On the recent visit of Rwanda’s Justice Minister to the International Criminal Court in the Hague and prospects of Rwanda partnering with the court:
President Kagame said that the Minister of Justice had held various meetings during his visit to the Netherlands, including a visit to the ICC. He pointed out that the court’s Prosecutor had earlier visited Rwanda where the country’s position on the ICC was reiterated, therefore the visit to the Netherlands was not necessarily aimed at conveying Rwanda’s stand. He noted that Rwanda’s interest is not limited to the ICC but with the wider question of international justice. This should based on the principle of equal justice for all nations and people and should not be influenced by the history of nations; their alliances and affiliations; or their level of economic development…
On contingency plans for extradition of suspects after the closure on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda:
President Kagame said that there have been consistent efforts over the years to engage countries harboring genocide suspects aimed at ensuring justice is done – either by having suspects tried in these countries, by handing them over to the ICTR before it winds up, or through extradition to Rwanda so that the country’s justice system can try the suspects. He noted that all these possibilities have been pursued sometimes without the desired result but that the efforts will continue both during ICTR’s existence and beyond.
On relations with France, including reports of President Sarkozy’s visit to Rwanda, and what the Government intends to do with the Mutsinzi Report
President Kagame said that documentation of Rwanda’s history is necessary so that the facts are clear about who was involved in the genocide both from within and without, and so that lessons can be learned. However the President said that this was independent of Rwanda’s relationship with France or other countries.
President Kagame said Rwanda wished to relate well and have mutually beneficial partnerships with its neighbours and other countries globally.
President Kagame pointed out that official indications were that President Sarkozy would be visiting Rwanda soon and that the visit will certainly have implications on the development of Rwanda’s relationship with France.
On decision to stand for President in upcoming elections
President Kagame said that there remains the issue of nomination by his party, the RPF,. He said that having served since 2003 and being eligible constitutionally to stand for a last term, there should be no reason not to continue to serve as he owes his duty to the country. He however said he would not take things for granted even though the there were no reasons to think that the RFP would not want him to stand. Being elected Chairman of the party was a first, but not automatic, step towards nomination, the President said.
On statements and actions of presidential aspirant Victoire Ingabire
President Kagame noted that although she is being referred to as opposition leader or presidential candidate, Ingabire does not have political status according to the law as she has not yet fulfilled any of the requirements. He said that the government and relevant state agencies should act with care and within the law and that if she should be reprimanded, this should be done transparently in accordance within the law. He said that Ingabire had gone too far in abusing the country’s goodwill and in attempting to destroy the positive steps that have been registered and that eventually the law would catch up with her.
President Kagame emphasized that Rwanda’s security and people’s rights should not be infringed upon and that the government will always strive to be transparent in order to account for its actions at all times, and that this was among his responsibilities in the eyes of Rwandans who elected had him.
Regarding other opposition politicians who are threatening not to participate in the upcoming elections if their demands are not met, President Kagame said everyone was entitled to express themselves and that this was not cause for alarm among citizens. Ultimately the country’s institutions and laws are not affected by these opinions, and that Rwanda was not a country that would be shaken either by those within or by external factors.
On how the upcoming elections should be defined
President Kagame said that this year’s elections should be characterized by peace, security and stability that will allow Rwandans to fully, freely and fairly express on their choice of leader. He noted that Rwandans should be able to participate elections without disruption to the normalcy and productivity of daily life and that, even though this may be complex to manage given Rwanda’s young economy, people should be allowed to exercise their freedom of choice
On problems with settlement in Kigali
President Kagame said that the main problem in resettling residents in Kigali is delays- some understandable and others unjustified. He noted that sometimes authorities made decisions to resettle people only to discover that they lacked the necessary resources to compensate them. He called on authorities to ensure adequate planning to avoid disorganising residents.
On the fate of evictees from Gishwati Forest
President Kagame acknowledged that the resettlement of people from Gishwati forest had been poorly handled from the outset, and said that some leaders had exploited the situation for their own benefit. He pointed out that a solution had now been found and those affected had been resettled on government land and will not have to move back to the forest.
On ICT development in Rwanda, the planned Carnegie-Mellon University regional centre of excellence and Karisimbi mast:
President Kagame pointed out that Rwanda has been sending students to study at the renowned Carnegie-Mellon University and said that building on the partnership developed both with the University, the need to train many more students, as well as the support of corporations including CISCO, IBM, Microsoft and EMC, Rwanda had began the establishment of centre for higher education in ICT. This institution will serve not only Rwanda but the region and contribute to the continent’s development.
On what is expected of media in this election year:
President Kagame pointed out that the government has the responsibility to build the capacity of the media. He said that it was essential for the media to identify with the society within which they operate, and to be guided by a set of values. He noted that often the media in developing countries lack position, context and values in addition to lack of capacity.
President Kagame said that media in Rwanda should first and foremost have in mind the interests of the country, and that they should focus on the need for peaceful and fair elections – with the goal of fostering a better nation.