Who is Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza ?

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is the President of United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), a political party of democratic opposition to the authoritarian regime of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. On 16 January 2010, after seventeen years of exile in the Netherlands, she returned to Rwanda to register her party and stand for the presidential elections that were scheduled for August of the same year.
She returned to Rwanda accompanied by unarmed civilian assistant, committed and inspired by the principles of non-violence and peace building. She did not hide her desire for inclusion, justice for all and national dialogue that should lead to a transition to a pluralist democracy convenient to all Rwandans. Regretting that all regime changes in Rwanda were, without any exception, achieved through military coups, Victoire Ingabire wanted a democratic and constitutional change, based on the principles of the rule of law to ensure social justice.


Her troubles began after her arrival in Kigali, with a rough media lynching campaign. In April 2010, she was arrested and then released and placed under house arrest. On 14 October 2010, she was again arrested, mistreated by the police and detained at the Central Prison of Kigali where she is still detained. On December 13, 2013, Victoire Ingabire was condemned by the supreme court of Kigali to 15 years of prison.


Her trial was marred by serious irregularity with political motivations. This trial was denounced by the defenders of human rights, emong others, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Mr. Maina KIAI, Rapporteur of the United Nations for the human rights, in load of Rwanda, in his final report/ratio (A/HRC/20/20/Add.2 of June 10, 2014). All these oraganizations characterized the trial as unfair because the charges were political, the evidence unreliable.


On 13 September 2012, Victoire Ingabire was nominated, together with two other Rwandan political figures, Bernard Ntaganda and Deogratias Mushyayidi, for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2012.


The European Parliament, in its resolution 2013/2641(RSP) of 23 May 2013 on Rwanda : Case of Victoire Ingabire, Strongly condemns the politically motivated nature of the trial, the prosecution of political opponents and the prejudging of the trial outcome ; it called on the Rwandan judiciary to ensure a prompt and fair appeal for Ms Victoire Ingabire that meets the standards set by Rwandan and international law.


Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza appealed to the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). Two days prior to the hearing on 4 March 2016 by the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the Rwandan Government notified the court that it would not appear before it.


In a second resolution on Rwanda, the case of Victoire Ingabire (2016/2910(RSP)) of 06.10.2016, the European Parliament « calls for a prompt and impartial review of Ms Ingabire’s case, based on facts, in accordance with the law and without any restrictions, improper influences, pressures or threats ; calls for Victoire Ingabire’s rights, including her access to legal representation and adequate food and treatment, to be upheld in prison. »