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What they don’t tell you about Rwanda

Posted by rwandaonline on October 27, 2009

What they don’t tell you about Rwanda

 

Published on 04/10/2009

 

By Yash Ghai

Rwanda enjoys a positive reputation internationally and its President Paul Kagame is regularly praised by the World Bank, the US, and UK administrations for his integrity, efforts at reconciliation, and economic policies. I was impressed by his advice to Kenyans at the national prayer breakfast last May to follow his government’s example of commitment to ethnic diversity, consensus building on the common good, national values, and inclusion of all political views in national life and development agenda.

When I visited Rwanda at the request of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to do a report on the state of human rights and democracy in Rwanda (in connection with Rwanda’s application to join the Commonwealth) my first impressions, despite some critical reports I had read, were favourable: Very efficient and courteous processing of incoming passengers, a safe, clean and well organised Kigali, and bright and suave officials.

However, I was put on guard when every non-official person I interviewed, diplomats, journalists, professionals, and local and international civil society officers, would not speak to me except on assurances of anonymity.

When I read the constitution, I found no mention of ethnic or religious groups, and came across legislation, which banned discussion of ethnicity (yet huge government posters reminded people of the “genocide against the Tutsi”, although of course many Hutus had also been massacred). Those who imply that Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front had killed Hutus unnecessarily are heavily penalised, as are those who question official accounts of the genocide. This hardly fits with Kagame’s advocacy of reconciliation, inclusion or coming to terms with the past.

Exiled hutus

Reading numerous reports of the UN Security Council, UNHCR or international NGOs, memoirs of some key Rwandan politicians and of the commander of the UN forces Romeo Dallaire, and scholarly literature, I learnt that, though of course the Tutsi had suffered greatly at the hands of a large number of Hutus, the RPF had also killed thousands of Hutus, and driven many to exile (and then pursued them in their countries of exile). Incoming Tutsi have appropriated Hutu owned land. When considered strategic, the RPF allowed the killing of Tutsis. Dallaire writes that their deaths can also be laid “at the door of the military genius, Kagame, who did not speed up his campaign when the scale of genocide became clear and even talked candidly with me at several points about the price his fellow Tutsi might have to pay for the cause”. Kagame refused Dallaire’s proposal to accept ceasefire to stop the massacre, because it did not suit Kagame’s grand design of Tutsi hegemony. He has been quoted as criticising people who see the war in terms of human rights. He has said that some conflicts are good, “a sort of purification” which “erupt in order to make a real transformation possible”.

The Rwanda regime relies on power structures that sometimes run parallel to, and sometimes crosscut, the formal government; and in which the army plays a central role. The country has relied heavily for its revenue (to fund its institutions and elite) on plunder of the mineral resources of the DRC.

Mode of extraction

It bears the primary responsibility for the political and economic instability in the Great Lakes Region (including the overthrow of the Congolese government), which is functional to its mode of extraction of wealth and its regional dominance.

It practises, and has contributed to, a complex, regional regime of illegal economic transactions, evasion of UN sanctions, arming of militias, criminal business organisations, and disregard of neighbours’ borders and fiscal systems, which has greatly impoverished the region.

The RPF has used an extraordinary amount of violence, domestically and internationally. It has killed several thousands Hutus, citizens and others, and is responsible for the deaths of even more through displacement, malnutrition and hunger. It has denied hundreds of thousands of children the opportunity of education, and deprived millions of family and community life. It has conscripted child soldiers. The UN has voluminously documented these practices and repeatedly chastised Rwanda for its irresponsible behaviour in the DRC. Beneath the gentility of RPF leaders, the tidiness of Kigali, and its gleaming high rise buildings, I found a country deeply fragmented, operating under the hegemony of a small Tutsi political elite, which rules through oppression and fear.

Effective Public Relations

I discovered that these leaders are extraordinarily effective at public relations, especially as directed at the West, and make the most of the guilt in the West for doing so little to prevent the terrible genocide in 1994, directed largely but not exclusively at the Tutsi.

[The report of the CHRI can be found at http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/hradvocacy/rwanda’s_application_for_membership_of_the_commonwealth.pdf%5D

Prof Ghai is a former CKRC Chaiman

Read all about: Rwanda Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative genocide Hutu Tutsi

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Rwanda denied accusations that RPF Officials participated in 1994 Genocide

Posted by rwandaonline on June 6, 2009

By Hereward Holland

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda denied on Tuesday accusations from a human rights group that rebels led by now President Paul Kagame went unpunished for war crimes and revenge killings after the central African nation’s 1994 genocide.

