Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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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:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rwanda Official Critical of Amnesty Law Review Appeal

Rwandan president Paul Kagame holds a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda, as citizens vote for president on Monday, 9 Aug 2010
Rwandan president Paul Kagame holds a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda, as citizens vote for president Monday for the second time since the country's 1994 genocide, 9 Aug 2010

Rwanda Official Critical of Amnesty Law Review Appeal

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Rwanda’s Justice Minister has expressed disappointment over the latest report from the human rights group Amnesty International calling on President Paul Kagame’s government to review genocide ideology and sectarianism laws.
Tharcisse Karugarama condemned the report describing it as dishonest and an affront to the government and Rwandans.
The government has said it will review the laws critics charge it uses as tools to suppress its political opponents.
“I did ask different stakeholders, including Amnesty (and) Human Rights Watch to give ideas, if they have any. When they came on board this country, I told them that we are in the process of reviewing that law for different reasons in our own judicial system because we periodically review the laws that we’ve put in place to see how effective they are,” he said.
Karugarama said London-based Amnesty cannot be asking the government to amend the laws when they were aware it was considering reviewing them.
Amnesty international said in its report that both local and international lawyers were unable to define “genocide ideology and sectarianism laws,” especially with some judges saying the measures were broad and abstract.
But, Karugarama said Amnesty International “stole” the government’s initiative in reviewing the laws.
“They want to take our initiative and make it theirs and that is a very dishonest way of doing business. They know we are amending the law. They have given us their ideas and we have responded to them in writing. There was a cabinet decision in April. We asked different stakeholders to provide ideas on how we can improve that legislation,” Karugarama said.
An official with Amnesty International has said that “the ambiguity of the genocide ideology and sectarianism laws means Rwandans live in fear of being punished for saying the wrong thing.”
But, the justice minister said the government has reassured Amnesty it will be taking into consideration its concerns when reviewing the laws to improve them.
“What Amnesty International has not told the world, which is really very unfortunate, is that I gave them three assignments to do for us. One (was) to check for us how this legislation is written in other European countries where hate legislation is in place. They have not responded to that. Then, I ask them also to do research for us on how our courts have interpreted it. They have not done that,” he said.
Officials of Amnesty International were not immediately available for comment despite repeated attempts.

UN mapping report leaked: Crime of genocide against Hutu center of controversy

Over a year after its completion, the UN mapping report has finally been leaked to the press. The report was mandated by the UN to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Congo between 1993 and 2003 in the hope that there could be accountability for the violence. To date, almost nothing has been done to bring those responsible to justice.

The report is huge, spanning 545 pages, and deals with war crimes committed by the security forces of Angola, Mobutu's Zaire, Uganda, Chad, Laurent Kabila's government, Joseph Kabila's government, Zimbabwe, the ex-FAR and Interahamwe (and later the FDLR), the Mai-Mai and the many other rebel groups. I will speak at length about the massacres carried out by these forces in later postings. Here, I will speak about the most controversial claim: the massacres carried out by the Rwandan army (RPA) together with the AFDL rebellion (led by Laurent Kabila) against the Hutu refugees in 1996-1997.

The striking conclusion is that the crimes committed by the RPA/AFDL against Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutu could constitute a crime of genocide. This will be a bombshell for Paul Kagame's government, which prides itself for having brought an end to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and has built its reputation and its appeal to donors on its promotion of post-genocide reconciliation. This report will rock the internet for months and years to come. Its political importance is hard to overstate.

A few words of caution. The report was not based on the standards of a judicial investigation; it was intended to provide a broad mapping of the most serious human rights abuses between 1993 and 2003. Indeed, the report says that an international court will have to be the final arbiter of whether the RPA/AFDL did actually commit acts of genocide. Verbatim: "The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report, which targeted very large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees and members of the Hutu civilian population, resulting in their death, reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide."

Nonetheless, the mapping team's mandate was to documents crimes of genocide, and it was rigorous: In total, the team gathered evidence on 600 incidents of violence between 1993 and 2003. Their standard was two independent sources for each incident. They interviewed 1,280 witnesses and gathered 1,500 documents. Many of the reports of killings of Congolese and Rwandan Hutu civilians were corroborated by eyewitnesses. While we always knew that there had been large massacres of Hutu refugees in the Congo, this is the first rigorous investigation, and the first time an international body has thrown its weight behind charges of genocide.

Another word of caution: This is the preliminary draft. The report is due to be released on Monday, but it has been leaked, I gather because Secretary General Ban Ki Moon - or othr UN officials - has pressed for the charges of "acts of genocide by the RPA/AFDL" to be removed. The Rwandan government has reportedly threatened to withdraw its troops from the AU mission in Darfur and the UN mission in Haiti. I imagine that it is to prevent such editing that the report was finally leaked.

On to the conclusion of the report:

"Paragraph 512. The systematic attacks [...] resulted in a very large number of victims, probably tens of thousands of members of the Hutu ethnic group, all nationalities combined. In the vast majority of cases reported, it was not a question of people killed unintentionally in the course of combat, but people targeted primarily by AFDL/APR/FAB [Burundian army] forces and executed in their hundreds, often with edged weapons. The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or pyschological integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten. Very large numbers of victims were forced to flee and travel long distances to escape their pursuers, who were trying to kill them. The hunt lasted for months, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of people subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions, without access to food or medication. On several occasions, the humanitarian aid intended for them was deliberately blocked, in particular in Orientale Province, depriving them of assistance essential to their survival

"Paragraph 513. At the time of the incidents covered by this report, the Hutu population in Zaire, including refugees from Rwanda, constituted an ethnic group as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Moreover, as shown previously, the intention to destroy a group in part is sufficient to be classified as a crime of genocide. Finally, the courts have also confirmed that the destruction of a group can be limited to a particular geographical area. It is therefore possible to assert that, even if only a part of the Hutu population in Zaire was targeted and destroyed, it could nonetheless constitute a crime of genocide, if this was the intention of the perpetrators. Finally, several incidents listed also seem to confirm that the numerous attacks were targeted at members of the Hutu ethnic group as such. Although, at certain times, the aggressors said they were looking for the criminals responsible for the genocide committed against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, the majority of the incidents reported indicate that the Hutus were targeted as such, with no discrimination between them. The numerous attacks against the Hutus in Zaire, who were not part of the refugees, seem to confirm that it was all Hutus, as such, who were targeted. The crimes committed in particular in Rutshuru (30 October 1996) and Mugogo (18 November 1996), in North Kivu, highlight the specific targeting of the Hutus, since people who were able to persuade the aggressors that they belonged to another ethnic group were released just before the massacres. The systematic use of barriers by the AFDL/APR/FAB, particularly in South Kivu, enabled them to identify people of Hutu origin by their name or village of origin and thus to eliminate them. Hundreds of people of Hutu origin are thus thought to have been arrested at a barrier erected in November 1996 in Ngwenda, in the Rutshuru territory, and subsequently executed by being beaten with sticks in a place called Kabaraza. In South Kivu, AFDL/APR/FAB soldiers erected numerous barriers on the Ruzizi plain to stop Rwandan and Burundian refugees who had been dispersed after their camps had been dismantled.

