by Sabine Grund
(written in March 2008)
|Robin Philpot,a Canadiana Journalist|
Reprinted with permission by Dr. Sabine Grund, see below
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a small country in Central Africa (neighbor to Uganda, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania), killed an estimated one million people in only three months, from April to July. Little is known about the background to that genocide, the preparation of what was in fact a political coup to overthrow the government. Nor is it public knowledge that the killing of millions in the Congo until 2008 is directly related to the political intrigues in Rwanda since 1990. One of the few people who try to spread truth, against much resistance, is the Canadian journalist Robin Philpot. His 2003 book was written in French ("Ca ne s'est pas passé comme ça à Kigali") and published in Canada. Its English translation has still not found a publisher, it is available on the website www.taylor-report.com ("Rwanda 1994 – Colonialism dies hard"), together with other information around the topic. Since this book gives an excellent overview of the sinister schemes behind that genocide, the following text summarizes its main arguments, citing further references where appropriate.
Why should the content of a five year old book be news? Why should an African story be relevant beyond Africa? Because this story remains widely unknown and was meant to be suppressed for the indefinite future. And because the devious mechanisms used to kill millions of people, while keeping the African and international public in the dark, can be repeated anywhere unless they are revealed and will be recognized. What does this mean for democracy, free speech, and a watchful civil society? They are needed more than ever, all over the world – and they have been eroded to a shocking degree in the very western countries that claim to be role models.
The western organizers of genocide against millions of Africans, a group of people from various countries under the leadership of influentials in the Clinton administration (United States of America (US), from 1993), have been able to silence just about all official western media to this day. The only sources of some truthful information have been websites, mainly globalresearch.ca and zmag.org (since 2008: zcommunications.org). What is termed here the 'official version' has been planted by the New York Times, CNN, Economist (UK), TIME and similar media. Philpot summarizes the main points of this falsified 'official version' of the Rwanda genocide as follows:
1. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) under its leader Paul Kagame ended the genocide in July 1994 and took power in the country as peace-maker.
2. France as old colonial power in Africa has been a long-time accomplice of Rwanda's ruling dictator Juvenal Habyarimana and his genocidal forces.
3. Rwanda is a country in the African heart of darkness, where Hutu genociders have killed a million defenseless Tutsi after the airplane of the ruling dictator Habyarimana had crashed on 6 April 1994.
4. The United Nations (UN) has failed to respond to the urgent call for assistance, which came from the Canadian general Romeo Dallaire on 11 January 1994 as a request for instructions faxed to UN peacekeeping in New York.
5. Following political pressure from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the 'international community' has established an International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha/Tanzania and brought the major criminals to trial.
6. Dictators of the neighboring countries have taken in Hutu genociders as refugees. That created the war in the Congo, which unfortunately lasts until today. The majority of the Rwandan refugees were able to return home safely, due to the support of the 'international community'.
The text below summarizes Philpot's repudiation of each point. Aside from the false 'official version' about the genocide, there exists mainly a wall of silence in the western media that prevents the constructed version from being critically scrutinized. This enforced silence calls for an explanation, as it conflicts with the stated western democratic values. It is maintained by marginalizing journalists and researchers who speak truth and by excluding relevant African voices from the debate. Their arguments have in some cases been published in French but are refused English translations that would make them more widely available.
1. The RPF as liberator of Rwanda?
The minority Tutsi-RPF government that took power in Rwanda in July 1994 chose 4 July (also: US independence day) as its new national holiday, even though the RPF achieved its military victory over the capital city Kigali on 2 July and the rebel leader Paul Kagame entered the city on 3 July. The genocide only ended around 17 July. Philpot wonders: Should the new holiday possibly honor the international backers of this takeover of power in Rwanda? In any case, it could not have been 1 July, the day of independence in 1962, the first time that the ethnic Hutu majority (85 percent of the population) took over political leadership, following a UN-supervised election. The killing in Rwanda has not ended in 1994, it has just been reduced and become more secretive. Millions more have been killed in neighboring Zaire, which was re-named Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997, in continued genocide until now (2008).
Philpot considers Kagame as the organizer of the genocide: He was a leading part of the group of around 4000 soldiers and officers of the Ugandan military, that on 28 September 1990 left their headquarters and marched many kilometers (km) southwards to the border with Rwanda. On 1 October they crossed this border and went 70km into Rwanda. Until 4 October they stood 70km north of Kigali. In most countries of the world, this would not be considered a civil war but a military aggression by a foreign country. The historic Nuremburg Tribunal of 1945 considers this as the worst of crimes, a crime against peace. Yet in an article about Rwanda on page 1 of the New York Times, on 15 September 2002, this invasion is not even mentioned; the text only speaks about increased tensions between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, as Philpot points out.
