Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative : Rwanda is the source of instability in region

Kigali: The Rwandan envoy in London has furiously dismissed the contested report of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) which among many concerns, says Rwanda is not a good neighbour to live with, an in-depth review of the report suggests.

Rwanda does not meet the requirements of the 1991 Harare Declaration which expresses the Commonwealth’s interest in international understanding, co-operation and world peace, according to the 26-page document.

As an association of both governments and people, the 53 members considered at the meet in October 1991 that the issue of inter-state relations should have considerable significance for the Commonwealth.

“It would seem that for a variety of reasons the Rwanda government, which maintains a large army, has made military incursions abroad, particularly into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)”, wrote Kenyan constitutional expert Professor Yash Pal Ghai, on page 12.

“Rwanda’s intervention has been a major source of instability in the DRC, and has caused great suffering to communities living there, particularly the eastern part”, he adds.

Professor Yash also writes that the “Rwanda government also refused to co-operate with countries where prosecuting authorities have issued warrants against its senior party or military officials for crimes against humanity”.

Rwanda’s UK Ambassador Mr. Claver Gatete who is currently in Kigali lashed out on Wednesday at the author saying he ignores crucial and wide ranging developments in his country.

On the laws against genocide ideology which the Commonwealth expert described as wanting, the Rwanda envoy says they are actually much more lenient compared to British laws against holocaust negation.

However, an official with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative revealed to RNA Wednesday that the report obtained by the Guardian newspaper is not the final version. “We will be publishing the report, with some additions, in the coming week”, she said in an email message.

The preliminary report which RNA also obtained was apparently presented to the UK House of Lords on July 20.

It also claims that “many of what used to be independent non-government organizations are now essentially government organized non-government organizations (or GONGOs)”.

“Those remaining independent organizations often, like the media, practice self-censorship in order to be able to continue working and receiving foreign funding”, it adds on page 12.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To the Kagame's government you must know , understand and think Twice where you are taking Rwandas

The Truth on Rwanda Tragedy can be buried and stomped into the ground where none can see, yet eventually it will, like a seed, break through the surface once again far more potent than ever, and Nothing can stop it. Truth can be suppressed for a "time", yet It cannot be destroyed

No more French unless France recolonises Rwanda”

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By RNA Reporters
Monday, 14 September 2009

Kigali: As the fallout over the implementation of the shift from French to English rages on, a top cabinet official has made it clear that the road away from French is unstoppable, RNA reports.

New Education Minister Dr. Charles Murigande shut the door to any more discussion over the policy with the strongest comments ever made by a top government official. Dr. Murigande said Sunday that everything is on course for all schools to start teaching in English.

“There is no turning back to French as a language of instruction in this country,” he said to an audience of journalists and stakeholders, while pounding his table. “We have switched to English forever.”

Government has argued that taking up English simply reinforces Rwanda’s position in the international system. However critics accuse government of abandoning a constitutional stipulation which makes Rwanda a country with three languages English, French and Kinyarwanda.

Last week one of the fiercest critics of government Mr. Paul Rusesabagina – the exiled face behind the Hollywood movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’, also raised his toughest attacks.

He claimed in a BBC program that a “small group of between 30,000 and 40,000 people who came from Uganda” is imposing English on the whole country.

Mr. Rusesabagina has launched a campaign to ensure Rwanda is not allowed into the British Commonwealth group of nations. Officials just brushed off these latest actions by the man accused here of seeking to acquire fame from the country’s suffering.

Rwanda has been French-speaking for ages which completely disqualifies it outrightly from the British grouping, argues Mr. Rusesabagina. But supporters of Kigali have branded him as irrelevant.

For Education Minister Dr. Murigande, who is not new to very strong comments against France, the road to ending French is no room for compromise.

Rwanda, he told his audience Sunday, will never go back to French “unless France recolonises Africa”.

About two years ago, Dr. Murigande, when he was Foreign Affairs Minister told RNA in a wide ranging interview: “We were killed by the French in the name of Francophonie” referring to the grouping of French colonies.

Government is finalizing plans to build thousands of new classrooms across the country in time for the start in January of the nine-year basic education program. Education officials also want the expansion program to come with a phasing-in of English in all schools as the language of instruction.