"514. Several incidents listed in this report point to circumstances and facts from which a court could infer the intention to destroy the Hutu ethnic group in the DRC in part, if these were established beyond all reasonable doubt. Firstly, the scale of the crimes and the large number of victims are illustrated by the numerous incidents described above. The extensive use of edged weapons (primarily hammers) and the systematic massacre of survivors, including women and children, after the camps had been taken show that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage. The systematic nature of the attacks listed against the Hutus also emerges: these attacks took place in each location where refugees had been identified by the AFDL/APR, over a vast area of the country. Particularly in North Kivu and South Kivu but also in other provinces, the massacres often began with a trick by elements of the AFDL/APR, who summoned the victims to meetings on the pretext either of discussing their repatriation to Rwanda in the case of the refugees, or of introducing them to the new authorities in the case of Hutus settled in the region, or of distributing food. Afterwards, those present were systematically killed. Cases of this kind were confirmed in the province of North Kivu in Musekera, Rutshuru and Kiringa (October 1996), Mugogo and Kabaraza (November 1996), Hombo, Katoyi, Kausa, Kifuruka, Kinigi, Musenge, Mutiko and Nyakariba (December 1996), Kibumba and Kabizo (April 1997) and Mushangwe (around August 1997); in the province of South Kivu in Rushima and Luberizi (October 1996), Cotonco and Chimanga (November 1996) and Mpwe (February 1997) and on the Shabunda-Kigulube road (February-April 1997); in Orientale Province in Kisangani and Bengamisa (May and June 1997); in Maniema in Kalima (March 1997) and in Équateur in Boende (April 1997). Such acts certainly suggest premeditation and a precise methodology. In the region south of the town of Walikale, in North Kivu (January 1997), Rwandan Hutus were subjected to daily killings in areas already under the control of the AFDL/APR as part of a campaign that seemed to target any Hutus living in the area in question.

"515. Several of the massacres listed were committed regardless of the age or gender of the victims. This is particularly true of the crimes committed in Kibumba (October 1996), Mugunga and Osso (November 1996), Hombo and Biriko (December 1996) in the province of North Kivu, Kashusha and Shanje (November 1996) in the province of South Kivu, Tingi-Tingi and Lubutu (March 1997) in Maniema Province, and Boende (April 1997) in Équateur Province, where the vast majority of victims were women and children. Furthermore, no effort was made to make a distinction between Hutus who were members of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe and Hutu civilians, whether or not they were refugees. This tendency to put all Hutus together and “tar them with the same brush” is also illustrated by the declarations made during the “awareness-raising speeches” made by the AFDL/APR in certain places, according to which any Hutu still present in Zaire must necessarily be a perpetrator of genocide, since the “real” refugees had already returned to Rwanda. These “awareness-raising speeches” made in North Kivu also incited the population to look for, kill or help to kill Rwandan Hutu refugees, whom they called “pigs”. This type of language would have been in widespread use during the operations in this region.

"516. The massacres in Mbandaka and Wendji, committed on 13 May 1997 in Équateur Province, over 2,000 kilometres west of Rwanda, were the final stage in the hunt for Hutu refugees that had begun in eastern Zaire, in North and South Kivu, in October 1996. Among the refugees were elements of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe, who were disarmed by the local police force as soon as they arrived. In spite of everything, the AFDL/APR opened fire on hundreds of defenceless Hutu refugees, resulting in large numbers of victims.

"517. The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report, which targeted very large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees and members of the Hutu civilian population, resulting in their death, reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide. The behaviour of certain elements of the AFDL/APR in respect of the Hutu refugees and Hutu populations settled in Zaire at this time seems to equate to “a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against that group”, from which a court could even deduce the existence of a genocidal plan. “Whilst the existence of such a plan may contribute to establishing the required genocidal intention, it is nonetheless only an element of proof used to deduce such an intention and not a legal element of genocide.” It should be noted that certain elements could cause a court to hesitate to decide on the existence of a genocidal plan, such as the fact that as of 15 November 1996, several tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees, many of whom had survived previous attacks, were repatriated to Rwanda with the help of the AFDL/APR authorities and that hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees were able to return to Rwanda with the consent of the Rwandan authorities prior to the start of the first war. Whilst, in general, the killings did not spare women and children, it should be noted that in some places, at the beginning of the first war, Hutu women and children were in fact separated from the men, and only the men were subsequently killed.

"518. Nonetheless, neither the fact that only men were targeted during the massacres, nor the fact that part of the group were allowed to leave the country or that there movement was facilitated for various reasons, are sufficient in themselves to entirely remove the intention of certain people to partially destroy an ethnic group as such. In this respect it seems possible to infer a specific intention on the part of certain AFDL/APR commanders to partially destroy the Hutus in the DRC, and therefore to commit a crime of genocide, based on their conduct, words and the damning circumstances of the acts of violence committed by the men under their command. It will be for a court with proper jurisdiction to rule on this question."

The UNHCR Is at It Again: The Rwandan Refugees Profiles in Uganda Might Have Been Sold to Rwanda

Unknown people have broken into the offices of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) and the Refugee Law Project in Kampala, Uganda and made away with documents containing asylum applications for a big number of Rwandan refugees. sources reveal that the incident happened in the last two weeks but no action has been taken by the two organizations while the applicants are thoroughly disappointed and fear for their lives. They are stranded in Kampala-trapped left and right.

A Refugee's testimony ......
The so called a planned burglary at the ofice of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Uganda makes me remember the all preplanned incidents of attacked and protection denial against Hutu refugees of which the UNHCR was involved. Only dead person who does no longer remember what the UNHCR did to Rwandan Hutu refugees since 1994. In fact, all miseries and killings that Hutu refugees experienced around the region were UNHCR motivated incidents. Who can forget the daily calling upon the Hutu refugees to go back to Rwanda since October 1994 and yet the UNHCR knew very well that the killings against the ethnic Hutus were going on on large scale? We cannot forget that more than 99% of all Hutu refugees living in Kenya were denied identification documents by the UNHCR simply because they are of Hutu tribe. I have to remind you that most of these refugees who do not have any protection from UNHCR are children and women. The reason behind this denial of legal documents it is because the members of UNHCR staff were given bribes by Kigali government of Kagame or some of the employees are the agents of Kagame government who fled to Kenya at around 1959 during the Rwandan revolution which gave Rwanda independence.
 Other incidents are the time that UNHCR reduced the retio that was destined to Hutu refugees living in the refugee camps of Goma and Bukavu where the food provision was reduced to 2/3 in order to make refugees starve and force them to go back to Rwanda. Another incident I do not want to forget it is the time when  Sadako Ogatha came to meet the Hutu refugees who had been wandering into the forests of DR Congo since October 1996 when the RPF attacked their camps, and she told all the refugees who were gathered in Tingi Tingi that they deserved to be all dead. This incident of losing all the Rwandan refugee's profile and files from the UNHCR Ugandan office reminds me the other report of the possible genocide that was committed against the Hutus by the RPF in DRC:,,,,
Our sources say it was not a case of burglary because the said offices are high profile and well guarded, all day-all week. The real story is that agents reportedly working for the Rwanda government bribed officials in the said offices to “lose” the files which were still being processed to enable fleeing Rwandans in Uganda head to distant countries mainly in Europe and USA.

