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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 174rd session (Mexico, 23 April 2004)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Léonard Hitimana, a member of the Transitional National Assembly of Rwanda dissolved on 22 August 2003, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/174/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 173rd session (October 2003),

Taking account of the information provided by a member of the Rwandan delegation at the hearing held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly (Mexico, April 2004); also taking account of communications from the sources dated 2 February and 20 April 2004,

Recalling the following information on file:

-    Mr. Léonard Hitimana, MP and member of the former Democratic Republic Movement (Mouvement démocratique républicain, MDR), disappeared in the night of 7 to 8 April 2003 after visiting a friend in Kigali; his car was found on 9 April 2003 near the Ugandan border; the sources believe that it had been left there to suggest that Mr. Hitimana had left the country; they believe that Mr. Hitimana is in fact the victim of a forced disappearance and was abducted by the Rwandan intelligence service (DMI) because he had been mentioned in the parliamentary report of 17 March 2003 on the MDR as belonging to a group of persons allegedly seeking to disseminate an ideology of divisive ethnic discrimination;

  • Upon learning of Mr. Hitimana’s disappearance, the President of the then Transitional National Assembly immediately alerted the security services so that “an investigation might be conducted to shed full light on the situation”; according to the President of the Chamber of Deputies elected in September 2003, the parliamentary Committee on National Unity and Human Rights, shortly before the dissolution of the former Assembly, met the Minister of Internal Security to inquire into any progress in the investigation; however, no final conclusions were reached and the newly established parliamentary Committee on National Unity and Human Rights is closely following the investigation;

  • Immediately after Mr. Hitimana's disappearance, the Speaker of the Transitional National Assembly reportedly suspended Mr. Hitimana’s salary and other benefits attaching to his position; his car was reportedly returned to his family only months later and the family itself is said to be the target of threats and intimidation,

  • Considering the following information provided by the Rwandan delegation:

  • In the report of the parliamentary commission inquiring into the activities of the former MDR, several other, more prominent persons were accused together with Mr. Hitimana; nothing has happened to them and they are pursuing their activities normally, including in the Government; linking Mr. Hitimana's disappearance to the parliamentary report on the MDR is therefore questionable;

  • Another MP, Mr. Balthasar, disappeared and his car was found near the Ugandan border; however, unlike Mr. Hitimana, he was rumoured to be abroad;

  • Parliament's Committee on Human Rights and National Unity is monitoring the investigation and has been told by the police that they are working on the case and will inform it once they are ready; while the Committee awaits the report, it is continuing its contacts with the police; the Committee has no reason to believe that the police are not doing their job; the time has not yet come to question the Minister of Justice or the Minister of the Interior about the investigation into Mr. Hitimana's disappearance; the Committee has reported on its activities in this case; however, the report is not for distribution and is written in the national language;

  • According to the regulations in force, if an MP does not report for work during five consecutive days for whatever reason, the salary will be suspended as of the following month; so long as the fate of a disappeared MP or parliamentary officer is not established, the salary will remain suspended; Mr. Hitimana's case has been treated like any other case of an MP or parliamentary officer not reporting for work; however, salaries are retroactively paid once the person returns and resumes work or it is established that he/she was unable to work; the salary of an MP does not comprise any family allowances, which means that Mr. Hitimana's family receives no such allowances;

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