Science subjects are already being taught in English and universities have all switched all instruction to English.

The Rwandan Genocide: Result of a Carefully Planned Military Operation Open Letter to President Kagame

Arusha, Tanzania, 12th May, 2009


OBJECT: The denunciation of the discriminatory actions and intentions of the Rwandan authorities.

Your excellency, President of the Republic,

The detainees of the ICTR, signatories of the present document have judged it necessary to react to your racist and discriminatory intentions announced by several Rwandan personalities on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan “genocide”, celebrated on Nyanza hill, a Kigali the 11th of April 2009. The Rwandan government stated that 5,000 people were taken from the Official Technical School (ETO) at Kicukiro, the 11th of April 1994 and were then massacred at Nyanza hill. Those who stated this were Charles Muligande, M. Simburudi, president of the IBUKA Association which represents the Tutsi survivors of the “genocide” the deputy mayor of Kigali and Dr. Augustin Iyamuremye, senator and former chief of the civilian intelligence services in the Rwandan government of 1994.

We think that the things said do not take any account of the truth or the reality of the history of our country, but instead, have as the purpose of terrorising, intimidating and humiliating the Hutu people of Rwanda who are globally accused of having planned and committed a “genocide” against the Tutsis. Our reaction is motivated by the fact that the RPF regime wants to wipe from the history of Rwanda, the revolutionary period that liberated the people of Rwanda from the yoke of a feudal monarchy and that ushered in national construction once the country achieved its independence. The ultimate objective of the RPF is clearly to erase the history of Rwanda and the benefits of the republican period to better support their false thesis according to which the Hutus only marked the history of the country with barbarism and “genocide” of the Tutsis. It is a vision both false and divisionist and it is clear that, by propagating it, you have abandoned the interests of the Rwandan people.

1.Pre-colonial Rwanda and Colonial Rwanda cannot be a model

The deputy mayor of Kigali stated “We want to change history in order to present another Rwanda that is not that of the period between 1959 and 1994, a Rwanda like it was before; that which we inherited from our ancestors; the Rwanda of children of Rwanda who live without division, without hate, without discrimination.” Thus the RPF regime pretends that in the precolonial and colonial periods the ethnicities composing the Rwandan nation lived harmoniously in peace, understanding and solidarity. It is a complete reversal of history.1

The feudal-monarchical regime of Rwanda is not a model to propose to Rwandans today. It was a period of social, political, economic and cultural inequality that characterised that period and that led to the social revolution of 1959. Many authors including eminent Tutsis in high positions of power have written about this.2

We think that in the context of the search for durable solutions for our country, the RPF must stop the manipulation and falsification of the history of Rwanda. We believe that the remedy is to search for a democratic, political compromise in the context of a sincere dialogue between the power and its opponents. Such a step cannot be accommodated with obscurantism of the past. We condemn without reservation all attempts to rewrite the history of Rwanda for propaganda and ideological aims that seek the monopolisation of power by the Tutsi ethnic group to the exclusion of the others composing the Rwandan society.

2. The Planning Of The Criminal War by the RPF Is The Essential Cause of the Rwandan tragedy

Minister Muligande stated that “the ‘genocide’ of the Tutsis was planned by the government defeated in July 1994, without furnishing the least proof of this alleged planning. Very simply, he stated that the ‘genocide’ was taught over a long time by the MDR/PARMEHUTU and later by the MRND. Such statements are nothing but propaganda. The MDR and MRND parties never practised racism or discrimination against the Tutsis. It is well known that under the Habyarimana regime between 5th July 1973 to the war in October 1990 the Hutus and Tutsis lived in symbiosis. The ethnic divisions of 1990-1994 were the consequence of the strategy of destabilisation of the RPF to rally the Tutsis of the interior of Rwanda to the cause of the RPF Tutsi from Uganda who had invaded the country and to attract sympathy in world opinion.

