Lin Muyizere

Right to freedom of opinion and expression. Right to freedom of assembly and association.
United Democratic Forces (FDU) of Rwanda

Lin Muyizere is a Rwandan activist and husband of Victoire Ingabire, president of the United Democratic Forces (UDF) coalition of opposition parties formed by members of the Rwandan diaspora. Both and their children took refuge in the Netherlands, just before the genocide in Rwanda, more than 20 years ago. In 2010, his wife returned to Rwanda in order to present her to the elections in her country, an action that ended with a sentence of 15 years in prison for the candidate for having a speech against the ideology of the ruling party. The husband of the “Rwandan Mandela” expects the international community to help bring good results, he spread the country’s reality in the world and also promotes the book that his wife wrote from prison, “Entre les 4 murs du 1930”.

Lin Muyizere, very critic with the regime of Paul Kagame, has seen jeopardized in recent times his right to reside in the Netherlands. In October 2014, he knew that the Dutch immigration services accused him of crimes of genocide, based on three anonymous sources. From the Human Rights Watch, Anneke Van Woudenberg warned: “It seems that the Dutch authorities have not studied or verified enough the information received. A decision of this kind cannot be based on vague suspicions. Mr. Muyizere is the husband of one of the Rwandan opposition figures that have been jailed after a process full of irregularities. […] The Dutch government must try not become a victim of political manipulation.” The process against Muyizere is still open. If the indictment is confirmed, he could lose the Dutch nationality, achieved in 2011.

Interview with Lin Muyizere

What is your diagnosis of the current situation in Rwanda?

Rwanda is like a boiling pot. While the pot is covered, we almost don’t see what’s inside. But when the internal pressure becomes very strong, the lid pops off
and there is an explosion. Currently, the attention of the international community is focused on Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, Rwanda should be the first, because if action is not taken, there is a risk that the consequences could more catastrophic than in Burundi or the DRC. Moreover, it should be taken into account that Rwanda is involved in the problems in these two countries.

Victoire and yourself have been questioning the lack of public recognition for the pain suffered by hutus marginalized in the Rwandan conflict, and the censored reports.

It is forbidden to talk about it in Rwanda. When a person makes any reference, it is accused of denialism, double genocide and other evils. In part, my wife is paying for having dared to speak out loud. None of the former rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), currently in power, has not been prosecuted for its crimes, neither at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda nor after the publication of a UN report (Mapping Report) that documents very well the massacres of the Hutus. According to this study, some of the massacres can be qualified as genocide. Other earlier reports, such as the one by Gersony (1995) or Garreton (1997), have also denounced these massacres. Their authors have always been marginalized, and the reports censored.

What is the responsibility of the international community in all this?

First of all, the international community abandoned the Rwandan people when it withdrew the United Nations mission (MINUAR) and the “white helmets” from the country, after the assassination of the president of Rwanda Habyarimana and in the situation of chaos that followed. Subsequently, the blaming of the international community, supported with care by the the RPF regime, has paralyzed the international community, which does not dare to open its eyes in the face of repression.

What is the role of the media in relation to the lack of freedom in Rwanda?

With the exception of the BBC and Reporters Sans Frontières, the rest of the media has generally been guilty of excessive optimism and confidence.

At the cost of millions of dollars, paid to lobbying agencies, the government has managed to present a misleading image of reality. It has been necessary for the regime to attack some of these media to make them realize that they were wrong.

You run the risk of being stripped of your Dutch nationality and expelled to Kigali. Where are you now?

This process is part of the enigmas of the Kigali regime. My case has attracted more attention, but it is not isolated. When the RPF regime finds you annoying, it draws the weapon of genocide. Whether you participated or not, it doesn’t matter. There are even Rwandans who died before the genocide took place who have been included in the lists of genocides. Personally, I have been accused of crimes related to genocide on the basis of statements I made in Arusha, as a protected witness. I have testified before the immigration services and now I am waiting for the verdict.

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