Our informers say the Rwandan government suspects that fugitives in neighbouring countries are planning to launch an attack on their home.

Our sources say files lost total in thousands and will spark off widespread protests against the UNHCR which has been previously accused of aiding the forceful repatriation of Rwandan refugees from Uganda.

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Koffi Annan under fire from Kigali over UN “Genocide report”

Koffi Annan under fire from Kigali over UN “Genocide report”

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Govt on Tuesday accused the ex-UN chief Kofi Annan of funding the report which alleges Rwandan forces killed Hutus in DRC
Kigali: Ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN Human Rights Commission came under fierce scrutiny Tuesday as government claimed they have deliberately continued to “diminish” the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
“As we know from the UN Human Rights Commission, this report started under [Kofi Annan],” said Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

“I would have a lot to say about the former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan…Both as Secretary General, as an African and responsible human being…I want to say that his record as far as Rwanda and the Genocide [is concerned] is pitiful,” charged Mushikiwabo at a press conference.

Describing the ex-UN chief as a “man who has never taken his responsibility”, Mushikiwabo said Kofi Annan who was head of peacekeeping at the UN headquarters in 1994, “failed miserably”.

“I am not surprised and my Government is not surprised that he would be the one making sure that there is funding for this kind of report to ensure that it was an important gesture he would pose before he leave office,” said Mushikiwabo.

She said the involvement of kofi Annan in the “making of this report is there. There is no question about it.”

Turning her guns on the UN Human Rights Commission which commissioned the controversial document, the Foreign Minister said it has also deliberately continued since 1994 to undermine the Tutsi mass slaughter. 

“The report reminds us of the climate and the approach that was taken especially by the United Nations Human Rights Commission which instead of dealing with the then extremely grave situation of the Genocide, it was interested in elections,” said Mushikiwabo.

She accused the Commission of asking for elections for purposes of “cleaning up, sanitizing [and] providing legitimacy to individuals and groups” which had committed the Genocide in Rwanda.

“Before the bodies were even buried in this country this UN human rights commission was calling for elections,” said Mushikiwabo.

“Therefore, the diminishing and the lack of decency in front of the Genocide, is what we see today in this report. For us the Government of Rwanda, this report is nothing new. It’s a manifestation of a state of mind.”

Government also fired at the methodology used in compiling the 600-page document branding its methodology as “malicious” because Rwanda was consulted.

The Foreign Minister admitted however that government had received the draft document from the UN Human Rights Commission, but did not say when government got it. 

Speaking about the licking of her letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warning him about the release of the document, Minister Mushikiwabo was bitter.

“It is an irresponsible gesture,” said Mushikiwabo. “We don’t like it.”

She said release of the letter to the media shows a conduct that is problematic” to the UN.

The Minister denied that Rwandan forces killed any civilians because of their ethnic orientations.

The Minister also said Rwandan army and police on peacekeeping missions in five countries around the will be ordered back home immediately the report is published by the UN.

Rwandan opposition calls for fresh polls

 AFP/File – Rwandan polling agent counts presidential ballot papers at Rugunga polling station on August 9, in Kigali. …
NAIROBI (AFP) – Three Rwandan opposition parties locked out of August presidential polls won by incumbent Paul Kagame called on Tuesday for the formation of a transitional government and fresh elections.
The United Democratic Forces, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and the Social Party Imberakuri said that was the only way to ensure peace in the central African country.
"We urgently call for urgent direct talks between the ruling bloc and the genuine opposition parties for a transitional government of national unity involving all stakeholders which will organise free and fair elections.
"We believe that this will be the only solution to achieve sustainable peace in Rwanda," they said in statement.
Kagame won 93 percent of the vote in the August 9 presidential polls for which his government was criticised of excluding the real opposition.
Of the three parties, only the Social Party is registered, but its founding leader, Bernard Ntaganda, who had wanted to challenge Kagame has been in detention since June on charges of denying the 1994 genocide.
United Forces Democratic party leader Victoire Ingabire also faces similar accusations and her movement outside Kigali restricted, while the Green Party's deputy chief Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was murdered in July.
The groups also called for Ingabire and Ntanganda to be freed as well as for an international independent probe on Rwisereka's death.

Legacy of Genocide Fuels Political Repression in Rwanda

A supporter of Rwandan president Paul Kagame shows his support for the ruling RPF party during a victory celebration, 10 Aug 2010
Photo: AP
A supporter of Rwandan president Paul Kagame shows his support for the ruling RPF party during a victory celebration held at the Amhoro stadium in Kigali before the official results are announced, 10 Aug 2010

In the 16 years since the genocide, Rwanda has received nearly universal acclaim for rebuilding its shattered society and re-branding itself as a new "African Tiger."  But concerns are being raised that the legacy of that brutal event has been manipulated for the benefit of the ruling party.

During the past decade, Rwanda has undergone a seemingly impossible transformation.  The tiny central African nation, plagued by the 1994 genocide in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsi's were killed by the country's Hutu majority, has been tirelessly engaged in a campaign to reunite the country and change its international image.

President Paul Kagame has used his considerable authority to quickly rebuild the country, both economically and socially. Mr. Kagame has pushed for the elimination of ethnic identities in favor of Rwandan unity and laid the groundwork for significant investment throughout the country.

The president's government accountability programs have all but eliminated corruption in Rwanda, a minor-miracle in East Africa, and free primary education is nearly universal.

The country is now working to become the African hub of information technology by the year 2020, a growth strategy modeled after the "Asian Tiger" economies of the 1980s and 1990s.  There is also a monthly day of national service, called Umuganda, during which citizens contribute to public works such as planting trees and cleaning streets.

President Kagame has essentially run the country since the end of the 1994 genocide, after he led the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front's campaign against the Hutu government.

The president has been lauded as an African hero, receiving praise from world leaders such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.  The president also has near universal support among Rwandans. In the country's two presidential polls, Mr. Kagame was elected by more than 90 percent of the vote.

But Mr. Kagame's government has drawn sharp criticism in recent months.  The country has come under fire for controversial laws in effect to prevent "sectarianism" and the promotion of "genocide ideology."

In a new report, Amnesty International warns the laws are too vague and had been abused by the government to silence opposition.  The report, entitled "Safer to Stay Silent," charged the laws promoted self-censorship among Rwandans.  But Rwandan Media High Council executive secretary Patrice Mulama said the laws were necessary given Rwanda's history.

"Hate speech is never appropriate in any democracy, in any society, because it burns; it kills people," said Mulama.  "That is why, world over you have laws against discrimination, laws against segregation, laws against hate speech and stuff like that.  You must remember that this is a society that is recovering from a genocide, in which hate speech and racist speech had a very strong role in orchestrating."

In the lead up to the August 9 presidential election, the government was accused by rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders, of suppressing opposition and, in effect, guaranteeing the president's re-election.

Opposition newspapers, such as Umuseso and Umuvigizi, were handed suspensions by Rwanda's Media High Council for publishing articles that allegedly incited public instability or promoted genocide ideology.

Opposition figure Victoire Ingabire was also charged with promoting genocide Ideology.  Ingabire, who had planned to challenge President Kagame in the election, argued that crimes had been committed by both Hutu and Tutsi populations during the genocide.