On 28 September 1990, president Juvenal Habyarimana had declared before the Rwandan parliament that all refugees living abroad will be granted Rwandan citizenship and that all those who want to return to Rwanda will be permitted to do so. On 1 October, both Habyarimana and president Yoweri Museveni of Uganda participated in a UNICEF event in New York City. In rare haste, the US government offered political asylum to the Rwandan president whose country had been attacked in his absence. When Habyarimana passed through Brussels on his way back home, he received a second offer for asylum in Belgium. And the Ugandan president, leader of the strongest and most disciplined military in Africa, did not prosecute the attackers of neighboring Rwanda. Nevertheless, Museveni was and is regarded as major US ally and treated as a role model leader by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). He serves as important ally in the struggle that some factions in US politics have long waged against the Islamic state of Sudan: In 1956 Sudan gained independence, since 1983 it has been destabilized by a civil war between the northern and southern part of the country, and in 1955 the struggle of southern rebel forces against the central government had begun.
In a book that he published in 2000, Museveni contends that the attackers of October 1990 had surprisingly marched all the way into Rwanda, which he presented as 'not so difficult' to do. Yet since Uganda had warned the Rwandan government about plans for a political coup, this 'rebel attack' would in any case have been the problem of the Rwandan government. Philpot wonders if such a denial of responsibility for the invasion of a foreign country by one's national military forces is conceivable anywhere in North America or Europe: Could forces responsible for such a major military mutiny possibly remain unpunished anywhere but in Uganda? Among the mutineers, who re-named themselves Rwandan Patriotic Front in October 1990, were Fred Rwigema, defense minister of Uganda until a few months prior to this invasion, and Paul Kagame, until then head of military intelligence in Uganda, who had been sent by Uganda to receive military training in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas/US, as well as personal bodyguards of Museveni. Over the next three years, Museveni allowed these RPF 'rebels' to return to Uganda frequently in order to obtain more military equipment. During this war of attrition against the Rwandan government, the northern part of Rwanda has been largely depopulated. The population figures dropped from 800,000 to only 1800, the former grain reservoir of the country began to experience famine. One million people were forced to survive in refugee camps around Kigali. Especially among these mostly Hutu refugees the hatred grew against Tutsi in general, which led to revenge killings in the 1994 genocide. These were directed indiscriminately against any Tutsi, as the Hutu population was not aware that the specific group of exile Tutsi from Uganda had been behind the three and a half year war.
In 1990, France supported Habyarimana in pushing the RPF aggressors back across the border to Uganda. Subsequently, around 8000 Tutsi were arrested in Rwanda, suspected of collaborating with the aggressors. A huge outcry from western 'human rights organizations' followed. Alison Des Forges, who has led the propagandistic support of the RPF for the New York City-based Human Rights Watch, stated on 14 September 1995 under oath in Montreal/Canada that these organizations were not interested to find out who was behind the aggression; rather, they were focussing on who committed human rights abuses during the ongoing war. When the military conflict had stalled in November 1990, Belgium, the US and Britain (UK) demanded that the Rwandan government under Habyarimana negotiate with the RPF – thus creating a strategic trap for the Rwandan side that very much suited Museveni. After taking refuge abroad in 2001, the Rwandan businessman Valens Kajeguhakwa reported in his book how the RPF had successfully infiltrated Rwanda and created a large network of informers that prepared its eventual power grab in 1994.
2. Who is complicit with the genociders?
In June 1990, French president François Mitterrand addressed a gathering of African leaders in La Baule, France. He spoke about the need to introduce more democratic conditions in Africa now that the Cold War had ended. One month later, in July, Habyarimana announced before the Rwandan parliament the introduction of a multi-party system. On 10 June 1991 the constitution was amended accordingly and parties were permitted. Nevertheless, the US, UK, and Belgium kept criticizing Rwanda for not changing fast enough. In contrast, the military leader Museveni in neighboring Uganda refused to tolerate political parties, yet nobody criticized him (Museveni is still in power, as of this writing in March 2008, and has been for 22 years, barely surpassed by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe with 28 years).