Following the social Revolution of 1959, a number of Tutsi dignitaries could not accept the democratic changes proclaimed by the people, and fled the country and during many years systematically rejected all offers made by the government to return peacefully and participate in the construction of the country as Rwandans. They took hostage the Tutsi refugees and prevented them from returning as long as they were not assured of taking back their former power to exercise to their profit. The Tutsi diaspora dominated by these extremists preferred to organise in a movement of “liberation” called the INYENZI[3] and conduct several attacks against Rwanda in the 1960s with the aim of taking power by force of arms. It is for this reason that all the calls made to the refugees for their peaceful return to the country were made in vain.4

The MRND party practised a policy of peace, of national unity and progress that was enormously profitable to the Tutsis of the country.5 It is false and unjust to accuse the MRND of having persecuted Tutsis or having refused the right of return to those Tutsis wishing to return to Rwanda. Everyone knows today that it was the RPF who torpedoed the Accords signed between Rwanda and Uganda under the auspices of the UNHCR, the 31st of July, 1990. Instead of permitting the delegation of refugees awaited in Kigali at the end of September, 1990 to go there in the context of working under that Accord to work out the mechanism for the return en masse of refugees the RPF launched a surprise attack against Rwanda on the 1st of October 1990, beginning its war of aggression.

You must have the courage to recognise that this war, launched at the moment when a political solution had been found to the refugee problem is the origin of the Rwandan tragedy. The RPF sowed desolation and created divisions, a climate of terror and distrust among the population subjected to four years of RPF violence. By these terrorist attacks and subversion, the RPF provoked the total destabilisation of Rwanda.6 The RPF planned and executed the attack of April 6, 1994 that took the lives of President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi as well as their respective entourage and the French crew knowing full well that the attack would provoke violence in the country. Directly after the attack they attacked on all fronts, precipitating total chaos throughout the country. It was the RPF that planned the destruction of the country. This is attested to by the incapacity of the prosecutor at the ICTR to prove a plan to commit genocide before its international jurisdiction. Indeed, all the heavy condemnations of genocide pronounced against the Hutus before the ICTR are founded on the illegal judicial notice made by the Appeal Chamber of June 16, 2006. 7 In Rwanda, tribunals continue to condemn en masse the Hutus for having allegedly planned “genocide” without the slightest proof, all the while refusing any debate on the question.8

Despite the judicial notice imposed by the Appeal Chamber of the ICTR on June 16, 2006, for political reasons having the objective of condemning the accused at the Tribunal, the controversy over this decision continues. Conscious of their enormous responsibilities in the Rwandan tragedy, the RPF does not miss any opportunity to cry about the “genocide of the Tutsis.” So, it was not without some thought that the Minister Muligande stated on 11th April at the Nyanza memorial at Kigali;” We had the chance to win the war to get recognition of the genocide. If not, we would become the Armenians whose genocide is still contested because they lost the war.”. M. Mulligande is very conscious of the responsibilities that fall on the RPF, even if he does not have the courage to admit it. The RPF abuses its actual position to impose the “genocide” of the Tutsis, practising the justice of the victor over the vanquished.9 The leaders of the RPF must stop falsifying history with ideological propaganda and have the courage to recognise their heavy responsibility in the Rwandan drama.

3.The Reality of the Numbers of Dead in the Rwandan Tragedy

The loss of life is always regrettable. But the reality of the numbers of dead in the “Rwandan genocide” remains a great mystery 15 years after the events, Even if public opinion agrees with the number if 800,000 to a million victims, many other numbers have been advanced, ranging from 250,000 to 2 million by experts, the UN, NGOs and the RPF such that total confusion reigns. Gerard Prunier recognises that there is no systematic count and that the numbers rely on opinion more than facts.10 The Rwandan government of the RPF prefers too maintain this confusion. That is why it has refused to reveal the numbers of survivors of the “genocide” from which it is easy to evaluate the umber of dead Tutsis and dead Hutus. It prefers things blurred so the world does not know the extent of the massacres committed against the Hutus by the RPF and to inflate the number of Tutsi victims. It is necessary too note that the Census of the population organised under the supervision of the UN (UNDP, UNFAP,CEA) and with the aid of countries such as the USA and Canada that terminated on the 15th of August, 1991 fixed the total number of Tutsis in the country at 8.4% of the population of 7,099.844 persons. Thus, the numbers that suggest that the entire Tutsi population was massacred between April and July 1994 are simply fantasies. It is no secret to anyone that many Tutsis survived even if the government in Kigali does not want to publish the figures. We contest these numbers that create confusion that the regime wants to exploit in order to manipulate national and international opinion for ideological objectives.