Ingabire remains a controversial figure in Rwanda, but the author of the Amnesty report, Erwin van der Borght told VOA that legitimate calls for accountability deserved a hearing in Rwanda.  The author urged Rwandan authorities to review the controversial laws in order to prevent further abuse.

"It is obvious that the Rwandese authorities, like any government, have a responsibility to ensure that hate speech is clamped down on, and that incitement to violence and discrimination and the people responsible for that are investigated and prosecuted," said van der Borgh.  "The problem is that with the Genocide Ideology law is the Rwandese government went too far in restricting freedom of expression.  We see that it is being abused and misused against political opponents, human rights activists and the media."

Controversy has erupted during the past week that could challenge the traditional narrative of the Rwandan genocide.  An upcoming U.N. report, leaked to the media has found the Rwandan Patriotic Front was involved in killing thousands of Hutu refugees in Congo before and after the genocide in Rwanda.

While the Rwandan Patriotic Front has maintained its efforts in Congo targeted Hutu militias, the report found evidence of large-scale human-rights violations committed against civilian populations.

The Rwandan government has blasted the report, calling it "immoral and unacceptable" and accused the United Nations of hypocrisy, citing the organization's failure to respond to the 1994 killings.  The central African nation has threatened to withdraw from its U.N. obligations if the report is published.  And, it has been revealed the government has completed a plan to withdraw its peacekeepers from the U.N. mission in Darfur.

Monday, August 30, 2010

UN report to show Rwanda massacred Hutus in DR Congo, says Le Monde

Rwandan soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The French media reported on Friday that a UN report will detail mass killing of Hutu refugees by Rwandan forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s.
Friday's Le Monde newspaper has seen what it describes as "an almost definitive version" of a 600-page UN report. The document investigates human rights abuses in eastern DRC, between 1993 and 2003.
Over a million Hutus fled to the DRC in the wake of Rwanda's 1994 genocide, which ended when President Paul Kagame's RPF forces took control of the country.
Le Monde says the report identifies "systematic attacks" against these Hutu refugees by the Rwandan army - and the Congolese rebel group the AFDL - in the years 1996 to 1998.
The report suggests that there could be a basis for a charge of genocide.
Although other armies are also cited in the investigation, the paper claims that Kigali has spent weeks attempting to quash it. Le Monde says that Kagame threatened last month to pull Rwandan troops out of UN peacekeeping missions over the allegations.
The paper also quotes a letter from Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, written earlier this month to the UN. Her letter suggests similar consequences if the report is "published" or "leaked to the press".
But Le Monde says Ban Ki Moon is uneasy with any use of the term "genocide" in the final version of the report, due out next month - and that he has warned its authors to verify the legal basis of any accusations they make.
Rwanda meanwhile described the allegations against its army as "outrageous".

RWANDA'S reckoning has come and it is long overdue.

Accusations of genocide now levelled in a leaked UN report at its Tutsi-led government are no surprise to the peacekeepers or aid workers who have lived and worked in the tragic crucible of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and heard the terrible testimony of the massacres there.
The report, due for release next month, details the systematic killings of tens of thousands of ethnic Hutus inside the DRC in the wake of the 1994 genocide. Most of the incidents that the report documents are at least 15 years old. For most of that time, they have been considered simply too explosive to be scrutinised publicly, adding to a conspiracy of silence about the Tutsi crimes of the Rwandan genocide.
Rwanda proclaims itself furious that investigators did not go there to ask questions. Would they have got any answers? Rwanda is a virtual police state where the human rights community is among the most cowed in the world. To challenge the accepted narrative of the Tutsis as Rwanda's liberators is to "perpetrate genocidal ideology" and is forbidden.
Rwanda is outraged to be judged by the UN, an organisation that so dramatically failed it in its hour of need. Here it may have a point. But Rwanda has too long relied on the world's guilt over failing to stop the genocide to avoid scrutiny of its more unpalatable behaviour.
Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President and leader of the troops accused of genocide, has been adept at milking this, becoming the darling of Western governments and the recipient of billions in aid. Britain, in particular, has long been enamoured by him, despite evidence that millions of pounds of British aid helped to fund his plunder of natural resources in Congo, contributing to millions of deaths in the war there.
Will this report change anything? As the authors note, it is up to an independent court to decide whether what happened was genocide.
That court could be the International Criminal Court, to which Congo is a signatory. Rwanda, intriguingly, is not.
Justice for Rwanda has been victor's justice until now, but that narrative has a potent challenge.
The Times
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The Lives of Prisoners in Rwandan Central Jail

Forty centimetres: space
By Carina Tartsakian
The lives of  Hutu prisoners in Rwanda
Forty centimetres is the standard width of a prisoner’s individual space, where he sleeps, where he eats, where he sits, where he lives.  He calls it his château, his castle.  It consists of one or two planks of wood placed on a metal frame.  The planks are lined up next to each other, with no space in between.  Sometimes there are makeshift partitions between the planks, but often there aren’t.  The planks are on a structure of bunk-beds, on three levels, with a wooden ladder propped up against the front to climb up to the top levels.  There are no cells, just row after row of these bunk-bed structures, erected in basic buildings.  Each building is a block.  Several hundred prisoners are crammed into each block.  Several thousand prisoners are crammed into each prison.
There are not enough châteaux for everybody – far from it.  Those who get a space on these planks are the lucky ones.  Others have to sleep on the ground in a tiny space underneath the lowest row of planks, on the concrete; it is so low you would not think an adult could enter it.  But they do, tall men with supple bodies crawling in there like cats, their bodies bending at improbable angles.  Or old men for whom the process of sliding in and out of this space is visibly painful.  Once in, they can barely move.  They lie there with the top of their head grazing the planks of the bunk-bed above them.  They can’t turn over and they can barely breathe.  In Cyangugu Central Prison, these spaces under the beds are called “mines”; in Butare, they are indake (trenches); in Gitarama, they are igara (the place underneath).  One prisoner told us he had spent six years sleeping in a mine, on the concrete under someone else’s bed.
Other prisoners sleep on the ground in the corridors, in the gangways between the bunk-beds, where they are often trampled on or accidentally kicked.  One prisoner told us that people can’t complain if you walk on them, because it is obviously not done on purpose.  Another prisoner who had been sleeping in a corridor for more than three years explained how he had to fold up his legs all the time so that people could pass without walking on him.  Many sleep directly on the ground.  Others sleep on pieces of cardboard, or on a torn sack, or on part of a blanket, with the other part folded over them. 

