Rusesabagina now tours the world speaking about social justice, human rights activism and the lessons learned from the Rwandan genocide, one of the worst tragedies of the 20th century. He has spoken to large organizations of journalists, educators, students, policymakers, business leaders and human rights advocates throughout Europe and the United States. Rusesabagina describes his experiences during the horrific genocide, the terror and the helplessness of the people he sheltered, and the ways in which governments, non-governmental organizations and ordinary people can work together to prevent genocide throughout the world.

In 2000, Paul Rusesabagina received the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity. In 2005 he received the the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush. That same year, Rusesabagina was also honored with the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Humanitarian Award from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

After receiving these honors, Rusesabagina formed the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/Hotel-Rwanda-Rusesabagina-Founda…)
to help provide a voice to victims of genocide and support peace efforts in Rwanda and throughout the world. What started as a personal mission to teach the lessons of Rwanda has become an international movement to fight genocide throughout the world.

Paul Rusesabagina continues to be the President of the foundation, a 501c3 public not-for-profit charity, based in Chicago Illinois.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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