Concerning the dead interred at Nyanza hill in Kigali, Captain Lemaire who commanded the Belgian detachment at the ETO in Kicukiro en April 1994, testified before the ICTR that the refugees there numbered about 1,000 to 2,000 persons,[11] not the 5,000 claimed by the RPF. In the circumstances prevailing at the time the extermination of 5,000 people in several minutes in open terrain is simply impossible. On the contrary, witnesses worthy of the name state that the majority of those buried at Nyzana hill are the thousands of Hutu refugees massacred by the men of the RPF, on the 22 and 23 of May 1994 while they attempted to flee the RPF soldiers who had just captured the garrison at Camp Kanombe.

The deputy mayor of Kigali City presented the Gisozi memorial as the high place of pilgrimage and sad memories of “genocide”. This place stores, according the official declarations of the government, 250,000 human skulls. However, they cannot be from the former prefecture of the city of Kigali as they claim. Indeed, the total population of Kigali city was, according to the census of 15 August 1991, 221, 806 persons, of which 81.4% were Hutu, and 17.9% Tutsi. Using a figure of 3.2% growth per year, the total population of Kigali city was around 240,000 inhabitants in 1994 taken at its maximum, with the Tutsi population being estimated at 50,000 persons at its highest. This figure does not accord with the 250,000 skulls exposed at the Gisozi memorial especially when one remembers that many of the Tutsis in Kigali survived the war.12 The numbers of skulls is even more incomprehensible when on admits that the city of Kigali has other memorials notably that at Nyanza and Rebero where other thousands of remains are exposed. This example shows how the manipulation of numbers is important on a national level.

Several witnesses have stated before the ICTR that Gisozi was occupied by the RPA (army of the RPF) from the 8th of April. Therefore it was the RPF that ethnically cleansed the zones of Gisozi-Kagugu and Kabuye in the Rutongo commune, in the prefecture of Kigali and all undesirable persons including the war displaced refugees from the refugee camps of Nyacyonga and Rusine, who had fled to the city after their camps were bombarded by the RPF. Several former members of the RPF have denounced the massacres of thousands of persons in these zones.13 Al these persons were summarily executed by the agents of the DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence of the RPF) in the military camp at Kami taken by the RPF in mid-April 1994. These massacres were part and parcel of the plan by the RPF to eliminate as large a number as possible of the cadre of Hutu intellectuals. Today, the same logic of annihilation of the Hutu elite that the RPF follows is behind their lists of pretended “Hutu genocidaires” including those already judged and acquitted. It is the same logic followed in the famous law of confessions of guilt that encourages the denunciation of and false statements against the innocent. The “gacaca” procedures are an extra-judicial system beneath all the jurisdictions. It is used by the regime to annihilate all undesirables. We want to insist that you remember that you yourself, Mr. President, who was the first to suggest this strategy when in 1996, at Nyamirambo, in a large meeting organised by your party, you stated that it would be necessary to have the patience “to empty a barrel of water with a coffee spoon”.14 The damage of your genocidal policy has passed all bounds and we demand that you stop it immediately.

4. The Responsibilities of the International Community in the Rwandan Drama

In their talks the highest authorities of Rwanda have criticised the role of the international community during the “genocide”. Thus, in your speech of 7 April, 2009, you castigated the attitude of the UN, qualifying it as “cowardice” saying; “We are not those who abandoned the people who needed protection; they left them to be killed; are they not guilty? I think also that is cowardice; they left before a single shot was fired!”

We are convinced that such singing speeches vis a vis the international community cannot be indefinitely allowed to pass. However, we invite this same international community to react quickly, they who encouraged and supported your criminal project to take power by force of arms, through the disastrous actions of Genera Romeo Dallaire at the head of UNAMIR, to whom you announced the imminent cataclysm on the 2nd of April 1994[15] and who did nothing to stop it, and the no less criminal actions of the successive prosecutors at the ICTR in Arusha, whom you have succeeded in submitting to your law of terror.