In one huge room in Butare Central Prison, known as the chapel, there are no metal structures and no bunk-beds.  There are just rows of narrow wooden benches on the ground.  Each bench is about 30 centimetres wide.  One layer of prisoners sleeps on top of these benches and another underneath, in a grid-like formation.  The prisoners gave us a demonstration:  one person lies on the bench, on a folded sack which serves as a mattress.  Three others lie underneath, on the ground between the two feet of the bench, at right angles to the one on top.  The only way for those on top to get up at night is to step on the last few inches of each bench which have deliberately been left empty for this purpose.  Other people sleep across all the pathways on the ground.  About 400 people live in the chapel.
In Butare prison, there is another area known as Kuwait, so named by the prisoners because it is a gulf, a narrow impasse.  It is dark, damp and airless, and there is an overpowering smell from the adjacent toilets and showers.  Just outside Kuwait, people sleep in an area which is also used to wash, but which is distinct from the official showers.  It is a narrow corridor, but less dark than Kuwait because it is in the open air.  When we walk through, some of the prisoners who live there are sitting crouched up against the walls, with dirty, soapy water swilling around their feet and dripping down the walls, while others are having their shower opposite them.  They have to clean the area each night before going to sleep there.
The even less fortunate sleep outside, in the yard, in the open air, exposed to the hot sun and frequent downpours of heavy rain.  Some have plastic sheeting to protect them, but it is old and worn, stitched and patched up again and again until it can be patched up no longer; the rain drips in through the holes.  The sheeting is rolled back during the day, unless it is raining, and brought back at night, but it doesn’t cover the whole yard, so some prisoners remain exposed.  Some more enterprising prisoners have erected precarious structures against the walls of the yard, made of a combination of wooden planks and pieces of sheeting; these are called ibyari, birds’ nests.  But most just sleep where they can on the ground outside, sitting against the walls, or in the middle of the yard, next to drainage channels and puddles of dirty rain.

In the annex to Butare prison, known as Rwandex, there are prisoners who sleep on top of the septic tanks located under the main path in two of the blocks, in the open air.  Once or twice a month, the path has to be dug up, using metal handles, and the septic tanks emptied into the drainage channels which run through the prison and out.  The job of emptying the septic tanks takes 24 hours.  The team of prisoners responsible for hygiene works through the night.  When the tanks are being emptied, the prisoners who live there have to move and find somewhere else to sleep.  We met a prisoner who had been sleeping on the ground over the septic tanks for one year and four months:  “Since arriving in Rwandex, until today, I’ve been sleeping over the septic tanks.  The smell is very bad.  They empty the tanks regularly and it stinks terribly.  On the nights when they empty it, we just walk around all night.  We call it abari ku izamu [nightwatchmen].”
Every aspect of prison life in Rwanda is defined by the overcrowding.  The first hint is the noise.  At Nsinda, the approach to the prison is down a quiet path dotted with small houses, one or two shops, and fruit and vegetable crops.  As you draw closer to the prison, you become aware of a sound like the humming of thousands of bees coming from behind the prison walls a few yards ahead.  It is the sound of prisoners talking, working, getting on with their daily lives.  In other prisons, the sound is not audible from the outside, but as soon as the guards open the interior gate to let anyone in or out, the sound rises and wraps itself around you.  Once you are inside, after a few seconds, you no longer even notice it.  
Many of the blocks we walked through were so dark that it took some time for our eyes to adjust.  We were afraid of tripping over or bumping into people as we wended our way down the narrow passageways.  Some prisons have electricity, but the supply is erratic at best, and there was no lighting in the blocks we visited during the daytime.  Nsinda prison has tents instead of blocks, and a larger space outside the tents in which prisoners can walk around, but inside each tent, there is the same three-tier bunk-bed structure as in the other prisons, in the same oppressive darkness, overflowing with hundreds of prisoners.  In some prisons, efforts were still being made to carve out new living areas within the limited space available:  in Cyangugu prison, prisoners had constructed a new place in the yard which they called gariyamoshi (train, in Swahili) because it is made of metal.  Prisoners who live there say they live in the train.  The train was covered with sacking, but within a short time, the sacking was already torn.

In Butare prison, until 2003, people were still sleeping in the showers, in the toilets and on makeshift platforms higher up above the toilets.  They also used to sleep on the roof, in the open air.  In 2004, the roof area – which we accessed by climbing up a long steep ladder – is still crowded but no one sleeps there anymore.  It is used for classes.  Groups of 15 or 20 prisoners sit clustered in front of blackboards, in the blazing sun.  There is no shelter.  All around them, on the rooftops, blankets have been laid out to dry on the corrugated iron roofs, placed there with long wooden poles.  When you stand on the roof and look out over the prison walls, you get a clear view of the green hills all around; you can see fields and people in the distance, lots of open space, the world outside.  
In Gitarama prison, the first interior courtyard, after going through the gate, is crammed full of people.  It is as if they have gathered there for a purpose, awaiting a meeting or an important announcement.  In fact, they are just standing there because that is where they live.  It is the same thing in one of the big rooms inside, formerly used as a chapel.  It is a huge room, full of people, some sitting, some standing, some lying down, again looking as if they are waiting for something.  The chapel is home to 320 prisoners and, as in Butare, they sleep on benches.  Further inside the prison, unpleasant smells waft in from the kitchen and swirls of acrid smoke and ashes blow into our eyes as we walk past.  Prisoners are living and sleeping right next to the kitchen, with the smoke blowing straight at them.  A few prisoners walk past, screwing up their eyes against the smoke, but most are just sitting there; that is where they spend their days and their nights.  Inside the blocks, it is dark and extremely crowded.  Many prisoners are just lying or sitting in their châteaux.  Some peer out from behind improvised curtains.  They don’t seem surprised by our visit.  Some smile and greet us.  Most stare in silence.  The expression in their eyes is not blank; it is a direct and piercing look, yet it is difficult to decipher its meaning.  I remember, when I visited the prisons in earlier years, being met by a sea of intense stares, distrustful, defiant, even fierce, and all of them expectant.  Several years on, there is no longer any ferocity, and no longer any expectation, just a tired resignation.

Au Nord-Kivu, les rescapés de Kiringa n’ont rien oublié

Dans cette localité du Nord-Kivu, peuplée principalement de Hutus, plusieurs centaines de civils ont été exécutés de manière systématique

Quatorze ans après, Zacharie (1) n’a rien oublié. « Quand je me souviens de ces événements, je deviens inerte, dit ce cultivateur de 36 ans. J’avais beaucoup d’amis, ils ne sont plus. » Les « événements », c’est le massacre, en 1996, de la majeure partie des habitants de sa localité, Kiringa, située en périphérie de la ville de Rutshuru, au Nord-Kivu, dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC).

Kiringa est essentiellement peuplée de Hutus congolais, dont beaucoup descendent de Rwandais transférés au Kivu par les colons belges durant la première moitié du XXe siècle. Certains appartiennent à des familles de militaires, car la colline abritait un camp des forces armées zaïroises.

« En 1996, quand les militaires tutsis sont venus, on a fui dans les champs, explique Zacharie, qui avait 22 ans à l’époque. Ils ont envoyé des émissaires pour nous inciter à rentrer au village. Nous sommes alors revenus en groupe. Le matin du 30 octobre, on nous a convoqués à une réunion obligatoire. Les militaires nous ont fait monter tous ensemble jusqu’au bâtiment du parc national Albert, en haut de la colline. Après des heures d’attente à l’intérieur, on a dit qu’on voulait sortir, mais les militaires nous en empêchaient. Ils étaient nombreux et encerclaient le bâtiment. »

« Avec un marteau, ils frappaient les gens derrière la tête »

Dans l’après-midi, les militaires procèdent au recensement des personnes retenues et demandent aux personnes d’ethnie Nande de rentrer chez elles. Ils séparent ensuite les hommes des femmes, au motif que ces dernières doivent aller préparer le repas. Elles sont conduites jusqu’à la maison de la poste, où elles sont exécutées.