In a recent letter to the U.N.-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the court to indict senior officers from the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) as it did to the Hutu masterminds of the genocide.

“The tribunal’s failure to address the war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front risks leaving the impression that it is delivering only victor’s justice,” HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said. “That’s a poor legacy for this historic effort at international justice.”

The RPF rebels, led by Kagame, swept to power after routing extremists responsible for the genocide of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Fifteen years later, justice and reconciliation issues still arouse deep feelings in the nation of 10 million whose economy was shattered by the genocide.

Critics say Kagame has been lenient on ex-RPF fighters, while ensuring genocide perpetrators met justice, and faced survivors, in local village “gacaca” tribunals.

But Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama told Reuters, in response to the rights group’s letter, authorities had punished “most severely” soldiers who had violated rules of military engagement and committed war crimes.

“Some abuses did indeed take place but they (soldiers) were arrested, they were arraigned before courts of law, they were judged by the competent court and sentenced,” Karugarama said

 

 

The New York-based rights group cited a 1994 U.N. report which accused the RPF of perpetrating “serious breaches of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.”

The U.N. refugee agency estimates the RPF killed between 25,000 and 45,000 people from April to August 1994, HRW said in a statement to media accompanying the letter.

Despite the concern that genocide-related cases might face political interference and unfair adjudication, the ICTR last year transferred files of RPF suspects to Rwanda for domestic prosecution, HRW said.

It said trials of those suspects in Rwanda had presented the killings as “spontaneous reactions by soldiers overcome with grief” and were a political whitewash.

“The court heard testimony only from witnesses supporting this version of events, despite evidence you transmitted to Rwanda’s prosecution service indicating that the killings were part of a planned military operation involving more senior officials,” HRW said in its letter to ICTR chief prosecutor Hassan Jallow.

Karugarama said the alleged numbers killed by RPF were “wild allegations” and lacked evidence.

“It’s on record in the public domain that the RPF never killed people intentionally at all, on the contrary, anybody that did was severely punished,” he said.

“If anybody has other evidence, let them bring it forward.”

Seeking justice for the victims of RPF crimes neither denies the genocide nor equates these crimes with genocide, Roth said.

“It simply asserts that all victims, regardless of the power of the alleged perpetrators, have the right to see justice done,” he said.

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This is an unexhaustive list of Hutu Community who were butchered by the joint forces of DRC and RPF in Eastern DRC

Posted by rwandaonline on June 2, 2009

This is an unexhaustive List of the Rwandan Hutu refugees brutally murdered by the joint military operation of Rwanda Patriotic Army (RDF) and the Democratic Republic of Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) at SHARIO and MAROKE in North Kivu.

1. Uwihoreye Richard, Male, 40 ans
2. Munyandinda Jean-Marie Vianney, Male, 50 ans
3. Uwamahoro Beatha, Femelle, 2 ans
4. Muhetsi, Male, 40 ans
5. Gahungu, Male, 1 an
6. Gaudence, Femelle, 35 ans
7. Julienne, Femelle, 2 ans
8. Mukandayisenga, Femelle, 1an
9. Mujyambere, Male, 48 ans
10.Kazwinande Jean d’Amour, Male, 50 ans
11.Fumberi, Male, 40 ans
12.Habiyaremye Pascal, Male, 55 ans
13.Nyirarugendo Thaciana, Femelle, 54 ans
14.Bimenyimana Fidèle, Male, 45 ans
15.Ndaziganje Lucien, Male, 50 ans
16.Mugoyi, Male, 45 ans
17.Nyiraneza Elisabeth, Femelle, 70 ans
18.Ntakirutinka, Male, 60 ans
19.Kwigira Cyprien, Male, 42 ans
20.Mushimiye, Femelle, 20 ans
21.Mushi Anastase, Male, 35 ans
22.Byiringiro Erneste, Male, 5 ans 
23.Mbabazi Samuel, Male, 40 ans
24. Kaneza Catherine, Femelle, 37 ans
25.Uwimbabazi Anne Marie, Femelle, 12 ans
26.Niyomugabo Emmanuel, Male, 10 ans
27. Mushimiyimana Godeleive, Femelle, 8 ans
28.Nzabazira Eric, Male, 10 ans
29.Ngabonziza Eric, Male, 16 ans
30.Safali Oscar, Male, 3 ans
31.Ingabire, Femelle, 14 ans
32.Bikorimana Jean, Male, 2 ans
33.Ndahimana, Male, 9 ans
34.Uwamahoro Pascasie, Femelle, 44 ans
35.Mukantwari Devota, Femelle, 14 ans
36.Karekezi Adam, Male, 59 ans
37.Muhire Jean Marie Vienney, Male, 40 ans
38.Muvandimwe, Male, 36 ans
39.Koboyi Theogene, Male, 40 ans
40.Uwitonze Jeanne, Femelle, 12 ans
41.Gishuhe Thomas, Male, 14 ans
42.Uzamukunda Lea, Femelle, 20 ans
43.Musabyimana Philippe, Male, 17 ans 
44.Nyiranzabonimana, Femelle, 25 ans
45.Agatha, Femelle, 45 ans
46.Nzarora John, Male, 15 ans
47.Ubarijoro Léonard, Male, 65 ans
48.Habimana Fidèle, Male, 12 ans
49.Mukamanzi Drocelle, Femelle, 50 ans
50.Nyiraneza Esperance, Femelle, 17 ans
51.Gashema Moïse, Male, 54 ans 
52.Hakizimana Emmanuel, Male, 25 ans
53.Niyonsaba, Femelle, 24 ans
54.Uwiragiye Josephine, Femelle, 8 ans
55.Furaha, Femelle, 5 ans
56.Nahayo, Male, 2 ans
57.Nyiramana, Femelle, 5 ans
58.Mukantwari, Femelle, 10 ans
59.Uwinema Marie, Femelle, 7 ans
60.Habiyambere , Male, 25 ans
61.Ayinkamiye Julienne, Femelle, 24 ans
62.Muhawenimana, Femelle, 6 ans
63.Mukantabana, Femelle, 20 ans