We regret that the UN did not help Rwandans to resolve peacefully the conflict that you brought to the country in 1994, notably in pressing Uganda and the RPF sufficiently and condemning the war of aggression of which Rwanda was the victim. The UN did not even condemn the various violations of ceasefires by the RPF and the peace accords that it signed. The international community complied with your ultimatum made on the 12 of April 1994 to all foreign forces to leave the country in 12 hours or be attacked, that accelerated the retreat of UNAMIR from Rwanda at the time when it was needed most.16 The vote in the Security Council for the resolution to reduce the UNAMIR forces, that was heavy in consequences, aided your organisation in its Machiavellian plans to take power in Kigali as quickly as possible.17 The UN betrayed the government of Rwanda that launched anguished appeals for help to stabilise the security situation in the country. The UN was paralysed by the USA and the United Kingdom; it could not intervene in time to send the 5,500 men of UNAMIR II as the Security Council finally decided to do after the RPF victory. Those forces arrived in Rwanda after your seizing of power and to consolidate your power. They helped you by not reacting to your massacres of the innocents including the 4,000 refugees you murdered at Kibeho in April 1995.

Not only do we accuse the RPF of having chased the international community from Rwanda at the moment when they were needed the most but also we believe that the decisions of the UN were gravely prejudicial to the people and government of Rwanda, in permitting the military victory of the RPF, obtained in a bloodbath. These same decisions gave the RPF the legitimacy to continue its massacres of the Rwandan people and the right to attribute the role of having stopped the “genocide” to themselves and to judges its real victims.

We note with great disappointment that the presence of UNAMIR II did not deter you from continuing the massacre of the defenceless Hutu population, over the entire country in 1994-95 and we will not forget the silence of the UN in the face of the innumerable atrocities committed by your troops, when they attacked the refugees camps in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) and their long calvary in the Congo forest. We want to remind you of the 200,000 Hutu refugees who were horribly massacred by your troops in 1996-97. We think that the complacency of the international community on your behalf does not exonerate you of your responsibilities in the Rwandan drama. We demand justice for all Rwandans, Tutsi, Hutu and Twa killed or today traumatised by your criminal policy.

5. The Theory of a Double Genocide

The Minister Muligande vilified “those who try to diminish the genocide, to deny it, by inventing the theory of a “double genocide”, arguing that there were the deaths of Hutus during the genocide.” He clarified his thoughts by referring to the second world war where “there was a genocide of the Jews, but also of 20 million Russians, However, the genocide is recognised as having been against the Jews. This was the same thing concerning the high number of deaths among the German soldiers which surpassed the number of Jews killed, arguing that the Germans were killed to stop the genocide.”

These words of your adviser show that the leaders of the RPF recognise having massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent Hutus. However, we estimate that the comparison has no sense and that the events in Rwanda in 1990-1994 are not comparable to the history of the Second World War. The launching of the Second World War in 1939 rests the responsibility of the government of Germany, just as the responsibility for the invasion of Rwanda in October 1990 from Uganda rests the responsibility of the state of Uganda and the RPF. Hitler launched his offensive to conquer countries and during that long conquest, the Jews were denounced, arrested, killed or deported to concentration camps, principally in Germany. The Jews did not take up arms against Germany. If it is necessary to make a comparison it is rather the RPF and its allies that made war against Rwanda and who, in their mad war for the conquest of power, they massacred hundreds of thousands of Rwandans.

Your soldiers Mr. President, conducted a war of extermination; they violated the cease-fire agreements and the Arusha accords to take power by force of arms without caring about the security of the population. How can you explain to Rwandans the obstinate refusal by you of all cease-fire proposals made to you between April and July 1994 if you had any concerns for the protection of the civilian population? And why did you literally empty the population of all the regions you seized? What can you say when 4,000 Hutu refugees were massacred by your troops a Kibeho in April 1995? These are the sad realities of the RPF regime that you want to hide by the abusive usage of the word “negationism” to stop the parents of victims from expressing their suffering and denouncing the injustices done to them?