The establishment of several opposition parties in Rwanda and their representation in parliament weakened president Habyarimana. At the same time, the RPF continued to terrorize the northern part of the country with its invasion force. Yet Habyarimana was continually pushed by western governments of the US, UK, Belgium as well as Uganda to be more accommodating to the intruding forces.Without the support of these powers, the RPF would have lost its war of aggression against Rwanda by December 1990. The opposition parties in Rwanda recognized the western bias against their government and therefore were ready to meet with the RPF at a conference in Brussels, Belgium, from 29 May to 3 June 1992. Instead of forging an alliance against the aggressor, they finally practiced solidarity with his forces. France continued its support for Habyarimana, yet president Mitterrand himself was weakened by the fact that his Socialist Party contains many supporters of the RPF. Thus the war of attrition against Rwanda lasted for three and a half years, created a million internally displaced people and demoralized the Rwandan society. And the western supporters of the RPF urged Habyarimana to integrate opposition parties into his government – the same parties that had previously declared solidarity with the RPF aggressor at the Brussels conference.
Philpot reports about one of the many RPF attacks inside Rwanda, this one against a school in Taba, east of Kigali in 1993, with 17 dead. After its victory in July 1994, the RPF bragged about it, the organizer had been Ephrem Karengwa, who is registered as "Witness D" against the former Habyarimana regime at the UN Tribunal ICTR in Arusha/Tanzania. It is not without irony that this tribunal still meets in the same city where the Arusha Peace Accords had been signed between the Habyarimana government and the RPF on 4 August 1993. These Arusha Peace Accords and the subsequent UN tribunal in Arusha have in common that neither one served the purposes of peace, truth, and the interests of the Rwandan people.
The Arusha Accords stipulated that an international peacekeeping force will be stationed in Rwanda, that the RPF will be integrated in the national military, and that a batallion of the RPF will be based in Kigali. In 2002 in Brussels, Philpot interviewed Faustin Twagiramungu, the prime minister of the first transitional government from July 1994. Twagiramungu declared that these Arusha Accords were rejected by all parties in Rwanda since they only served the goals of the RPF and had been concluded under enormous pressure from the US, UK and Uganda. The RPF had strongly relied on the UK network of support for Museveni.
The sharing of power between the Rwandan government and the RPF military force of aggression further undermined Habyarimana. In addition, the Accords stipulated that the RPF should be disproportionately represented at all military levels, despite its lack of support among the Rwandan population. After all, this group of former exile Tutsi represented only a small part of what is an ethnic minority group of 14 percent of the population. The Brussels agreement of June 1992 between the opposition parties in Rwanda and the RPF would have given the latter de facto control over the government. With these Arusha Accords, the aggressors of the RPF would have taken over the government and the military of Rwanda, without ever having been elected. Yet the Accords were declared void by the Rwandan people in the September 1993 elections, when they rejected the RPF candidates in the northern region that had been devastated by the RPF war.
Another sign of complicity is the formation of the UN peacekeeping force: This force was supposed to be in place within 37 days after the signing of the Accords, yet it took four months to arrive. It was to comprise 4500 soldiers, yet it never had more than 2500, with leading contingents from Belgium and Bangladesh. The agreed language of operation was English, the language of the RPF, in otherwise francophone Rwanda. The Canadian commander of the force, general Romeo Dallaire, was expected to speak French while strictly distancing himself from any French interests – which he did so provocatively that France called on Canada to withdraw him.
Considering all the aspects that Philpot has described, it becomes evident that the preparations to this huge conspiracy have been conducted in the capitals of various western countries in North America, Europe, and Israel as well as in the aisles of the UN in New York, without ever being picked up by the 'free media', which could have revealed and thus prevented this orchestrated genocide. The Jerusalem Post, on 9 August 2007, carried an article by David Kimche, former director general in the Israeli foreign ministry, that aimed to reassert the 'official version' of the genocide. Readers interested in the topic may want to read the article to get an impression.
3. The shooting down of the presidential plane
The crash of the airplane on 6 April 1994, carrying two African presidents, was not an accident. The plane of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, who was travelling with president Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, Rwandan military leaders and advisers on board, was shot down over Kigali and its debris partly landed in the presidential compound. The group had been returning from a one-day meeting in Tanzania where they had discussed the political tensions in Burundi. The destruction of the plane and murder of all people on board led to the eruption of the genocide which had long been in the making, and which lasted over three months from April to July. That such violence was to be expected in case of the president's death, was stated in a memorandum of Prudence Bushnell, adviser to US-Secretary of State Warren Christopher, to her boss a few hours earlier. Philpot mentions that this document was released to the public on 5 May 2000.