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Tribunal Should Vigorously Pursue Crimes of Rwandan Patriotic

Posted by rwandaonline on June 2, 2009

Tribunal Should Vigorously Pursue Crimes of Rwandan Patriotic

Hum Rights Executive Director

Hum Rights Executive Director

RELATED MATERIALS: Letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Regarding the Prosecution of RPF Crimes UN: Highlight Rights and Justice on Africa Trip The tribunal’s failure to address the war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front risks leaving the impression that it is delivering only victor’s justice.

That’s a poor legacy for this historic effort at international justice. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (New York) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda should urgently indict senior officers of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) who are alleged to have committed war crimes in Rwanda in 1994, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the ICTR’s chief prosecutor released today.

To date, the tribunal has tried only leading figures responsible for Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and has failed to bring cases against RPF officers despite having jurisdiction to pursue these crimes. On June 4, 2009, the chief prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, and the tribunal’s president, Judge Dennis Byron, will brief the UN Security Council in New York on the progress of the tribunal’s genocide trials over the past six months. The tribunal’s mandate requires it to prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda in 1994.

However, unlike the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which has prosecuted crimes committed by all parties to the conflict, the ICTR has prosecuted persons belonging to only one side. The Rwandan Patriotic Front is now the country’s ruling party. “The tribunal’s failure to address the war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front risks leaving the impression that it is delivering only victor’s justice,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. ”

That’s a poor legacy for this historic effort at international justice.” In 1994, the Rwandan government, assisted by tens of thousands of soldiers, militia, and ordinary citizens, began a genocidal campaign to wipe out the country’s Tutsi population. The campaign took place over three months, leading to the deaths of up to 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu, while the world community looked on and failed to end the slaughter.

The Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by current President Paul Kagame, ended the genocide after a military campaign in which its forces killed tens of thousands of civilians in the same three-month period. “Seeking justice for the victims of RPF crimes neither denies the genocide nor equates these crimes with genocide,” said Roth. “It simply asserts that all victims, regardless of the power of the alleged perpetrators, have the right to see justice done.”

 Crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front have been well documented, including by a United Nations Commission of Experts in 1994 which concluded that the group “perpetrated serious breaches of international humanitarian law” and “crimes against humanity.” According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, between April and August 1994, the RPF killed between 25,000 and 45,000 civilians. At least four United Nations agencies, Human Rights Watch, and other nongovernmental organizations have also documented RPF crimes. The tribunal has investigated crimes committed by the RPF for more than 10 years and has gathered witness testimony and physical evidence. Instead of pursuing indictments of such cases at the Tanzania-based tribunal, Chief Prosecutor Hassan Jallow decided in June 2008 to transfer files of Rwandan Patriotic Front suspects to Rwanda for a domestic prosecution. At the time, two of the tribunal’s trial chambers had just denied requests to transfer pending genocide cases to Rwanda on the grounds that the Rwandan judiciary could not guarantee a fair trial.