Les hommes hutus sont toujours enfermés. « Le soir, les Rwandais ont dit que nous étions les bandits qu’ils recherchaient les Interahamwe (NDLR : génocidaires hutus rwandais), poursuit Zacharie. Vers 19 heures, ils nous ont fait retirer nos chemises pour couvrir nos visages et ligoter nos bras. Puis des militaires conduisaient les personnes deux par deux au bord d’un grand trou, derrière l’actuel hôpital militaire. Avec un marteau, ils frappaient les gens derrière la tête. Les victimes criaient une fois et c’était tout. »

Redoutant le sort qui l’attend, Zacharie parvient, avec six autres adolescents, à se dissimuler dans le faux plafond du bâtiment. Au milieu de la nuit, il réussit à s’enfuir et se cache dans un champ. « Après sept jours, on a su que des gens avaient pu revenir au village sans être inquiétés, donc on est rentrés, dit-il. Les Rwandais n’étaient plus là, mais on avait toujours peur des militaires. »

Il apprend alors que toute sa belle-famille – beau-père, belle-mère, beaux-frères, belles-sœurs – a perdu la vie. Une autre villageoise, Fortunée, vit à quelques mètres de la fosse où ont été jetés les corps de pratiquement toute sa belle-famille. « Mes beaux-parents avaient sept enfants, relate-t-elle. Deux seulement, dont mon mari, ont pu échapper au massacre, l’un parce qu’il gardait les chèvres, l’autre parce qu’il a pu se cacher. »

Des membres de l'actuelle armée congolaise, anciens bourreaux

Selon l’ONU, « 350 civils au moins » auraient été tués en 1996 à Kiringa. Mais, à en croire un journaliste local ayant enquêté sur les massacres de 1996, ce chiffre pourrait se monter à 850. La plupart des corps sont toujours là. Des rubans colorés et des barbelés posés par la force de l’ONU en RDC signalent ici une fosse commune, là une ancienne fosse septique où furent jetés des corps.

Comme souvent au Nord-Kivu, les familles tutsies du village avaient envoyé leurs fils se joindre aux rebelles du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR), qui avaient pris le pouvoir en 1994, mettant fin au génocide des Tutsis. Selon plusieurs témoins, ce sont des jeunes Tutsis originaires de Kiringa qui, en 1996, commandaient les massacres dans leur propre village. « Ceux qui sont venus nous tuer, nous les avons revus en tant qu’officiers du Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (NDLR : rébellion soutenue par le Rwanda créée ultérieurement), assure Clément, 30 ans. Et ils sont aujourd’hui dans l’armée congolaise », à la suite de l’intégration des ex-rebelles en son sein en 2009.

Les massacres de 1996 ne furent que les premiers d’une longue série de malheurs liés aux guerres successives au Nord-Kivu. Comme le dit un jeune du village, « ici, on est habitués à souffrir ». Pourtant, la banalisation de la violence, l’accumulation du malheur n’effacent rien : les rescapés témoignent et sont conscients d’avoir vécu, en 1996, un drame d’une ampleur indescriptible.

Rwanda / Vague laws used to criminalise criticism of government

Rwanda / Vague laws used to criminalise criticism of government

KIGALI, Rwanda, August 30, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Rwanda’s new government must urgently review vague ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws that are being used to suppress political dissent and stifle freedom of speech, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

Safer to Stay Silent: The Chilling Effect of Rwanda’s Laws on ‘Genocide Ideology’ and ‘Sectarianism’ details how the vague wording of these laws is misused to criminalize criticism of the government and legitimate dissent by opposition politicians, human rights activists and journalists.

“The ambiguity of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ law means Rwandans live in fear of being punished for saying the wrong thing,” said Erwin van der Borght, Africa Program director at Amnesty International. “Most take the safe option of staying silent.”

Amnesty International found that many Rwandans, even those with specialist knowledge of Rwandan law including lawyers and human rights workers, were unable to precisely define ‘genocide ideology’. Even judges, the professionals charged with applying the law, noted that the law was broad and abstract.

In the lead-up to the August 9 presidential elections two opposition candidates were arrested and charged, among other things, with ‘genocide ideology’. A newspaper editor was also arrested on the same charge.

The BBC and VOA have both been accused of disseminating ‘genocide ideology’ by the government. These accusations led to the suspension of the BBC Kinyarwanda service for two months from April 2009.

At a local level individuals appear to use ‘genocide ideology’ accusations to settle personal disputes. These laws allow for the criminal punishment even of young children under 12, as well as parents, guardians or teachers convicted of “inoculating” a child with “genocide ideology”.  Sentences for convicted adults range from 10 to 25 years imprisonment.

The ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws were introduced to restrict speech that could promote hatred in the decade following the 1994 genocide. Up to 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the genocide, mostly ethnic Tutsi, but also Hutu who opposed the organized killing. Prohibiting hate speech is a legitimate aim, but the approach used by the Rwandan Government has violated international law.

The Rwandan government announced a review of the ‘genocide ideology’ law in April 2010.  The government should also launch a review of the ‘sectarianism’ law and demonstrate a new approach to freedom of expression in order to stem the chilling effect of past legislation.

The Rwandan government must significantly amend the laws, publicly express a commitment to freedom of expression, review past convictions and train police and prosecutors on how to investigate accusations.

“We hope that the government review will result in a meaningful revision of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws so that freedom of expression is protected both on paper and in practice,” said Erwin van der Borght.


Amnesty International

Amnesty Int’l calls on Rwanda to review ‘genocide ideology’ law

August 30th, 2010 in News, World 76 views
APA-Moscow (Russia) The London-based human rights organization, Amnesty International (AI), has said in a new report released here on Monday that Rwanda’s new government must urgently review its vague ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws that are being used to suppress political dissent and stifle freedom of speech.
The report titled “Safer to Stay Silent : The Chilling Effect of Rwanda’s Laws on Genocide Ideology and Sectarianism” details how the vague wording of these laws is misused to criminalize criticism of the government and legitimate dissent by opposition politicians, human rights activists and journalists.
“The ambiguity of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ law means Rwandans live in fear of being punished for saying the wrong thing,” said Erwin van der Borght, Africa Program director at Amnesty International. “Most take the safe option of staying silent.”
Amnesty found that many Rwandans, even those with specialist knowledge of Rwandan law including lawyers and human rights workers, were unable to precisely define ‘genocide ideology’. Even judges, the professionals charged with applying the law, noted that the law was broad and abstract.
In the lead-up to the August 9 presidential elections in Rwanda, two opposition candidates were arrested and charged, among other things, with ‘genocide ideology’. A newspaper editor was also arrested on the same charge.
The BBC and VOA have both been accused of disseminating ‘genocide ideology’ by the government. These accusations led to the suspension of the BBC Kinyarwanda service for two months from April 2009.
At a local level, individuals appear to use ‘genocide ideology’ accusations to settle personal disputes. These laws allow for the criminal punishment even of young children under 12, as well as parents, guardians or teachers convicted of “inoculating” a child with “genocide ideology”. Sentences for convicted adults range from 10 to 25 years imprisonment.
The report says that ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws were introduced to restrict speech that could promote hatred in the decade following the 1994 genocide. Up to 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the genocide, mostly ethnic Tutsi, but also Hutu who opposed the organized killing. Prohibiting hate speech is a legitimate aim, but the approach used by the Rwandan government has violated international law.
The Rwandan government announced a review of the ‘genocide ideology’ law in April 2010. The report however called on the government to also launch a review of the ‘sectarianism’ law and demonstrate a new approach to freedom of expression in order to stem the chilling effect of past legislation.
“The Rwandan government must significantly amend the laws, publicly express a commitment to freedom of expression, review past convictions and train police and prosecutors on how to investigate accusations.
“We hope that the government review will result in a meaningful revision of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws so that freedom of expression is protected both on paper and in practice,” said Erwin van der Borght.