The lasting international lack of interest in an investigation of the murder of two African presidents remains noteworthy; one might imagine such disinterest for a murder of two western presidents. It is all the more mysterious as it directly caused the subsequent genocide of about one million people in Rwanda, the worst such killing since the Holocaust (as well-known German journalist Peter Scholl-Latour noted in his Africa book of 2001 which, like most of his work, is not translated to English). Philpot points out that much of the reporting has reduced the event to just a plane crash, which is vaguely attributed to political circles of president Habyarimana. On 8 April 1994, the UN Security Council demanded an international investigation, in November it established the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha/Tanzania. Until the end of 1995, Kenya and Zaire (from 1997: DR Congo) had demanded an investigation. Belgian law professor Filip Reyntjens, who has taught in Rwanda early in his career, concluded from the empty declarations that nobody was really interested in the truth.
Someone who seeks the truth is Cameroonian journalist Charles Onana, who in his 2002 book attributes the shooting down of the presidential plane to Paul Kagame, RPF leader from the group of former exiles in Uganda that pushed back into Rwanda in continued military incursions since 1990. Kagame is president of Rwanda since 2000. In contrast to Onana, the former ICTR chief prosecutor Louise Arbour from Canada is not interested in resolving the unanswered questions. In 1997 she suddenly stopped all investigations of Australian Michael Hourigan, whom she herself had ordered to conduct an enquiry into the plane crash in 1996. Her interest in the issue ended abruptly after a conversation with Madeleine Albright, who had become Secretary of State in 1997 at the start of the second Clinton term. Arbour was later called to the highest court in Canada, since 2004 she is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Hourigan had come to the conclusion that Kagame himself had ordered the shooting down of the presidential plane. The French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere arrived at the same result in his enquiry into the death of the French pilots who had flown the plane, undertaken at the request of one of the widows. Bruguiere's report is still kept confidential in France. In the early stage of the genocide, Belgium lost a group of UN peacekeepers on 7 April 1994 who were brutally murdered. The Belgian justice system has not been able to establish the truth until this point either (2008). One major factor to prevent truth from emerging is the UN headquarters in New York, where the black box of the presidential plane remains locked away and unavailable for further investigations.
In his 2001 book about Africa, German journalist Peter Scholl-Latour mentions the revelations of Jean-Pierre Mugabe, a former intelligence officer of Kagame's RPF, who presented his personal insights on the shooting down of the presidential plane at the International Strategic Studies Association in the US state of Virginia. According to his report, the Russian SAM-16 rocket used to shoot down the plane had reached Kagame's RPF forces through US sources by way of Uganda. After the publication of Philpot's book, the statements under oath by Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza have also confirmed this account of events. Yet documentation available to support this is still being kept confidential, and efforts to put the information out to the public are actively prevented in the major media.
A 'smoking gun' piece in the English-language media on who shot down this airplane should have been the report by Sebastian Rotella, "Rwanda genocide accusation causes an uproar. A French judge says the current leader, Paul Kagame, ordered the killings that set off the genocide", printed in the Los Angeles Times on 17 February 2007. This report has been taken from the internet, the author Rotella has not yet responded to my email question. His writing confirms the brief account given in the paragraphs above. Interested readers might want to send an email to the LATimes and ask for the article. In recent weeks a Spanish judge has publicly made the same claims as French judge Bruguiere, after investigating the death of Spanish citizens.
4. The myth of the UN having failed to prevent genocide
To support the 'official version' of the events around the genocide, Kagame's western supporters have eagerly spread false information about an alleged planning of genocide on the part of the Hutu ethnic majority in Rwanda. A particular example is a fax that journalist Philip Gourevitch of the New Yorker magazine received, seemingly surprisingly, in spring 1998. It contained the response of UN peacekeeping in New York head office, then under the leadership of Kofi Annan, to the request for instructions that UN general Romeo Dallaire had sent from Kigali on 11 January 1994, when confronted with seemingly local rumors about an impending genocide planned by the Hutu side.
This information had been relayed to Dallaire by an informant who called himself "Jean-Pierre", and whose real name was Abubakar Turatsinze. He had been employed by Habyarimana's party as a driver since, as Muslim, he did not drink alcohol. By November 1993 he was suspected of selling information and was dismissed from his job. Shortly thereafter, he went to inform the opposition politician Faustin Twagiramungu that he was the target of an assassination plan. Twagiramungu was politically experienced and suspected a trap behind this information, so he informed the UN. At the request of Dallaire, the Belgien UN colleague Luc Marchal went to meet "Jean-Pierre" on 10 January 1994. Marchal was initially quite alarmed by the information, which caused Dallaire to send a fax requesting instructions from New York head office. Both Dallaire and Marchal had no experience with local politics in Rwanda and had only spent a few months resp. weeks in the country. Dallaire mentioned in his fax that this information might also be a trap. The following day they received a reply from New York, telling them to pass on their information to Habyarimana and to the most important foreign embassies.