“Given the tribunal’s decision not to transfer genocide cases to Rwanda for fear of political interference by the Rwandan authorities, it is hard to understand why the prosecutor sent those same authorities a sensitive Rwandan Patriotic Front case for trial,” said Roth. “The prosecutor should have ensured justice is served by trying the cases at the tribunal before a fair and impartial panel of judges.” In a briefing to the UN Security Council in June 2008, Jallow made a commitment to monitor the Rwandan RPF trial closely and to recall the case if the proceedings failed to meet international standards. The prosecution of RPF officers in Rwanda proved to be a political whitewash. Rwandan authorities arrested four military officers in June 2008 and charged them with war crimes for the 1994 killings of 15 civilians, including 13 clergy and a 9-year-old boy.

 Trial proceedings lasted only a matter of days with little-to-no international attention. The tribunal’s Office of the Prosecutor sent an observer for one day of trial, closing arguments, and the verdict. Two of the officers confessed to the killing and were sentenced to eight years in prison (later reduced to five years on appeal). Two more senior officers were acquitted. The prosecutor’s office has yet to release a statement indicating whether the trial met international fair trial standards. ”

The Office of the Prosecutor did not diligently monitor the trial and has not yet stated publicly whether it met international standards,” said Roth. “Prosecutor Jallow should provide his assessment when he briefs the Security Council and make a commitment to seek indictments for other Rwandan Patriotic Front cases. A failure to do so betrays the rights of the victims’ families to obtain justice and risks undermining the tribunal’s legitimacy in the eyes of future generations.”

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Letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Regarding the Prosecution of RPF Crimes

Posted by rwandaonline on June 2, 2009

Letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Regarding the Prosecution of RPF Crimes

 May 26, 2009

KENETH ROTH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

KENETH ROTH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Justice Hassan B. Jallow Office of the Prosecutor International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Arusha, Tanzania Dear Mr. Prosecutor, As you prepare to brief the Security Council on June 4 on the progress of the Tribunal, we write to urge you once more to prosecute crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1994. With the ICTR scheduled to complete all trials by the end of this year, we ask that you immediately announce your intention to pursue these cases so as not to leave the Security Council with the false impression that the Tribunal’s core work at the indictment level is completed.

The Tribunal has achieved considerable success in bringing to justice those most responsible for the Rwandan genocide. However, a failure also to address the RPF’s killing of tens of thousands of civilians will result in serious impunity for grave crimes committed in 1994 and would leave many with a sense of one-sided, or victor’s, justice. Such a result would seriously undermine the Tribunal’s legacy.

As you know, a UN Commission of Experts in 1994 documented crimes committed by the RPF and concluded that the RPF had “perpetrated serious breaches of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.” The Commission’s report, which was instrumental in establishing the ICTR, “strongly recommend[ed]” that the Security Council ensure that the persons responsible for these crimes be brought to justice before an independent and impartial tribunal. The UN High Commission for Refugees estimated the number of victims to be between 25,000 and 45,000 from April to August 1994. While not of the same nature or scale as the genocide, these serious crimes fall within the ICTR’s jurisdiction and should now be prosecuted.

We understand why the Office of the Prosecutor has waited to prosecute the RPF cases until other cases have been completed. Prioritizing cases against the masterminds of the genocide involved gathering evidence inside Rwanda and having witnesses travel from Rwanda to Tanzania to testify at the Tribunal, all of which required the cooperation of the Rwandan government. When your predecessor, Carla Del Ponte, announced in 2002 that the ICTR would investigate RPF crimes, Rwandan officials prevented witnesses from traveling to the Tribunal, forcing the suspension of several trials for months.

Now that most of the genocide trials have been completed or are drawing to a close, concerns about Rwandan obstruction are not as pressing. Given that your office has investigated RPF crimes for more than ten years now, and based on our own investigations, including with witnesses who have spoken to ICTR investigators, we believe your office has sufficient evidence to request that indictments be issued. Even if Rwanda once again prevented the travel of witnesses from Rwanda to Tanzania to testify at the Tribunal, your office could rely on witnesses from outside Rwanda who are willing to testify. We are aware that some of them have written to you personally, seeking justice for relatives lost at the hands of the RPF in 1994.

We were extremely disappointed by your June 2008 decision to transfer files of RPF suspects from the ICTR to Rwanda for domestic prosecution. We fear the reason was your concern that cases involving RPF crimes are too politically difficult for the Tribunal to adjudicate because of the likely need to indict senior figures in Rwanda’s military or current government.