6. Pardon and Reconciliation

It arises from the present account that the members of the RPF committed crimes and massacres against the defenceless civilian population of the sole reason that they were Hutus.18 This sad reality Minister Muligande wants to cover up by stating it was the Hutus who had to die because the RPF fought to stop the genocide. The coalition of the NRA (Ugandan army) RPF did not attack Rwanda in 1990 to stop a genocide. The manhunt conducted against the peasants of Rwanda, throughout the war, was not designed to stop a “genocide” against the Tutsis. It is illusory to try to deny the responsibility of the RPF in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of victims in Rwanda and the DRC or to minimise them, arrogating only to yourself the right of inquiry, from the sole fact of your military victory. We think that with such a logic national reconciliation is impossible. Because, you want to hide the truth of the tragic events that plunged Rwanda into mourning and that implicate your close collaborators, civil and military. Also we consider that the time has come for your regime to see the reality in front of its face, instead of pursuing your indecent ideological propaganda, that from that time has shamefully exploited unhappiness you have inflicted on the Rwandan people.

The drift of your regime has irremediably distanced the Rwandan people from the objective of national reconciliation, outside the artifices that you have been pleased to serve to the various visitors to Rwanda but which cannot remedy the evil that is very profound. The instrumentalisation of the persecution of the Hutus accused of an “ideology of genocide” constitutes a way to criminalise the Hutus forever; not only those who were alive in 1994 but also those who will be borne in the future. It is sufficient to accuse them of the ideology of genocide to oppress the Hutus and justify this oppression before the world. This policy that has made the immense majority of Rwandans pariahs in the Rwandan society, is inescapable, because it has become a factor of exclusion and marginalising of the Hutus in order to ensure the domination of the Tutsi. The dialogue between power and its opponents is the only voice to get out of this impasse. But after having decreed that only the Tutsis were victims of the war that you launched and that the Hutus do not even have the right to cry for their dead, or even worse, to bury them with dignity, the perspective of political dialogue with your opponents is not on your agenda contrary to dynamic of peace that occupy the other leaders of the region: Kenya, Burundi, RDC, Uganda, Central Africa. You installed the gacaca jurisdiction that has the mandate of criminalising all the Hutus and to force them into self-denunciation and the denunciation of others. In order to allow your regime to get rid of all your political adversaries now and in the future! Such a system can bring augers nothing good and has all the characteristics of fascism; it is the bearer of unhappiness for yourself and for the people of Rwanda. This is why we respectfully demand that you end it. Rwanda must face up to a number of deficiencies. The RPF regime cannot resolve them with humiliation, anathema and marginalising of the majority of the Rwandan population to whom you reserve only unjust and degrading treatment. This is why we encourage all the men and women of good will in Rwanda and around the world to make it possible to have a sincere and constructive dialogue between the power and its opponents in order to put a solid base for a real national reconciliation in Rwanda based on Truth and Justice and equity. We invite the Rwandan government to consider that there can be no national reconciliation in Rwanda based on manipulation and lies and propaganda, of humiliation and inferiority and intimidation of the ideology of genocide used to silence the Hutus who claim their rights. No power, no foreign force can resolve the political problems of Rwanda. It is the Rwandans themselves who must resolve them. As head of state it is entirely your responsibility to bring Rwandans to the path of true reconciliation by denouncing all actions and speeches that are provocative and divisionist as those spoken during the ceremonies of the 15th anniversary of the “genocide” by your close collaborators. In any event you must understand that such speeches do not serve your regime insofar as they are contrary to the vital interests of the Rwandan people and are not going to bring peace and national reconciliation. It is not possible to have national reconciliation as long as the RPF continues to refuse to recognise its clear responsibilities in the Rwandan tragedy, by making the Hutus responsible for a drama that the RPF planned and executed throughout the long war of 1990-1994.

Please accept, Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic, the expression of our high consideration.


Joseph Nzirorera

General Augustin Ndindiliyimana

Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho

Colonel Ephrem Setako

Callixte Kahmaanzira

Captain Innocent Sagahutu

Edouard Karamera

Copied to all UN agencies including the Security Council, all judges and prosecutor of the ICTR, news organisations, ngos and other organisations

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rwanda: The unresolved FDLR issue by Elia Varela Serra

Last January the conflict in North Kivu shifted once again with the arrest of CNDP rebel group leader Laurent Nkunda in Rwanda and the entry of the Rwandan national army (RDF) into the DR Congo to root out the FDLR rebel group in joint operations with the national Congolese army (FARDC). The joint offensive was hailed as a success and as a powerful symbol of a new spirit of collaboration between Congo and Rwanda. As Rebecca Feeley of the Enough Said blog explains, the Congolese Minister of Defense, Charles Mwando Nsimba, even went so far as to say that the FDLR threat had been “neutralized.”

