Eron Kiiza and Antony Odur, of Kiiza & Mugisha Advocates, have taken up the plea of Innocent Rwandans detained illegally and arbitrarily in Uganda by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). They held a press conference and issued a press release on the blatant violations facing Rwanda nationals in Uganda. Since 2017, they have been fighting to secure the release or a trial for innocent Rwandans in CMI secret detention centers.
The advocates face an uphill battle in their search for justice. Typically, CMI victims are held incommunicado –without any communication – with no access to family, consular, or legal assistance, reads the communiqué in part. Whenever they seek court orders to have CMI produce those illegally detained, the military intelligence either ignores the order or moves the matter to military court with trumped-up charges. Sadly, even those charged do not actually get to face their charges as court dates are almost never set. Kiiza and Odur expressed frustration that the prosecution, when faced with a lack of evidence does not drop charges but instead bring in new charges.
The press conference also served as a call for torture to stop. All those who are rescued from CMI dungeons report serve physical and psychological abuse and torture. Lawyers even had to take the precaution of not revealing names of the detained fearing CMI would do more harm to their captives. They did, however, highlight several high profile cases that illustrate the complete breakdown of the rule of law and order. Cases like Rene Rutagungira, Irakaremye Claude, Rwamucyo Emmanuel and Rutayisire Augustine have all the hallmarks of gross miscarriages of justice.
In August 2017, Rutangungira was abducted from a bar in Kampala by CMI. They kept him incommunicado for almost two years, he was tortured, his charges kept changing and up to now, he has no court date set. Rutayisire Augustine, saw himself accused of gun possession charges by the brother of the CMI boss, Brig-Gen. Kandiho Abel.
The innocent Rwandans’ lawyer recognized that their clients’ cases are politically motivated detentions. In reality, from CMI survivors’ testimonies, their clients are victims of a hostile policy by the Ugandan regime to forcefully recruit Rwandans in the RNC terrorist groups. Survivors recount how RNC members actively participate in torturing Rwandans in CMI centers. There are no charges for their clients to answer, they are victims of a decision taken by the Kampala regime to persecute Rwandans who refuse to join their enterprise to destabilize Rwanda.