At the time of your decision, the Tribunal had just denied two requests to transfer indicted génocidaires to Rwandan courts because they would face unfair trials. The Tribunal concluded, among other things, that defense witnesses might be unavailable, thereby jeopardizing suspects’ fair-trial rights. In one of the cases, the Tribunal concluded that the Rwandan judiciary was not independent of political interference.

Since that time, the Tribunal has denied three additional requests for genocide suspects to be transferred to Rwanda. Of the total five cases, three have already been confirmed on appeal. All decisions have emphasized the fear that potential witnesses face, ranging from intimidation and accusations of genocide ideology (a criminal offense in Rwanda involving any act deemed to espouse hatred or lead to violence) to actual violence and death. Foreign jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have dismissed requests for extradition on similar grounds in the past year.

Despite these decisions by both the ICTR and foreign courts making clear that genocide-related cases would face political interference and unfair adjudication in the Rwandan courts, your office decided to hand over to Rwanda the even more politically sensitive RPF files for domestic prosecution in June 2008. When answering questions by the Security Council on this decision at the time, you stated that your office would monitor the proceedings closely and would recall the case to the ICTR if the trial did not meet international standards.

Within weeks of your decision to transfer the RPF files, a Rwandan military court charged and tried four RPF officers with war crimes for the 1994 killing of 15 civilians, 13 of them clergy. The trial proved to be a political whitewash and a miscarriage of justice, betraying the rights of victims’ families to obtain justice for their loved ones. Both the prosecution and the defense presented the killings as spontaneous reactions by soldiers overcome with grief for their fellow RPF officers who had lost relatives in the genocide. The court heard testimony only from witnesses supporting this version of events, despite evidence you transmitted to Rwanda’s prosecution service indicating that the killings were part of a planned military operation involving more senior officials. Two of the officers confessed to the killings and were sentenced to eight years in prison, reduced to five years on appeal. Two more senior officers were acquitted after a very brief trial.

Despite your commitment to the Security Council to ensure close monitoring of the trial, you sent an observer for only two preliminary detention hearings, one trial day, closing arguments, and the verdict. That cursory presence did not constitute diligent monitoring. Human Rights Watch and several Rwandan nongovernmental organizations and journalists monitored the proceedings.

Since the verdict of the Rwandan trial on October 24, 2008, Human Rights Watch has repeatedly asked for your official assessment of the trial and has urged you to recall the case and try it in accordance with the available evidence. Our most recent discussion was in your office on March 23, 2009. On each occasion, you told Human Rights Watch you were still looking at the file and would provide a final assessment in due course. You have not offered an assessment, and it is now more than seven months since the verdict and three months since the appellate decision.

We call on you to include in your June 4 briefing to the Security Council an assessment of whether the Rwandan trial complied with international fair trial standards and, if you find such standards were not met, to recall the case to the Tribunal. We understand that you have discretion in deciding which cases to pursue, but we call on you to seek indictments against more senior RPF officers in relation to whom we believe your office has gathered substantial evidence and to pursue such cases vigorously. If necessary, we ask that you request the Security Council to extend the Tribunal’s mandate beyond December 31, 2009, to ensure adequate time to prosecute these cases.

We strongly believe that your mandate as Chief Prosecutor will not be fulfilled until you prosecute alleged RPF crimes. Failure to do so will undoubtedly taint perceptions of the Tribunal’s impartiality and undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of future generations. Seeking justice for the victims of these RPF crimes neither denies the genocide nor equates these crimes with genocide. It simply asserts that all victims, regardless of the identity of the alleged perpetrator, have the right to seek redress for the wrongs done to them. We thank you in advance for your attention to this pressing matter. Kenneth Roth Executive Director

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RWANDA: LOS ANGELES SAYS:THE POWER OF HORROR

Posted by rwandaonline on May 26, 2009

The power of horror in Rwanda

Fifteen years ago, efforts at genocide killed about 800,000 Rwandans. Now that tragedy is providing the government with a cover for repression.

By Kenneth Roth 
April 11, 2009

 

IT'S A HORROR EVERY WHERE IN RWANDA

IT'S A HORROR EVERY WHERE IN RWANDA

During a gruesome three months in 1994, about 800,000 Rwandans were murdered as part of a calculated effort by a group of Hutu extremists to eradicate the country’s Tutsi population. 

The genocide ended only with the military victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a rebel group founded by Rwandan exiles who ousted the Hutu extremists. The front’s austere and savvy commander, Paul Kagame, now serves as Rwanda’s president.

 

In the 15 years since the extremist government was ousted, Rwanda has become an island of stability in a volatile region. The economy is booming, the distinction between Hutu and Tutsi is officially downplayed, and ethnic and political violence has been largely eradicated. Kigali, the capital of a country that likes to portray itself as the Switzerland of Africa, is orderly and manicured.

