Rwandan opposition leader asks court to restore her civic rights

Rwanda's Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, a prominent opposition figure and government critic, has filed a case before the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) seeking a re-establishment of her civic rights, including the right to stand in the next elections.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza initiated proceedings earlier this week.

In March 2024, the High Court in Rwanda controversially denied Ingabire Umuhoza’s application for rehabilitation, "preventing her from recovering her civic rights, including the right to travel out of Rwanda and to participate in any elections in Rwanda", her lawyers wrote in a press release.

Ingabire Umuhoza is represented by a multinational legal team, including Rwandan lawyer Gatera Gashabana, as well as Kenyan and European lawyers.

The High Court’s decision represents "the latest episode in a series of systematic efforts by the Rwandan State to prevent Ms Ingabire Umuhoza from participating, in any way, in Rwandan political life", they added.

A few days before filing the case Ingabire told RFI English, "I want to get my civic rights back.

"My party cannot be registered. Three party members have been killed. Four are missing. And nine are in prison. There is literally no space for opposition in Rwanda."

Long-time opponent

At 66, Rwanda's President, Paul Kagame, a former military officer and Tutsi rebel, is running for a fifth mandate, after having been the head of state since 2000.

Ingabire Umuhoza left Rwanda in March 1994 to study and live in the Netherlands.

Instead, she was arrested and convicted to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Read more on RFI English

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