News has broken of the arrest for genocide denial of Prof Peter Erlinder, the American lawyer currently in Rwanda to defend opposition leader and potential presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire. The arrest comes at a time when the government has been insisting Erlinder is yet to seek authorisation to practice in the country even after having stayed there for a week.
Prof Erlinder, a reknowned lawyer will probably be familiar with events and the dealings of the establishment in Kigali having worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as a defence spokesperson. He appeared on a leaked paper from the Rwandan government that contained names of individuals mainly foreigners to be eliminated for damaging Rwanda’s image. He thus will have ventured into known territory.
But his arrest will go a long way to prove that Rwanda, and most notably Paul Kagame, will do anything to eliminate any competition and if a senior lawyer can be accused of denying the genocide based on his work and the fact he has expressed interest in defending an opposition candidate, then be very afraid if you are the local Rwandan with interest in democracy and fairness.
More to follow…