«La fin de seize ans d’impunité pour les vainqueurs au Rwanda»

«La fin de seize ans d’impunité pour les vainqueurs au Rwanda»


André Guichaoua, sociologue, sur le rapport de l’ONU sur les exactions en RDC :
Dix ans de meurtres, de viols et d’exactions en république démocratique du Congo (RDC) et une accusation d’éventuel génocide à l’encontre du Rwanda d’aujourd’hui : c’est ce que contient la version provisoire d’un rapport de 545 pages que n’a pas encore publié le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme (HCDH), mais dont les fuites sont parvenues jeudi à la presse. Le document revient sur ce qui s’est tramé dans l’ex-Zaïre entre mars 1993 et juin 2003. Une période qui couvre les deux guerres du Congo, qualifiées de «guerre mondiale africaine» en raison du nombre de pays impliqués - 9 selon le rapport - mais aussi de victimes, qui se comptent par millions.
Rejeté jeudi comme «balivernes» par le gouvernement rwandais, le document met Kigali dans l’embarras. Il ouvre la voie à d’éventuelles poursuites pour «crimes contre l’humanité, crimes de guerre, voire de génocide». Si tous les regards se tournent de nouveau vers le Rwanda, il ne s’agit pas, cette fois, de se souvenir du génocide de 800 000 Tutsis par des milices hutues en 1994 mais du massacre systématique et prémédité par l’armée rwandaise, en territoire congolais, de dizaines de milliers de Hutus qui avaient fui le Rwanda par crainte de représailles tutsies. Le régime de Paul Kagame dément toute exaction en RDC, et affirme n’avoir fait que poursuivre dans l’ex-Zaïre les miliciens hutus génocidaires. Or, ce rapport du HCDH change un rapport de force et une écriture de l’Histoire, que décrypte pour Libération le sociologue français André Guichaoua, spécialiste de la région des Grands Lacs.
Pourquoi des fuites de ce rapport parviennent-elles maintenant à la presse ?
En fait, le rapport est congelé depuis plusieurs mois. Ces fuites sont habituelles, sur ce type de document, mais le plus surprenant aujourd’hui, c’est la réaction indignée des autorités rwandaises, alors qu’elles font pression depuis plusieurs semaines pour bloquer le rapport !
Que pensez-vous de l’accusation de génocide formulée à demi-mots par le rapport, à l’encontre d’une armée rwandaise accusée d’avoir massacré des Hutus en RDC ?
Des actes génocidaires ont été commis, c’est indéniable. Mais de tels actes ne font pas génocide. Si toutes les fois que des actes génocidaires étaient commis, on utilisait le terme de génocide, nous en aurions dix ou vingt par an. L’utilisation du terme est d’ailleurs laissée à l’appréciation des juristes par le rapport, qui n’a pas voulu franchir ce pas.
Quoi qu’il arrive, il me paraît très difficile de mettre sur le même plan la reconnaissance d’un éventuel génocide des Hutus au Congo avec celui des Tutsis au Rwanda. Il n’y avait pas les mêmes objectifs, la même finalité. Ce qui est plus ennuyeux encore, c’est le risque de globalisation de toutes les victimes des deux guerres du Congo. Entre 1998 et 2003, la grande guerre africaine a fait entre 3 et 4 millions de victimes, essentiellement civiles, dont on ne peut pas attribuer la responsabilité au seul Rwanda. Or, l’amalgame risque d’être fait dans les comptes rendus et l’utilisation politique du rapport.
Paul Kagame va-t-il de devenir un paria sur la scène internationale ?
Son affaiblissement est déjà réel. La dernière présidentielle au Rwanda, qu’il a remportée avec 93% des voix, n’a pas été une fête, en grande partie à cause de la manière dont la campagne a été menée. Les motifs d’énervement du candidat-président tenaient déjà à l’actualité qui se profilait, avec ce rapport. Il existe par ailleurs un désenchantement des bailleurs de fonds. Le département d’Etat américain a adressé des critiques au Rwanda. Or, ce pays ne tient que grâce à deux ressources : l’aide extérieure et les minerais du Kivu, région de la RDC située à la frontière du Rwanda. C’est le fait de le dire qui pose problème aujourd’hui.
Pourquoi les autorités rwandaises se montrent-elles aussi nerveuses concernant ce rapport ?
Parce qu’il met fin à seize ans d’impunité du camp des vainqueurs au Rwanda. Si le Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda (TPIR) avait joué son rôle et lancé des procédures sur les massacres de Hutus, des actes connus et documentés, le sentiment profond d’une incroyable injustice n’existerait pas aujourd’hui. Parce que le Rwanda a bénéficié du laxisme de la communauté internationale, il se retrouve dans une situation très complexe aujourd’hui. Des Rwandais, mais aussi des pays comme l’Espagne ou le Canada, dont des ressortissants ont été tués, et qui n’ont jamais osé porter plainte, vont pouvoir le faire.
Le rapport de forces idéologique a changé, et risque de se solder par une multiplication des procédures. Même des observateurs des Nations unies ont été assassinés par le Front patriotique rwandais [FPR, au pouvoir à Kigali, ndlr], et les dossiers ont ensuite été enterrés. Tout cela peut ressurgir. On a mis sous le boisseau un nombre incalculable de procédures, alors que tout le monde savait que des crimes importants avaient été commis. On a construit une success story rwandaise, un noyau de croyances qui s’est consolidé avec la caution tacite des Nations unies. Si le TPIR avait fait son travail, on n’en serait pas là.

A Generalized Climate of suspicion within the Rwandan Army and Tutsi Elite Community in Rwanda.