Refugees International, a Washington based advocacy organization specialized on refugee issues, released a report in March on the situation in the Kivus. Their conclusions about the joint RDF-FARDC military operation against the FDLR were:

The attempted military solution to the FDLR appears far from having succeeded in crippling the rebel group, despite the recent disarmament of over 400 combatants by MONUC. Instead, the operations led to serious consequences for the Congolese in North and South Kivu, including significant new displacements.

The blog Stop the War in North Kivu commented on the report:

Not many organizations say publicly that the joint military operation has not been a success. I agree 100% with their analysis.

Refugees International also makes the point on the importance of dialogue as the only path for a durable solution to the FDLR presence in the DRC. Eurac expressed the same opinion a few weeks ago. Military solutions to political problems are, in most of the cases, a recipe for disaster.

The FDLR is a militia formed by the defeated Hutu refugees in the DR Congo, that allegedly counts among its ranks some members of the Interahamwe that carried out the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. According to the Wikipedia, during the 1998-2003 war it received extensive backing from the Congolese government who used the FDLR as a proxy force against the foreign armies operating in the country, in particular the Rwandan Patriotic Army and Rwanda-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy. Following several days of talks with Congolese government representatives held in Rome, in March 2005 the FDLR announced that they were abandoning their armed struggle and returning to Rwanda as a political party. However, the Rwandan government stated that any returning genocidaires would face justice, most probably through the gacaca court system.

Mattew Hugo of the blog Why won't they just go home questions Rwanda's position regarding the FDLR:

Historically, the Rwandan government has sought to implicate the entirety of the FDLR in the genocide. In 2004, the International Crisis Group estimated that the number of genocidaires amongst the rebels was roughly ten percent, with the vast majority having been small children in 1994. However in 2008, the Rwandan government provided the Congolese government with a list of suspected FDLR genocidaires containing 6,974 names, coincidentally the common estimate for the total number of rebels.

Stop the War in North Kivu quotes an article written by Nicolás Dorronsoro for the IECAH (Instituto de Estudios sobre Conflictos y Accion Humanitaria) [Es], that explains how political negotiation with the FDLR is taboo in Rwanda (translation from Spanish by Stop the War in North Kivu):

Desde que la ofensiva diplomática de los Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido propiciara el acercamiento entre la RDC y Ruanda, el único discurso con respecto al FDLR ha sido el del abandono inmediato de las armas y la completa derrota militar. Nadie osa hablar de la posibilidad de una negociación, por limitada que sea, con este grupo. Esto resulta sorprendente si tenemos en cuenta que el país al que los integrantes del FDLR aspiran a volver adolece de un extraordinario déficit democrático.

El pasado 19 de marzo, la experta norteamericana Ruth Wedgwood afirmaba ante el Comité de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas que, a día de hoy, formar un partido político en Ruanda parece virtualmente imposible. Wedgwood hizo una reflexión interesante: recordó que las facciones hutu responsables del genocidio habían sido capaces de fomentar la masacre precisamente porque habían alimentado el miedo de que la población hutu sería oprimida y marginada. Lamentablemente, y con independencia de su indudable desarrollo económico, ese temido escenario se asemeja a la realidad actual de Ruanda, según muchos expertos. Filip Reyntjens, catedrático de la universidad de Amberes y uno de los mayores expertos en la región de los Grandes Lagos, afirmaba recientemente que no sólo las últimas elecciones locales ruandesas fueron manipuladas, sino incluso el informe mismo de los observadores electorales de la UE, que las consideró como válidas. Dado este déficit democrático, organizaciones como el European Network for Central Africa (EURAC), han abogado por una negociación política con el FDLR. Sin embargo, la cuestión continúa siendo tabú.

Since the diplomatic offensive headed by the US and the UK brought about an approach between the DRC and Rwanda, the only discourse regarding the FDLR has been that of immediate surrender and complete military defeat. No one dares to talk about the possibility of a negotiation, no matter how limited it may be, with this group. This seems surprising if we take into consideration that the country the FDLR aspire to return to suffers from an extraordinary democratic deficit.