"Jean-Pierre", or rather Abubakar Turatsinze, had indicated that there were preparations for political assassinations by the government side. He alleged that Habyarimana's people had created secret weapons caches and were planning a genocide against all Tutsi. These rumors, that had been laboriously spread by the RPF within Rwanda, had been established in writing through that UN fax and could be used by Gourevitch in his article and book of 1998, thus reaching an international audience. Twagiramungu would have quickly recognized the false information, but Luc Marchal had just arrived in Rwanda and was initially deceived by Turatsinze, as he later admitted. The reply fax from New York served Kagame's US supporters to create useful legends: The text is used by Gourevitch to suggest that the UN had known about the genocide that would soon occur and had failed to act. Philpot assumes that Gourevitch has been provided with that fax by his brother-in-law James Rubin, the assistant of Madeleine Albright. Philpot reminds the reader that no proof ever existed of Habyarimana's political circles having pre-planned that genocide, and that it is precisely Gourevitch who admits that by calling that fax the most important document to prove such pre-planning. Informer Turatsinze returned to RPF headquarters shortly after making his revelations and was killed under circumstances not disclosed to his wife.
The fax of 11 January 1994 had remained secret until the newspaper Observer in London made allusions to it in November 1995. In early 1998, strong accusations were raised in the French parliament and the Belgien senate against US policy in Rwanda and Congo; the US House of Representatives also discussed the shameful 'inaction' of the Clinton administration during the 1994 genocide. It was at that critical moment, that the reply fax emerged in Gourevitch's office. The presumed sender, James Rubin, had previously prevented the reelection of Boutros Ghali as UN Secretary General in 1996, at the instructions of Albright, and helped to install Kofi Annan as successor, who had been head of UN peacekeeping during the 1994 genocide. This could now be used, first to shift blame from the US administration to the UN, blaming Annan for inaction in the face of genocide, and second to make Annan more politically compliant for the future, concludes Philpot.
The silence of the UN during the 1994 genocide is only then hard to understand if one is unaware of the political weakness of this world body, which is dominated by a few national governments. Former UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali remarked that Madeleine Albright, UN ambassador of the US at the time of the horrible slaughters in 1994, had objected to any military intervention by the UN, even if it was without participation of US soldiers. Philpot adds that British NGOs also rejected the idea of any military intervention, since only a victory of the RPF would achieve an end to the genocide. He notes the geopolitical involvement of various presumably 'humanitarian' organizations. On 28 May 1994, the British magazine Economist wrote in favor of an RPF victory.
Faced with such positions by influential Anglo-Saxon voices, one must not be surprised at the inaction of the UN. The dominant factions within US politics have clearly promoted the RPF victory, even though it was evident that this group represented only a minority in Rwanda. Philpot refers readers to government documents disclosed at the independent National Security Archive at the George Washington University (www.gwu.edu). During the critical three months, the RPF was able to supply itself with weapons coming from Uganda. Long before 6 April 1994, the RPF had prepared for this military struggle for power and infiltrated Rwanda with around 4000 fighters.
Philpot mentions that he had asked Romeo Dallaire for an interview or at least written a response to some questions, both of which Dallaire refused. The Canadian UN general, who was obliged to honor the neutrality attributed to his position, has been known in Rwanda for being close to the RPF. This became evident on the day of his arrival in the country, 22 October 1993, when he did not deal with the assassination of the Hutu president of neighboring Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, that had occurred the day before. After this political killing, the people in Rwanda knew that the Tutsi did not want peace but rather aimed to take power. 375,000 Hutu from Burundi sought refuge in Rwanda directly afterwards, further complicating the situation of the Rwandan government, that already had to take care of a million internally displaced people in the camps around the capital city Kigali. These people had been evicted from their homes in the northern part by the Tutsi invaders from Uganda, and they barely survived in very bad, crowded conditions.
