To the Editor
15 June 2010
Dear Sir/Madam: I was stunned by the recent ill informed remarks of Dr. Andrew Wallis, University of Cambridge in your newspaper on 14 June 2010 regarding Rwanda’s arrest and prosecution of American lawyer Peter Erlinder for alledgedly denying the Rwandan genocide contrary to Rwanda’s domestic criminal code.
I am a former Investigations Team Leader with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (’ICTR’) from 1996-1997. I and my colleagues were charged with investigating and arresting those persons involved in the widespread slaughter of countless thousands of civilians in Rwanda between January-December 1994. I was also charged with investigating those persons responsible for the fatal rocket attack on the Rwandan Presidential aircraft.
I feel qualified to speak in defence of Dr. Erlinder.
He is a UN defence lawyer. I am a former UN investigator and prosecutor. We effectively sit on opposite sides of the bar table before the international community. But we are one in our search for the truth about the real causes of, and culprits responsible for, the Rwandan Genocide.
I join the many lawyers and human rights advocates from around the world who now come to his defence.
I can tell you from personal experience that the ICTR has totally failed to investigate fully and impartially the real causes of the Rwandan genocide. It has failed to hold accountable all those responsible for the slaughter of an estimated 1,000,000 men, women and children in Rwanda in 1994. It has prosecuted only the losers of the genocide. It has buckled to international pressure to keep secret the involvement of foreign powers in the events which led up the to slaughter.
There is overwhelming credible evidence suggesting prima facie that Paul Kagame and his armed forces were involved the in slaughter of many thousands of civilians in Rwanda in 1994 and 1995.
There is significant credible evidence on the public record linking President Kagame with the shooting down of the Rwandan presidential aircraft in 1994 killing the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and all others on board.
Paul Kagame and his regime in Rwanda has for many years now successfully denied these allegations in the press accusing any and all who touches on them as ‘genocide deniers’. What Kagame and his administration are saying, in effect, is that anyone who points the finger at Kagame and his RPF regime alleging their complicity in the violation of international law (no matter how credible the evidence) is a ‘genocide denier’. The net effect is, a ‘genocide denier’ under Rwanda law, is someone who challenges the carefully crafted victor’s history in Rwanda that only one side slaughtered civilians and assassinated political opposition.
I am stunned at the way the West now embraces Kagame and how universities flock to award him for his leadership in Rwanda. Quite apart from the serious allegations leveled at Kagame and his troops for their involvement in war crimes in 1994, many respected human rights advocates have for years complained of his repressive regime and its intolerance of policitcal opposition. One need only look at the recent events concerning the arrest of prosecution of Rwandan opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire, the leader of the United Democratic Forces, who had been attempting to register her party and is now under house arrest for allegedly denying the 1994 genocide.
Kagame’s fingerprints are all over so much suffering in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region and Dr. Wallis had the real opportunity to join the international struggle to properly document what really happened in Rwanda in 1994, as well as, call for a full independent international inquiry into Kagame’s involvement in the murders of Rwandan President Habyarimana, his counterpart Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, and the many countless others who have perished in Rwanda.
If to speak of these topics is to be a genocide denier then I am one too.
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library