One Year On, No justice for Kizito Mihigo

Some 40 genocide survivors and their friends petitioned the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, a year ago, calling for a joint-international inquiry into the assassination of their fellow genocide survivor, Gospel Singer, and Peace activist Kizito Mihigo. One year on, our call remains unheeded so far. 

February 21, 2020

To:  His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

RE: Request for a Joint International Investigation into the Death of the Tutsi Genocide Survivor, Gospel Singer and Peace Activist, Kizito Mihigo.

Following the tragic death of Kizito Mihigo inside the Rwandan Police detention facility, early this week, we, the genocide survivors and undersigned friends, urge the government of Rwanda to launch a joint-international investigation into the circumstances leading to the controversial death of Kizito Mihigo.

A short public statement issued by the Rwanda National Police, February 17, stated that Kizito Mihigo took his own life while in police custody located in the capital Kigali.

Like many Rwandans, and non-Rwandans alike, we received the news of the sudden death of Kizito Mihigo with great shock, disbelief and some degrees of suspicion.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom suggesting that all death inquiries should be conducted as a homicide investigation until the facts have proven differently, the Rwandan authorities confirmed suicide claim even before the evaluation of any basic facts, such as post-mortem report by a qualified medical examiner. Considering this flaw and many other irregularities to conduct a credible investigation in line with international legal standards, we call the government of Rwanda to launch an independent joint international inquiry without delay and to make public the investigation findings promptly.

As we continue to mourn the heartbreaking loss of Kizito Mihigo, we firmly believe that an independent joint international investigation between the Rwandan Government and independent non-governmental experts is of paramount importance. Such an initiative will bring closure to the cruel uncertainty we are stuck in now, restore the Rwanda police public trust and clear the suspicion of a staged murder of the 38-year old gospel singer who never had any known life-threatening behavior that would suggest suicide intent.

We, the undersigned, reaffirm our grave concern relating to the current flawed investigation into the controversial death of Kizito Mihigo, and, therefore, request a joint international inquiry following the international legal standards of investigation.
Yours sincerely,

Copy for Information
– António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
– Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
– Father Gonzalo Aemilius, Personal Secretary to His Holiness Pope Francis
– Archbishop Andrzej Józwowicz, Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda
– Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
– Augustin Iyamuremye, President of the Senate of Rwanda
– Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Government of Rwanda
– Johnston Busingye, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Rwanda
– Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch
– Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
– Julie Verhaar, Acting Secretary General at Amnesty International
– International Federation for Human Rights
– African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
– National Commission for Human Rights, Rwanda

For media inquiries please contact Dr. Philippe Basabose, at bafilipo@gmail.com  or myself at gasakeu@gmail.com

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