RIB speaks out on parading suspects

RIB speaks out on parading suspects
RIB speaks out on parading suspects

Africa-Press – Rwanda. Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has defended its practice of parading people before they are convicted, saying it does not violate the principle of presumption of innocence.

In an interview with a local TV station on Tuesday, January 11, Thierry Murangira, the RIB Spokesperson said that when RIB parades a suspect, they clearly state that these are suspects and not convicts of the alleged crime.

“We always say that they are suspected of committing the crimes. We don’t call them criminals,” he said, adding that parading of suspects is not prohibited by any law.

He noted that the parading of suspects is part of the RIB’s efforts to fulfill its responsibilities which are: preventing crimes, assisting the citizens get information regarding crimes and how they are committed, as well as making sure that there is cooperation between RIB and the citizens.

“One of the ways we prevent crimes is by exposing their nature, ways through which they are committed and those who are suspected of committing such crimes. This assists people to understand much about crimes, so that they can know how to protect themselves from them,” he said.

“In addition, it is the citizens’ rights to be given information in regard to crimes,” he added.

He however noted that there should be a good sense of responsibility and professionalism from the media organisations as they cover the parading of the suspects. Here, he called upon the media to avoid catchy and exaggerated headlines.

He also asked them to take the step to continue following the cases all the way to the courts of law, until final judgement so that they give citizens complete information.

“Every institution does its work. The work of RIB is accountability, where we present to citizens the modus-operandi of the crimes. Now, the media also has a role to play, by being professional in the way they work,” he said.

RIB and the Rwanda National Police’s practice of parading suspects has faced criticism from society, for instance, a letter publicized recently which was written by CLADHO, a local umbrella of human rights organisations in Rwanda and addressed to the Ministry of Justice indicates that it is “unfair” and “unlawful” to parade people in such a way.

Among other things, CLADHO cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its Article 11 which indicates that everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which they have had all the guarantees necessary for defence, including a right to a lawyer.

CLADHO also cited Article 12 which says: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

In addition, the organisation also made reference to Rwanda’s 2018 Law determining offenses and penalties in general which prohibits secretly listening to, or disclosing, people’s confidential statements, taking a photo, audio or visual recording or disclosing them without one’s authorisation.

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