The dubious role of Dallaire is also revealed in an interview published by www.zmag.org (since 2008 renamed: zcommunications.org) in June 2007: David Barouski's Rwandan interview partner Jean-Christophe Nizeyimana reports that Dallaire had reveived RPF forces in his UN headquarters in Kigali in the fall of 1993, and that it was known among UN soldiers that Dallaire did not mediate between the government and the rebels, but rather passed on to the RPF confidential information about the Rwandan government. The UN international peacekeeping troops, represented by Dallaire, have thus not been an impartial mediator but a co-conspirator of the RPF. This happened under political pressure from the political circles around Madeleine Albright in the US. A UN intervention to stop the killing in 1994 was never meant to happen.
5. The ICTR and the conviction of the 'usual suspects click here to watch the video'
In his book (2003), Philpot quotes former rebel leader Paul Kagame, who is president of Rwanda since 2000, that there are roughly 140,000 prisoners in Rwandan jails suspected of having participated in the genocide. Many Rwandans perceive Kagame to be using these prisoners to subjugate and intimidate the Hutu majority population (around 85 percent) in the country, like the Tutsi elite used do to until the end of the colonial period in 1962. Not much better than the situation of the prisoners in Rwanda is that of the accused before the international tribunal ICTR in Arusha/Tanzania. This UN tribunal also seeks to convict people according to political expediency, following the expectations of the regime in Rwanda's capital Kigali. Philpot mentions just two particularly odd examples, those of the two previous prime ministers Faustin Twagiramungu and Pierre-Celestin Rwigema. Twagiramungu was a member of the first RPF government in Kigali from 19 July 1994 to 28 August 1995, then he went into exile in Belgium. When he wanted to attend a conference at his old university in Canada, he was denied a visa because he allegedly was involved in the genocide. His successor in office Rwigema remained until February 2000 and tried hard to arrest participants in the genocide. When he finally went into US exile, an international arrest warrant followed him, based on allegations of involvement in the genocide.
The ICTR is shaped by certain US political interests and funding. According to Anglo-Saxon law, the chief prosecutor is responsible for establishing facts on which a trial will be based. As first chief prosecutor, Richard Goldstone from South African had a defining influence on the ICTR. He spent so much time at expensive dinners in New York City and Washington that UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali and members of the UN Security Council complained about his excessive proximity to US interests. In his book of 2000, Goldstone describes how he received important information for his work directly from the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). Philpot notes that Goldstone writes about the CIA as if it is an official part of the legal system. Goldstone's first written assessment of the situation in Rwanda strictly followed the 'official line', to present the genocide as a sudden event and to avoid any mention of the shooting down of the presidential airplane.
In October 1996 Canadian Louise Arbour became chief prosecutor, chosen by Madeleine Albright. She continued the established practice of not investigating RPF crimes in general or the shooting down of the presidential airplane in particular. Philpot points out that an inclusion of the RPF in the criminal investigation would put the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the justifications for the subsequent wars in the Congo into a completely different light. He mentions the declaration of the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna 1993, which states that denial of a country's right to self-determination constitutes a violation of human rights.
The ICTR is directed towards an international audience, which had always been central to the RPF strategy. The international perception, as shaped by interested circles, was that there were Hutu perpetrators und Tutsi victims. Nevertheless, discrepancies emerged quickly in this version, e.g. when UN general Dallaire publicly said in September 1994 that there had been not an ethnic but a political genocide, where both Hutu und Tutsi had been killed. In November 2002, Louise Arbour replied to a journalist's question, whether the ICTR would finally indict Tutsi, that this was less an ethnic question and more one of political alliances.
Philpot contrasts the ICTR with the historic Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945: The latter served not only to convict those who lost Word War II, it also strengthened two fundamental legal norms, namely that war of aggression is a crime and that national sovereignty is to be respected. These two norms remain central elements of the UN Charter. Going against these norms, the ICTR does not even deal with the war of aggression that the former Ugandan military officers waged against Rwanda since 1990, nor does it mention the repeated violations of sovereignty that the RPF infiltrators committed from Uganda. The ICTR was created to discredit the previous Rwandan government and to whitewash the true aggressors – and this is a tribunal established by the UN. The process at the ICTR reflects the setup of that international court in Tanzania: The witnesses mostly come from Rwanda; those that the regime in Kigali would not want to testify do not get a travel permit, besides they would not be safe at home any longer if they gave 'unwanted' testimony. Philpot stresses that the ICTR has no option to force people to testify or to grant witness protection. Therefore, on 15 November 2007, 31 people accused or convicted by the ICTR have publicly declared themselves "political prisoners of the UN", in order to draw attention to the perversion of justice practiced at this court.
