By Ann Garrison.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame was sworn in to serve another seven-year term on September 6, 2010, eleven days after the explosive August 26th leak of a UN report documenting genocide committed by his army in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The official publication of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), leaked to Le Monde on August 26th, has been postponed until October 1st, 2010, to give those countries accused, most notably Rwanda and Uganda, time to prepare responses. Its UNHCHR investigators mapped and collected evidence of "the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo between March 1993 and June 2003," including massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus, hunted down from Congo's far eastern to
far western borders, in what some call "the Congo Genocide." Kagame, a general who took special training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in the United States, has long been credited with ending the horrific violence known as the Rwanda Genocide, against both Rwandan Tutsis and Hutus, in 1994, but his actual role then, and in the years before and after, is so fiercely disputed that French and Spanish courts and a civil lawsuit filed in Oklahoma City all accuse him and his top officers of ordering the political assassinations triggering the Rwanda Genocide, and with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. During the third week of July in Spain, protestors objected to Kagame's visit to attend a UN conference by taking to the streets with their hands, faces, and clothes drenched in red paint to simulate blood, chanting "Kagame
Killer!," and holding up signs reading "Paul Kagame = Genocidio en Africa." In response to complaints from human rights campaigners, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero finally withdrew from a UN-backed meeting with Kagame. No Western heads of state attended Kagame's inauguration, though former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who sits on Kagame's Presidential Advisory Council, sent his congratulations. President Barack Obama's National Security Council and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon both expressed grave concerns about political repression after Rwanda's August 9th presidential polls, in which Kagame won 93% of the vote, a dubious victory in any real multi-party democracy. American evangelical pastor Reverend Rick Warren, another member of Kagame's Presidential Advisory Council, and one of his closest allies, not only attended, but also delivered the invocation at the Kagame Inauguration, as he had at Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009. Warren made Rwanda his first "purpose-driven nation" in 2005, after a 40-days and 40-nights campaign recalling Noah's 40 days and nights on the ark, in the Old Testament, during which Rwandans were urged to read Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" in school, at work, at home, and in church. Warren has not made a statement about the leaked UNHCHR report documenting genocide by Kagame's army in D.R. Congo or the upcoming official release of the report on October 1, 2010.
Barack Obama, whom Reverend Rick Warren endorsed during his 2008 presidential campaign, has not yet responded to the leaked report either, but many Rwandese and Congolese, including exiles, refugees, and genocide survivors in Canada, Europe, and the U.S.A., are closely watching signs as to how he will. A U.S. coalition of NGOs including Friends of the Congo, Africa Faith and Justice Network, the Chicago Coalition for Congo, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda, and Mobilization for Peace and Justice in Congo argue that the report should signal the end of the special relationship between the U.S. and the Kagame regime, in which Kagame has often been misrepresented and even extolled as a great leader.