International PEN protests in the strongest possible terms the murder of Jean Leonard Rugambage, deputy editor of the banned newspaper Umuvugizi, who was shot dead outside his home on June 24, 2010. Rugambage had reportedy been followed and threatened prior to his death and it is believed that he was targeted for an article he had published that day alleging government involvement in the attempted assassination of an exiled former Rwandan army commander. PEN calls on the Rwandan authorities to carry out an independent invetigation of Rugambage’s murder as a matter of urgency and to bring those responsible to justice, as well as to guarantee journalists’ safety in the run-up to the August 2010 presidential elections.

Background Information

The following is an Urgent Action appeal issued by Amnesty International on June 25, 2010:

Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was killed on June 24, 2010. Authorities must establish an independent commission of enquiry into the killing and ensure other journalists can work in safety.

Jean Leonard Rugambage, the Deputy Editor of Rwandan newspaper, Umuvugizi, was shot dead outside his home in the Rwandan capital, Kigali on June 24, 2010. Jean Leonard Rugambage is the first Rwandan journalist murdered in recent years.

Jean Leonard Rugambage returned home around 10PM on June 24, 2010. He was shot dead as he reached the gate of his home in the Kigali suburb, Nyamirambo. His exiled Managing Editor-in-Chief, Jean-Bosco Gasasira, has stated that witnesses who heard the gunshots saw the unknown assailant drive away in a car. Police arrived at the scene soon afterwards, but Jean Leonard Rugambage was already dead.

The Rwanda Police have confirmed that Jean Leonard Rugambage body remained at Kigali’s Police Hospital and would not be released for burial until a later date. Police investigations have been opened.

Jean Leonard Rugambage had been investigating the shooting of the exiled former Chief-of-Staff of the Rwandan Army, Kayumba Nyamwasa, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 19, 2010. Umuvugizi had published an on-line article on June 24, 2010, the day of Jean Leonard Rugambage’s murder, alleging that Rwandan intelligence officials were linked to the shooting. In the days before his murder, Jean Leonard Rugambage had told colleagues that he felt that the surveillance on him had intensified.

Write A Letter

  • Urging the Rwandan authorities to ensure that any autopsy of the body of Jean Leonard Rugambage is undertaken by independent medical experts;
  • Calling on authorties to establish an independent commission of inquiry into the killing of Jean Leonard Rugambage;
  • Demanding that authorities ensure that the perpetrators are brought to trial promptly and in accordance with international fair trial standards;
  • Urging the government to make public assurances that all Rwandan journalists can work freely, independently and with full protection from state authorities.

Send Your Letter To

President Paul Kagame
Office of the President
BP 15
Urugwiro Village
Kigali, Rwanda
Fax: +250 572431

Police Commissioner Emmanuel Gasana
Commissioner General
Rwandan National Police
Kigali, Rwanda
Fax: +250 58 66 02

Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga
National Public Prosecution Autnority
BP 1328
Kigali, Rwanda
Fax: +250 589 501

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Rwanda in your country if possible.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after August 6, 2010: ftw [at]