So who is behind this 'international community' that claims to be so active in revealing the crimes committed against millions of Africans? The term is mostly a synonym for NGOs, whose role in the actual genocide has largely remained undisclosed so far. Former Rwandan prime minister Twagiramungu mentioned in a conversation with book author Philpot that there had not been a single human rights organization in Rwanda prior to October 1990, while after this date they have mushroomed. And the 36 secret RPF cells active in Rwanda to overthrow the government have worked mostly through such human rights organizations, as Philpot quotes researcher William Cyrus Reed. These organizations were supported and funded by US and European NGOs, among them Human Rights Watch (New York), the International Federation of Human Rights (Paris), and African Rights (London).
A particulary shameful report about the "violation of human rights in Rwanda since 1 October 1990" has been presented by NGOs in March 1993. Authors are Jean Carbonare/Paris, Philippe Dahinden/Lausanne, Alison Des Forges/USA, Rene Degni-Segui/Abidjan, Pol Dodinval/Liege, Eric Gillet/Brussels, Rein Odink/Amsterdam, Halidou Ouedraogo/Burkina Faso, Andre Paradis/Montreal, William Schabbas/Montreal. This report does not mention the RPF aggression of 1 October 1990, yet it was used politically to justify an arms embargo against the Habyarimana regime, while the RPF could maintain its uninterrupted supply of arms from Uganda. The report has been quoted as proof of the murderous intentions of the Hutu government. And something else is worth mentioning: The Rwandan Association for Human Rights was founded on 30 September 1990, its first president Alphonse-Marie Nkubito became justice minister of the first RPF government in 1994.
6. War in the Congo and the alleged return of Rwandan refugees
On 8 November 1996, the Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien discovered on CNN the horrors that the Rwandan refugees suffered in Goma/Eastern Congo (called Zaire until 1997), whose refugee camps had been bombed for weeks. He telephoned other heads of government and asked for contributions to an international peacekeeping force under Canadian leadership. On 14 November, the UN Security Council decided to send a contingent of 10,000 soldiers to ensure the safe return of 1.3 million Rwandans. Suddenly, the next day thousands of refugees returned to Rwanda, so the international troops were deemed unnecessary. It was claimed that RPF soldiers had attacked the refugee camps and evicted the militias that had prevented the refugees from returning home. Philpot cites an anonymous NGO member, that the Canadian general Maurice Baril who had put this information out is a liar and murderer. The French daily Liberation criticized Baril on 10 March 1997 for having claimed that there were no more Rwandan refugees in the Congo.
In 2002 Raymond Chretien, nephew of Jean and in 1996 special envoy of the UN Secretary General to the crisis region, admitted the high death toll of over one million that everyone had been unwilling to acknowledge at the time. Instead it had been declared that half a million refugees had returned to Rwanda. Leon Kengo wa Dongo, prime minister of Zaire between 1994 and 1997, talked about the "alleged genociders among the refugees in Zaire", who had simply been used as a pretext for the military attack by Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi on his country; thus Kengo wa Dongo attributed careful pre-planning to this whole attack. Eye witnesses described the forced return of the refugees, and how international journalists had been prepared to report these events differently, or how they have let themselves be used. A particularly negative example was Christiane Amanpour of CNN, whose task it had been to spread lies: Philpot quotes Raymond Chretien that she had deliberately ignored all the dubious aspects of this return, like the refusal of the RPF to supply water to the refugees along the border which caused many to die from dehydration. Philpot adds that, not long after this, Amanpour married James Rubin, Albright's assistant.
In a December 2002 interview with Philpot, Kengo wa Dongo spoke about the systematic bombing of the refugee camps in Eastern Congo over weeks, especially the camps Sake and Mugunga around the city of Goma. He wondered who sent the weapons with which the Congolese army had been so easily defeated when trying to defend the country. Eye witnesses mentioned US planes that allegedly have delivered heavy weapons through Kigali. The conditions in the refugee camps are described in a 2000 book by Marie Beatrice Umutesi.
Philpot blames both Chretiens for playing the game of Madeleine Albright, and of having only given the appearance of supporting peacekeeping troops which in reality would never be considered. This is confirmed by the intense yet futile efforts of two Italians, European Commissioner Emma Bonino and European Special Envoy Aldo Ajello, to get a US agreement for such a peacekeeping mission. Raymond Chretien admits that as UN Special Envoy he had the task to push the two Europeans aside and to serve US interests above all. Philpot quotes, as one exception to the wall of silence around the killings in the Congo, director general of USAID Richard McCall, who testified before the US House of Representatives on 5 May 1998 that Kagame and the RPF are not 'rebels', they are genociders with whom he would never negotiate.
