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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 173rd session (Geneva, 3 October 2003)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Léonard Hitimana, a member of the Transitional National Assembly of Rwanda dissolved on 22 August 2003, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in accordance with the "Procedure for the examination and treatment, by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, of communications concerning violations of human rights of parliamentarians",

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/173/11(b)-R.1), which contains a detailed outline of the case,

Considering that Mr. Léonard Hitimana disappeared in the night of 7 to 8 April 2003 after paying a visit to a friend in Kigali; according to one of the sources, he was abducted by the Rwandan intelligence service (DMI); his car was found on 9 April near the Ugandan border and, according to one of the sources, was left there to give the impression that Mr. Hitimana had left the country,

Considering that, in his letter of 12 May 2003, the President of the Transitional National Assembly confirmed that Mr. Hitimana had been reported missing and that his car had been found near the Ugandan border, in the town of Kaniga in Byumba province; he stated that upon learning of his disappearance, he had immediately alerted the security services so that "an investigation might be conducted to shed full light on the situation"; with regard to the allegation of a kidnapping by the DMI, the President noted that the Transitional National Assembly would await the investigation findings before stating its views on the matter,

Considering that Mr. Hitimana's name appeared in a report dated 17 March 2003 of a special parliamentary oversight committee set up in December 2002 to examine the structures and policies of the Democratic Republic Movement (Mouvement démocratique républicain, MDR) to which Mr. Hitimana belonged; Mr. Hitimana, along with other persons, was accused in that report of belonging to a group of persons allegedly aiming to disseminate an ideology of divisive ethnic discrimination; noting that the report, a copy of which was forwarded to the Committee, did not contain any evidence or other elements substantiating the accusation brought against Mr. Hitimana,

Considering that, as a result of that report, the MDR, one of the eight parties represented in the Transitional National Assembly, was dissolved and therefore could not participate in the legislative elections held from 29 September to 2 October 2003,

Bearing in mind that Rwanda is a party to the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights and is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which guarantee the right to life, liberty and security of person,

Noting finally that the new Constitution adopted by referendum on 26 May 2003 put an end to the transition period following the genocide of 1994, and that presidential elections were held in August 2003 and legislative elections in September/October 2003,

  1. Thanks the President of the now dissolved Transitional National Assembly for the information he provided;

  2. Is deeply concerned at the disappearance of Mr. Hitimana, and fears that it may be related to the unsubstantiated accusations made against him in the report of the parliamentary oversight committee and to the allegation that the Rwandan Intelligence Service kidnapped him;

  3. Notes that an investigation has been instituted to elucidate the circumstances of Mr. Hitimana's disappearance, and wishes to be informed of its outcome;

  4. Recalls that "forced disappearances" are a serious violation of human rights, and refers in this respect to Article 1 of the "Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance", adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992, which states that "Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights . . .";

  5. Requests the Secretary General to contact the new authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  6. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session to be held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly.

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