But Rwanda has a long way to go. Despite the facade of occasional elections, the government essentially runs a one-party state. And ironically, it is the genocide that has provided the government with a cover for repression. Under the guise of preventing another genocide, the government displays a marked intolerance of the most basic forms of dissent.

There is no meaningful opposition. The press is cowed. Nongovernmental organizations are under attack. When parliamentary elections held last September produced a whopping 92% victory for Kagame’s ruling party, evidence collected by the European Union and Rwandan monitors suggested that the government actually inflated the percentage of opposition votes so as to avoid the appearance of an embarrassing Soviet-style acclamation.

One tool of repression has been the gacaca courts — informal tribunals run without trained lawyers or judges — which the government established at the community level to try alleged perpetrators of the genocide. The original impetus was understandable: Rwandan prisons were overpopulated with tens of thousands of alleged genocidairesand no prospect of the country’s regular courts trying them within any reasonable time. The gacaca courts provided a quick, if informal, way to resolve these cases. In theory, members of the community would know who had or had not been involved in the genocide, but in reality the lack of involvement by legal professionals has left the proceedings open to manipulation.

Today, 15 years after the genocide, people are still coming forward and accusing their neighbors of complicity in it, suggesting that gacaca has morphed into a forum for settling personal vendettas or silencing dissident voices. The prospect of suddenly being accused of past participation in the genocide, with little legal recourse against concocted charges, is enough to make most people keep their heads down in the political arena.

The government says it will close the gacaca courts in June. But the government has another tool of control — the crime of “genocide ideology.” Formally adopted last year, the law outlawing “genocide ideology” is written so broadly that it can encompass even the most innocuous comments. As many Rwandans have discovered, disagreeing with the government or making unpopular statements can easily be portrayed as genocide ideology, punishable by sentences of 10 to 25 years. That leaves little political space for dissent.

Pressing the government to amend these repressive laws and practices is not easy, as I discovered in recent meetings with senior officials from the prime minister on down. They are understandably sensitive about political invective that can lead to renewed ethnic slaughter, but the public faces the very real danger that any political criticism of the government will be construed as fomenting genocide.

Western governments, guilt-ridden at not having stopped the genocide and impressed by Rwanda’s stability and economic growth, have been all too willing to close their eyes to this repressive sleight of hand.

But Kagame’s strategy is shortsighted and dangerous. He claims to be building a society in which citizens are only Rwandans, not Tutsi or Hutu, but his repression of civil society means that avenues to forge alternative bonds among people are limited. That makes it more likely that in moments of tension Rwandans will resort to their ethnic identity, as so often happens in repressive societies.

The challenge for world leaders 15 years after Rwanda’s genocide is to overcome guilt and look beyond the enforced peace to convince Kagame and his government to build the foundation for more organic, lasting stability.

The best way to prevent another genocide is to insist that Kagame stop manipulating the last one.

Kenneth Roth is executive director of Human Rights Watch.

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The power of horror in Rwanda – Los Angeles Times

Posted by rwandaonline on May 25, 2009

The power of horror in Rwanda – Los Angeles Times

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The FDLR warn the Kigali regime against the preparations for massacres of innocent civilians within Rwanda

Posted by rwandaonline on May 22, 2009

The FDLR warn the Kigali regime against the preparations for massacres of innocent civilians within Rwanda .

a baby crying in RUHENGERIReliable information in our possession indicate preparation of lists of young Hutu men and women across the country by elements of the DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence) with the intent to wrongfully accuse them of collaborating with the FDLR within Rwanda.
The Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda ( FDLR ) remind the public that many people in Rwanda have been arbitrarily arrested in recent months and imprisoned on false charges of collaborating with the FDLR .
Under the pretext that there would be some infiltration of the FDLR into Rwanda, the Kigali regime is planning repression of the population, mass arrests and killings on a large scale in order to even more silence and terrorize conscientious objectors in Rwanda.
The FDLR urge the Rwandan regime to immediately stop these unjust arrests and its gruesome repression and murder, to free all conscientious objectors it has imprisoned since 1994 and to open without delay the political space to its opposition.
The FDLR request the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations Security Council to seriously condemn these murderous manoeuvres of Kigali and to do everything possible to prevent Rwanda and the African Great Lakes Region from falling again into fratricidal wars.
The FDLR condemn again and unequivocally the ongoing war in eastern DRC that the coalition of the RPA/RDF and the FARDC has imposed on them, on the Congolese people of eastern DRC and on Rwandan refugees.
The FDLR reiterate their commitment to peace and remain convinced that the Rwandan problem is political and must be resolved politically through a frank and direct dialogue between the Kigali regime and the FDLR.