Kengo wa Dondo remembers the UN Security Council resolution of 14 November 1996, according to which the UN peacekeepers should have guaranteed Rwandan refugees a safe return home. And he points out that this was exactly what Paul Kagame did not want to see happen. He wanted chaos, or otherwise he would have had to return the stolen land to the returning refugees, they would have demanded participation in a national reconciliation process and might even have demanded democratic elections! Yet the Tutsi minority RPF government could not win free elections in Rwanda. And with no refugees left in the Congo, there would not have been the pretext for Kagame and others to intervene and continue the war against the big, resource-rich neighbor, the ongoing destabilization and exploitation in Eastern Congo – that has continued until now, 2008. Therefore, an international peacekeeping group had to remain a stillborn idea.The most recent report on the death toll in the Congo conflict has been published by Associated Press on 22 January 2008, by writer Heidi Vogt, titled: 45,000 people dying a month in Congo.
Conclusion: Open questions
How can genocide be planned, implemented and covered up for nearly two decades, given that there claims to be a 'free media' in various countries? The complicity in the coverup, by CNN, TIME, Jerusalem Post, Economist etc. and the determined silence of many others require an explanation. In September and October of 2007, TIME magazine carried articles praising today's Rwanda and its leader Paul Kagame. Not yet mentioned by Philpot is journalist Samantha Power, whose 2002 book on genocide contains a chapter on Rwanda that suits the 'official version' of support for the genocidal RPF. She has received the Pulitzer prize for that book. Power is found on the website of Harvard University as Anna Lindh professor at the Kennedy School of Government, she was "Founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy" (1998-2002) and has until recently been foreign policy adviser to US presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Representatives of major 'human rights organizations', among them Doctors without Borders (MSF in French), have vehemently opposed UN intervention to save the refugees. Philpot cites the Belgian senator Alair Destexhe, formerly general secretary of Doctors without Borders, who stressed in the French daily Le Monde that these refugees would have to be driven back to Rwanda by hunger. One has to assume that he knew the political context, so he was aware that these refugees had to fear for their life if they returned to Kagame's Rwanda. The killing of thousands of internally displaced people in the camp Kibeho inside Rwanda in 1995 was known to the refugees in Congo as a clear signal.
Philpot mentions that the co-founder of Doctors without Borders, present French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, has later received the Nobel Peace Prize together with the organization. Evidently, Philpot did not yet know at the time of his writing that Kouchner has been a similarly determined supporter of Kagame as his colleague Destexhe. The French-language website ndagijimana.rmc.fr contains information about Kouchner by Madeleine Raffin, who has lead the charity Caritas in the Rwandan diocese Gikongoro from 1993 to 1997.
It also remains to be explored why Protestant Church circles are among the supporters of the genocide circles, from the Prayer Breakfast network in the US to German church groups that refuse to speak out. Among the academic supporters, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (aaas.org) has to be mentioned, which invited Kagame as guest speaker to its annual conference in Boston from 14 to 18 February 2008. A rare critic of Kagame is social science professor Edward Herman in his article on zmag.org of 26 October 2007, as is law professor Peter Erlinder who also works as defense lawyer at the Arusha tribunal.
Noteworthy is the support in Hollywood for such distorted films as Hotel Rwanda. This explains why the German Oscar-nominated film Sophie Scholl could not get an Oscar in 2005: Those who support false versions about the genocide in Rwanda and Congo could not credibly award a prize to a film about the resistance that young student Sophie Scholl and her friends undertook against the Nazi regime in 1943.
The scandal is not that the people in democracies in North America, Europe are supporting genocide in Africa. The scandal is that, despite the statements in various democratic constitutions and the claims about a 'free media', the general population does not know that dark circles in their countries have supported this genocide in Rwanda and Congo. And the scandal is how many individuals in bureaucracies, the media, universities, politics, churches do know and don't speak out. How can we ensure for the future that democratic values, which people all around the world rightly aspire to, do actually matter into practice?
Dr. Sabine Grund, freelance journalist in Berlin/Germany with background in political science.
Permission, May 29, 2010.
Dr. Sabine Grund wrote:
Dear Team of Afroamerica,
you may have seen the information on the web about the genocide in Rwanda-Congo.
Attached is a summary of the very valuable book by Robin Philpot, which I wrote 2 years ago.
Please help spread the knowledge.