According to reliable sources, for the past one month alone, more that 50 military personnel have been killed or arrested on suspicion of conspiring with General Kayumba Nyamwasa and others. Today there is a generalised climate of fear in army officers' ranks that they may be treated the same way depending on whether someone they befriend or speak with could be among the arrested or killed.
In front of such climate of suspicion in the Army, a large number of military officers from Western provice have deserted and went into exile. Meanwhile, intesive army recruitement and collective promotions are taking place in the Army.
Deo Mushyayidi Handcuffed by Police
Gen Nyamwasa in hospital in South Africa

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Crimes de guerre en RDC : Kagame dos au mur

Crimes de guerre en RDC : Kagame dos au mur
Par  Le Potentiel
Est-ce la fin de l’état de grâce pour le Rwandais Paul Kagame ? En tout cas, c’est ce qui ressort du rapport que s’apprête de rendre public en septembre prochain le Haut Commissariat des Nations -nies aux droits de l’homme (HCDH). La lecture de ce document dont certains médias européens ont obtenu des copies, indique que le régime de Kigali pourrait répondre devant la justice internationale des actes commis par ses troupes en RDC entre 1996 et 2003. Actes que l’ONU assimile aux crimes de guerre, crimes contre l’humanité et au génocide. La réaction du gouvernement congolais ne s’est pas fait attendre. Dans un volumineux document de plusieurs centaines de pages, Kinshasa a rejeté certaines allégations contenues dans le rapport de HCDH.
A première vue, le rapport du Haut Commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme (HCDH) est accablant. C’est l’avis émis par le journal Le Monde qui a pu se procurer une copie du document dont la parution est projetée pour septembre prochain.
En réalité, le HCDH dresse le bilan de dix ans des guerres sur la période allant de 1993 à 2003. Il s’est appesanti sur les crimes commis entre 1996 et 1998, période où il est répertorié le plus grand nombre d’exactions que l’organe spécialisé de l’Onu assimile aux « crimes de guerre, crimes contre l’humanité voire au génocide ».
Ce rapport a l’avantage de changer la donne dans la région des Grands Lacs, dominée pendant longtemps par le spectre de la victimisation des Tutsi par leurs frères Hutu. Le HCDH ne bronche pas sur les faits. Sans détours, il conclut qu’il y a bel et bien génocide sur les Tutsi autant il y en a eu sur les Hutu. Et, lorsque l’organe spécialisé des Nations unies se lance dans ses affirmations, il se base sur des éléments fort probants pour faire passer sa thèse. Des faits et des témoignages ont été rassemblés pour soutenir cette thèse.
Le rapport fait mention de la nature systématique, méthodologique et préméditée des attaques contre les Hutu qui se sont déroulées dans chaque localité où des réfugiés ont été dépistés par l’AFDL/APR sur une très vaste étendue du territoire de la RDC. Des camps entiers détruits. Des survivants poursuivis et privés d’aide humanitaire. « L’usage extensif d’armes blanches et les massacres systématiques des survivants après la prise des camps démontrent que les nombreux décès ne sont pas imputables aux aléas de la guerre », note le HCDC. Parmi les victimes se comptaient des enfants, des femmes, des personnes âgées et des malades.
D’ores et déjà des analystes pensent qu’il est temps de conjuguer le règne de Paul Kagame au passé, car malgré toutes les tentatives d’étouffer le rapport du HCDH, il devra répondre de toutes les exactions commises par ses troupes en RDC.
A ce propos, le quotidien français indique qu’ayant eu vent du rapport, le président rwandais avait menacé directement le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon, de retirer ses troupes des missions de maintien de la paix de l’ONU. C’était en juillet dernier à Madrid, fait observer Le Monde.
Tout récemment, c’est-à-dire début août, Kigali est revenu à la charge, cette fois par le biais d’une lettre dans laquelle il entendait « revenir sur ses divers engagements auprès des Nations unies tout particulièrement dans le domaine du maintien de la paix dans le cas où ledit rapport serait rendu public ou ferait l’objet des fuites dans la presse ». Le Monde fustige dans le même ordre la tentative ratée de Ban Ki-moon de pousser la Haut Commissaire pour les droits de l’Homme, Navanethem Pilay, à retirer le mot génocide du rapport. Peine perdue.
Les complices de Paul Kagame dans cette épopée meurtrière dont le bilan macabre avoisine les 6 millions de morts devraient se tenir prêts à répondre de leur participation.
Le rapport n’est pas tendre sur les présumés coupables de ce désastre qui se recrutent bien au-delà du territoire rwandais. Le rapport note que l’offensive militaire de l’armée de Paul Kagame a été menée sous le couvert de l’Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo (AFDL) dont les troupes, l’armement et la logistique étaient fournis par le Rwanda.
Il faut noter ici que le Rwanda n’est pas le seul pays indexé. L’Ouganda, l’Angola, le Burundi, entre autres, sont cités et des faits précis sont expressément mis à leur charge.
Si jamais elle était mise en marche, la machine judiciaire internationale n’épargnera pas non plus les parrains de l’homme fort de Kigali. Le but poursuivi par l’ONU étant de rendre justice aux victimes et de rompre le cycle d’impunité qui prévaut dans la région des Grands Lacs avec l’appui des puissances occidentales. Et dans le cas précis, suggère le HCDH, de nouveaux mécanismes judiciaires devront être vite trouvés, car la plupart des crimes commis l’ont été avant la mise en œuvre de la Cour pénale internationale.
Il s’ensuit que le règne des hommes forts dans les Grands Lacs touche à sa fin et que l’on ne devrait plus se leurrer sur l’aboutissement du processus démocratique, de la promotion des droits de l’homme et de l’instauration de l’Etat de droit.
Le glas a sonné pour l’état de grâce jusque-là reconnu à Paul Kagame mais également à tous les faiseurs de guerres et auteurs ou co-auteurs de divers crimes décrits dans le rapport coupe-gorge du HCDH.

Forthcoming UN DRC report suggests genocide by Rwanda forces

Ann Riley at 1:57 PM ET

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[JURIST] A forthcoming UN report claims that troops from Rwanda and allied rebels committed crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) [JURIST news archives] that could be classified as genocide if proven by the appropriate court, according to media reports. The draft report, first publicized by French newspaper Le Monde [media website, in French] last week, documents the extreme violence in the DRC from 1993-2003, alleging that tens of thousands of Hutus were killed by Rwandan troops [Le Monde report, in French] during the Congo civil war [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Following the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], in which more than 800,000 primarily Tutsi people were killed in a span of 100 days, Hutu militias and civilians fled to neighboring Congo, then known as Zaire. According to the New York Times, the report documents systematic killings [NYT report] by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan army with the assistance of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL) rebel movement, which may legally amount to genocide. While Rwanda and the DRC have continually asserted that Hutu militias were attacked following the 1994 genocide, the report alleges that civilian Congolese Hutus were also the target of violence and killings. Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karagurama [official website] rejected the report [BBC report], saying that it had no basis. In April, the Rwandan Supreme Court [official website] ruled that the plea for release by DRC rebel leader Laurent Nkunda [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] can only be heard by a military court [JURIST report]. According to Nkunda's counsel, he is being held illegally without charge. In 2009, a Rwandan court rejected [JURIST report] a similar lawsuit seeking Nkunda's release from custody. Nkunda was apprehended by Rwandan authorities last January near the DRC border after a joint DRC-Rwandan military operation to capture him and root out Rwandan Hutu rebels operating in the DRC. The DRC government called on Rwanda to extradite Nkunda to DRC where he would face charges for atrocities allegedly committed by forces under his command. In 2006, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that it does not have jurisdiction over a case filed by the DRC against Rwanda on charges of aggression and human rights abuses stemming from the DRC civil war. The ICJ asserted that Rwanda has not accepted UN conventions against human rights crimes like torture and degrading behavior, and therefore the ICJ could not rule [ICJ jurisdiction rules] on the charges upon which Congo based its case. Congo filed the suit [ICJ press release] against Rwanda in 2002, alleging armed aggression, mass slaughter, rape, arbitrary detentions, systematic looting and assassinations, while asking Rwanda to withdraw its troops. Public hearings [ICJ docket; JURIST report] began in the case in 2005.