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Rwanda: Fear of further political killings: Placide Koloni, administrator of Ruhango sub-prefecture; Immaculee Nyirambibi, his wife; Marie-Claire Umutoniwase, his daughter; Caline Uwamahoro, his daughter; Seraphine Murekatete, his servant; Pie Ntahobali,

, Index number: AFR 47/016/1995

Recent killings, apparently politically-motivated, have heightened fears for the safety of people released from detention because of insufficient evidence of their involvement in the 1994 massacres. On 27 July 1995, Placide Koloni, his wife and daughters (both under 16) and his servant were killed at their home by unidentified attackers. Placide Koloni had been reinstated as administrator of Ruhango sub-prefecture on August 1994. In February 1995 he was arbitrarily arrested and accused of taking part in the 1994 massacres. He was imprisoned in Gitarama Prison but released on 24 July 1995, on the recommendation of the Commission de triage. He and his family were killed three days later. In separate incidents two other men were killed: the body of Pie Ntahobali, a Hutu priest who had tried to protect Tutsis during the massacres, was found on 2 August. He had been taken away by soldiers the evening before. The same night, the body of Oreste Habinshuti was found in a river. The identity of his killers is unknown.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 47/16/95
UA 195/95 Fear of further political killings 9 August 1995
RWANDAPlacide KOLONI, administrator of Ruhango sub-prefecture
Immaculée NYIRAMBIBI, wife of Placide Koloni
Marie-Claire UMUTONIWASE, daughter of Placide Koloni
Caline UWAMAHORO, daughter of Placide Koloni
Séraphine MUREKATETE, Placide Koloni's servant
Pie NTAHOBALI, Roman Catholic priest
Oreste HABINSHUTI, former administrator of Gikongoro sub-prefecture
Recent killings, apparently politically-motivated, have heightened fears for
the safety of other individuals who may be similarly targeted. People released
from prison because there is insufficient evidence of their involvement in
the 1994 massacres are believed to be particularly at risk.
On 27 July 1995, Placide Koloni, together with his wife Immaculée Nyirambibi,
his daughters Marie-Claire Umutoniwase and Caline Uwamahoro (both under 16
years old) and his servant, Séraphine Murekatete, were killed at their home
by unidentified attackers. The attackers killed them with weapons including
knives and clubs, then set their house on fire, with the five bodies inside.
Soldiers of the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) were reportedly seen very near
the house.
Placide Koloni was the administrator (sous-préfet) of Ruhango sub-prefecture
in the prefecture of Gitarama. He had held the same post under the previous
government which dismissed him apparently because he tried to protect people
from massacres in his sub-prefecture. He was reinstated by the current
government in August 1994. On 14 February 1995, he was arbitrarily arrested
and accused of taking part in the 1994 massacres. He was imprisoned in Gitarama
Prison, where the conditions resulting from overcrowding are notoriously harsh.
On 24 July, he was released on the recommendation of a screening committee
known as Commission de triage. Screening committees have been set up to study
the cases of over 40,000 prisoners held without trial and to release those
against whom there is insufficient evidence. He was killed three days later.
Amnesty International is concerned that prisoners such as Placide Koloni who
are released because of insufficient evidence against them become obvious
targets for reprisals as soon as they are released. The decision to release
him and three others from Gitarama prison on 24 July prompted protests against
the release of those branded as perpetrators of genocide (génocidaires). One
of those released, Wenceslas Sekaziga, a former judge at canton level in the
commune of Musambira, was subsequently rearrested and re-imprisoned because
of these protests.
The government has announced it will launch an inquiry into the killing of
Placide Koloni and his family. Details on the progress of this inquiry are
not available. The government has announced inquiries into the killing of
several other Hutu officials but their findings have not been revealed.
In separate incidents, the bodies of two men were discovered on 2 August.
One was that of Pie Ntahobali, a Roman Catholic priest, who had been taken
away by soldiers from his home in Kamonyi on the evening of 1 August. A peasant
found his body the following day in a banana plantation less than two kilometres
away from his parish; he had been shot through the eye. Pie Ntahobali was
a Hutu priest who had tried to protect Tutsi seeking refuge in his parish during
the mass killings of Tutsi by the former government forces and militia in 1994.
2
After the present government of Rwanda took power, Hutu residents in his parish
used to talk to the priest about their own experiences of ongoing human rights
violations by the army in their area.
The same night, the body of Oreste Habinshuti, former sous-prefet of Gikongoro,
was discovered in a river on the border of Gikongoro and Butare prefectures,
in a deserted location. The identity of his killers and the reasons for this
attack are not known.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
There have been several other incidents of killings and "disappearances" since
the present government of Rwanda took power in July 1994. Even though these
are far fewer than the killings which took place under the former government
of Rwanda, they nevertheless form a pattern which indicates that individuals
perceived as opponents of the government and those who speak out against current
human rights violations are at risk of being targeted, either by armed groups
with the complicity of the security forces or, in some cases, by the security
forces themselves.
Individuals released from prison because of insufficient evidence that they
have taken part in the genocide (the most common accusation against the tens
of thousands of prisoners currently held in Rwanda without charge or trial)
are especially at risk. As international pressure mounts for the acceleration
of the process of releasing from the overcrowded prisons those against whom
there is no proof of guilt, Amnesty International fears that there may be further
killings after such releases. The lack of progress in the reconstruction of
the judicial system in Rwanda is accentuating the frustration of the population
which is still waiting for justice for the crimes committed by the former
government and militia particularly between April and July 1994. It is also
encouraging people to take the law into their own hands.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in French, English or your own language:
- expressing deep concern at the killing of Placide Koloni, his wife, their
two young daughters and their servant on 27 July and the killing of Father
Pie Ntahobali and Oreste Habinshuti on 2 August;
- asking the government to make public the result of its inquiry into the killing
of Placide Koloni and his family and ensure that those responsible are brought
to justice;
- asking the government to launch an inquiry into the killings of Pie Ntahobali
and Oreste Habinshuti, as well as into all other incidents which appear to
be political killings and to make the results public; mention as an example
that there has still not been an investigation into the killing of Pierre-Claver
Rwangabo, the prefect of Butare, on 4 March 1995;
- asking the government, in conjunction with the local authorities, to guarantee
the protection of those released from prison; stressing that such individuals
are especially at risk as they may be perceived as criminals by the local
population; ask the government to explain to the population that prisoners
are being released because there is insufficient evidence against them and
that they should not be considered guilty until charged and tried.
APPEALS TO:
Son Excellence Pasteur BIZIMUNGU
Président de la République
3
Présidence de la République
BP 15, Kigali, Rwanda
Faxes: +250 84769; +250 83975
Telegrams: President Bizimungu, Kigali, Rwanda
Telexes: 22502
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République / Dear President
Général Major Paul KAGAME
Vice-Président de la République et Ministre de la Défense
Présidence de la République
BP 15, Kigali, Rwanda
Faxes: +250 83980; +250 84769
Telegrams: Vice-President Kagame, Kigali, Rwanda
Salutation: Monsieur le Vice-Président / Dear Vice-President
Maître Alphonse-Marie NKUBITO
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
Kigali, Rwanda
Faxes: +250 74915; +250 86396; +250 74583
Telegrams: Ministre de la Justice, Kigali, Rwanda
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
diplomatic representatives of RWANDA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 22 September 1995.

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