Human rights lawyer threatens legal action against Uganda government over detained Rwandans

Human rights lawyer and activist Eron Kiiza is threatening to drag Uganda to International Court of Justice over the alleged illegal detention of nearly 100 Rwandan nationals.

Kiiza told journalists in Kampala that his clients, Rene Rutagungira, Claude Iyakaremye, Augustine Rutayisire and Emmanuel Rwamuchwe   who were arrested in 2017 are some of the Rwandan civilians he claims to be in detention at Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) headquarters at Mbuya.

“More than 100 Rwandans are being detained at CMI Mbuya and no answers are being given. This illegal detention has gone for years since 2017when the first high profile casualty that is Rene Rutagungira was arrested”, Kiiza said.

By detaining the suspects at CMI, Kiiza said, is tantamount to a human rights violation.

“CMI has a history of torturing detainees. All the clients we have been able to rescue from CMI complain of physical and psychological torture”, Kiiza said.

Kiiza wants the government to release all Rwandans in military detention unconditionally and to also urge the CMI to refrain from acts of  torture.

He says that the civilian Rwandans should be handed over to Police which has gazetted detention centres and is legally empowered to carry out investigations.

“Lately there has been a frenzy of diplomatic efforts to ease tension but the situation of our clients in military courts is not improving as their prosecution has stalled years after they were charged”, he said.

In August, Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni signed an agreement in the Angolan capital, Luanda aimed at ending easing tensions between the two neighbors.

This was followed by another meeting in Kigali, Rwanda last month at which the two countries committed to implementing the Luanda pact leading to the release of some 32 Rwandans who had been held over espionage charges.