Done in Paris on 20 May 2009

ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT OF A UN SECURITY COUNCIL DELEGATION IN THE DRC AND RWANDA .

 
The Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda ( FDLR ) welcome the visit of a UN Security Council delegation in the African Great Lakes Region especially in the DRC and Rwanda .
The FDLR seize this opportunity to remind members of this delegation that the Rwandan problem which is the cause of their presence in DRC is a political problem which can be resolved through a frank and direct dialogue between the various Rwandan stakeholders namely the Kigali regime and its opposition.
The FDLR remain convinced that the use of force advocated by some organizations for strategic studies can not resolve the political problem of Rwanda but may cause further humanitarian disasters for which warmongers must be the sole to be held responsible.
The FDLR reaffirm their unequivocal condemnation of the war that the Rwandan-Congolese coalition imposed on a peace-loving peoples of our region through the operation UMOJA WETU and KIMIA II operation under preparation and urge the United Nations Security Council delegation to formally condemn this war which is senseless, unnecessary and deadly, to demand its immediate cessation and not to engage UN troops of MONUC in it.
The FDLR request the UN Security Council not to allow itself to be duped by warmongers and their lobbyists who favour the policy of demonization and exclusion of the FDLR consisting in considering that the latter are demons to be overwhelmed by all means and the Kigali regime is a set of angels who deserve protection of the international community.
The FDLR urge the UN Security Council to seek real solutions for lasting peace and stability in the African Great Lakes region by addressing the fundamental problem rather than implementing solutions based on inadequate schemes for the specific problem of the region.
The FDLR urge the UN Security Council delegation to work towards the creation of a framework for talks which will enable all Rwandan stakeholders to sit together in order to find a definitive solution to the Rwandan crisis which is the source of insecurity prevailing in the African Great Lakes Region especially in the eastern DRC.
The FDLR inform the UN Security Council delegation that they have legitimate reasons that have pushed them to take up arms and urge the UN Security Council to be pragmatic and seek an immediate halt to the ongoing war in DRC and initiate a process of direct talks between the FDLR , the Kigali regime and the regime in Kinshasa under the auspices of the international community to begin real negotiations on their actual return in dignity and security in their country.
The FDLR reiterate their request to the UN Security Council lift immediately and unconditionally all unjust, unnecessary and counter-productive sanctions imposed on their leadership.
The FDLR remain convinced that the surest way to achieve their disarmament does not consist in seeking their neutralization by arms through a war but rather by establishing a political framework and state services in which all Rwandans feel protected, the opening of the Rwandan political space so that all Rwandans who wish, may exercise without hindrance their political activities within the country and the establishment of truly democratic and republican institutions in Rwanda.
The FDLR reiterate their commitment to peace and remain convinced that the war in the African Great Lakes Region can never bring peace but the latter will only be achieved through a frank and direct dialogue between different actors in the regional crisis.

 

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THE REASONS WHY RWANDA HAS MORE WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT

Posted by rwandaonline on May 12, 2009

RPF LEADER

RPF LEADER

When the visiting United Nation’s Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Executive Director, Ines Alberdi, came to Rwanda expressed an illusive satisfaction over women’s prominence and parity in the country’s governance. In her first visit to Rwanda, when Kigali hosted the UNIFEM’s central African regional office that covers nine countries. She addressed the Journalists shortly after meeting Mr. Paul Kagame.

Ines Alberdi was treated to the usual lies manufactured in Rwanda and imported within and without Rwanda as it always has been over two decades. Ines Alberdi was told that Rwanda is the first African country that has more women in the National parliament, which I don’t dispute but what they hid from her it is how they got there. As a professor of Political Science in Rwanda National University and an Economic Consultant for many African NGOs, I want to analyze for our special guest Ines Alberdi of the true picture of why we have many women in parliament unlike other African countries. As it was published in an online newspaper All Africa News which is the RPF sponsored medium of Kagame’s propaganda, the UNIFEM leader was told that Rwanda is following a right path to parity of women in all government institutions. But what they forgot to tell Ines Alberdi is that it is not by mercy or by grace that Kagame has put most of women in the institutions of leadership in Rwanda.

Instead Rwanda is a nation in crisis which called for special measures which turn into a political lying card. The truth is this that when the RPF invaded a sovereign nation and started butchering the people of Byumba whose story has never been told because of USA and UK interest, majority of those who were slaughtered were young people who were in High Schools, Colleges, and Universities. This mass killing that never drew the world’s attention just simply because of those who were dying they were not the race of interest to UK and USA.

