Posted Tuesday, June 1 2010 at 18:14
- The delay in resolving the case will rule out Ingabire from contesting presidential elections
- Politician's American lawyer was arrested in Kigali
After promising a swift trial, prosecution in Rwanda now says that investigations into opposition figure Victoire Ingabire could take up to a year, potentially blocking the politician from the 2010 presidential elections.
Ms Ingabire was arrested in April on charges of ‘genocide ideology, divisionism and colluding with a Hutu ethnic rebel group in the Congo'.
If she gets convicted of the charges, she could spend decades in prison.
More than a month later, the government says that investigations are ongoing, but in a recent interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation’s local Kinyarwanda-language service, Ms Ingabire said she would no longer talk to investigators.
“We have enunciated the requirements of the law that limits the investigations to a year,” said prosecution spokesperson Augustin Nkusi.
“The court will deal with the case in a timely fashion."
Days after she was arrested, the prosecution introduced three key witnesses in the case. They are former rebel soldiers who claimed the politician had contacted them over military operations.
In a recent interview, President Paul Kagame said that the government had gathered "overwhelming" evidence against Ms Ingabire.
Last week, the politician’s American lawyer was also arrested in Rwanda, and charged with denying the genocide.
Ms Ingabire’s troubles began when she arrived back in Rwanda to run for president in January and, upon visiting the country’s largest genocide memorial, claimed that crimes committed against Hutus in 1994 by the current ruling party had gone unpunished.