The RPF Kagame led killings continued in most various parts of Ruhengeri and Mutara in Rwanda between 1990s and 1994. Majority of these people killed in RPF conquered zones were young people and learnt promising generation. The scenario didn’t stop there of exterminating the young male people in Rwanda by RPF led by Kagame. They continued to selectively kill and maim people believed to be from Hutu community in their pursuit of making the majority the minority and the minority the majority. When the fratricide of 1994 took place, the majority of those Tutsis and Hutu moderates that died were male. Majority of them were educated. This also is another contributing factor that has participated in male shortage in Rwanda.

In 1994 the RPF led by Kagame and supported by USA and UK managed to take over after lying to the world that the killing that happened in 1994 after the terrorism act of shooting Habyalimana’s jet which killed him and his Burundian counterpart was not a fratricide by genocide. This is when they executed their plans to kill all educated Hutus and jail indefinitely those who could escape their clubs. They embarked on a mission to make the majority who are Hutus into a minority community. They killed all young Hutus who had gone to school. Those who escaped are those who fled to DR Congo. This didn’t last because in 1996 the RPF backed by UK,USA,Uganda, and Kabila attacked the refugees camps in Eastern DRC where they continued their mission to exterminate all educated Hutus and young male who are the future of Rwanda.

Those whom they couldn’t kill put them behind the bars without any legal assistance in order to get rotten there. They hunted them throughout their flight into the Congo forest where they killed, maimed and imprisoned the innocent Hutus all in the name of killing the ‘Genocidaires’. The world continued watching the hopeless Hutus being murdered without any sort of help. This has continued until today. Those who were lucky to escape to farthest countries where Kagame has no access, they are scrupulously put on the list of genocidaires all designed to deny educated Hutus peace and access to freedom of movement in order to allow the Kagame led bandit group to continue oppressing Rwandans. Those who are abroad and are educated they have no rights to come and serve in Rwanda because of Kagame who continues preaching his lies to the world that all Hutus participated in the fratricide of 1994. This has made Rwanda experience a cute shortage of educated males in all domains of leadership in Rwanda.

All the people who were killed 67% were the males and educated ones. This has made Rwanda especially Kagame’s administration have no option but to use the female in order to fill up the gap left by this innocent Rwandans who are the victims of Kagame’s selfishness. Therefore Kagame has done nothing good to put more women in parliament, because he had no option but to put them there in order to rule without any opposition. Many men died since 1990s others are in the clandestine prisons, those who survived Kagame’s brutality are living in diaspora. These are the main factors of having more women in Rwandan parliament.

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HUTUS SHOULD HAVE LEARNT WHEN MUSEVENI CHASED THEM IN 1994

Posted by rwandaonline on May 4, 2009

HUTU REFUGEES SHOULD KNOW THAT UGANDA CHASED THEM OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY IN 1994

kagame1They should not have gone to stay in uganda if they had good hutu politicians. but now they are going to be taken to slaughter houses again where all young people are going to be butchered the same way people were chased in TanzaNIA AND THOUSANDS OF THEM WERE KILLED ON THEIR WAY BACK TO rWANDA AND  others were chased out of Gabon up to now no body knows their fate. UHCR has always been an enemy of Hutus so they should not expect any thing good from UNHCR.

Rwandese refugees in Uganda have up to the end of July this year to voluntarily return home, a spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office said on Friday.

UNHCR External Relations Officer Vanessa Akello told Xinhua by telephone that available funds for the voluntary repatriation of Rwandese refugees can only last up to July 31 and thereafter the refugees will return home without any UNHCR assistance.

Ugandan and Rwandese top government officials this week also signed an agreement setting July 31 as the deadline for Rwandese refugees to return home.

The two governments at a meeting held in western Uganda on Wednesday agreed to identify and isolate people who intimidated the refugees from returning home and called upon immigration officials to be more vigilant on irregular movement across borders.

“I am sure when we next meet, the mission would have been accomplished,” state owned New Vision daily on Friday quoted Protais Musoni, Rwanda’s local government minister as saying just after meeting Tarsis Kabwegyere, Uganda’s minister in charge of refugees.

A total of 20,000 Rwandese refugees are in several refugees camps in western Uganda.

Rwandese President Paul Kagame while on a one-day state visit to Uganda this week said many refugees are reluctant to go back home because of the crimes they committed during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

He said the two governments were in talks to convince the refugees to go back home.

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