Last March 19th, the American human rights expert Ruth Wedgwood affirmed at the UN Human Rights Comittee that forming a political party in Rwanda today seems virtually impossible. Wedgwood made an interesting reflection: she reminded that hutu factions responsible for the genocide had been capable of fostering the massacre because they had nourished the fear of hutu population being oppressed and marginalized. Unfortunately, and leaving aside the economic sucess Rwanda is undoubtedly experiencing, that feared scenario seem to be similar to actual Rwanda, according to many experts. Filip Reyntjens, Professor in the University of Antwerp and one of the most respected scholars in the Great Lakes region, recently affirmed that not only the last local elections in Rwanda were manipulated, but even the report of the EU electoral observers itself, which considered them as valid. Given this democratic deficit, organizations like the European Network for Central Africa (EURAC), have advocated for a political negotiation with the FDLR. However, this issue continues to be a taboo.

Congolese diaspora blogger Colored Opinions, quoted a former Force Commander of MONUC (UN peacekeeping in the DRC) that was also advocating for a political solution to the FDLR problem:

Former MONUC Force Commander, General Patrick Cammaert, was interviewed recently on dutch tv concerning the war in Congo. He said: “The problems have to be solved politicallly. That is true also concerning the genocidal hutus. President Kagame is strongly (involved) in that. The president of Rwanda sees the genocide-hutus as a threat to his country, I don't agree with that, I don't think that those genocide-hutus represent a threat to his country at all […]”

FDLR combattant in South Kivu wishing to enter the DDDR programme (picture by Steve Hege)

A young FDLR combatant wishing to demobilize speaking with Amani from South Kivu (picture by Steve Hege)

Matthew Hugo, who has worked in the Great Lakes region for a few years, illustrates the taboo that the FDLR issue is in Rwanda and the difficulties of the return and reintegration programs of FDLR combattants, with the story of former FDLR General Seraphin Bizimungu, known as Amani Amahoro, that he followed first-hand:

I first met Gen. Amani while I was conducting research on Rwandan refugees in 2005. He was the widely celebrated leader of an internal mutiny within the FDLR. Just five months prior, the FDLR’s political leadership surprisingly declared that they would unilaterally disarm and return en masse to Rwanda.

Amani emerged with the support of the Congolese government, and promised to lead the return movement despite the lack of security guarantees. In a press conference, he accused the group’s leadership of sabotaging the historic opportunity to remove themselves from the military equation of the region. The pretext of the rebel threat is what permitted the Rwandan government to continue to wage a proxy war against the Congo according to him.

By all accounts, including the Rwandan government itself, Amani was not suspected of any participation in the genocide and was widely considered a political moderate. During an interview I had with him, he claimed that fighting non-violently for political opening from within Rwanda was the only path to truly sustainable peace for the region.

[…] in December [2005] Amani fulfilled his promise and returned to Rwanda with over 150 loyal soldiers, one of the largest groups of ex-combatants since the inception of the UN’s demobilization and repatriation program (DDRRR). […]

Following his departure, Gen. Amani was rapidly transformed into the poster child of the UN’s sensitization efforts to promote future desertion amongst the FDLR. He was featured prominently in numerous pamphlets distributed to rebels throughout remote mountains and jungles as the quintessential example of how warmly Rwanda welcomed its brethren who chose to return home.

So compelling was Amani’s message that when I began working with DDRRR, I frequently put FDLR combatants in touch with him directly by Satellite phone from isolated areas of the Congolese jungle. His personal testimony was often enough to put to rest their fears of reprisals and incarcerations in Rwanda which were widely shared amongst the young rebels. Amani always sounded quite eager to respond to these calls and he often reiterated to the FDLR that real political change could only be achieved from within Rwanda.

And so compelling was Amani's message that, according to Matthew Hugo, Amani was featured in numerous DDRRR pamphlets distributed to rebels throughout remote mountains and jungles “as the quintessential example of how warmly Rwanda welcomed its brethren who chose to return home” and became “the poster child of the UN’s sensitization efforts to promote future desertion amongst the FDLR”. However, and in spite of the good example Amani set, genocide charges were brought against him in late 2008 and he was then summoned before the traditional Gacaca courts conducted by village elders. On January 22nd, two days after the Rwandan army began its joint military operations against the FDLR in the eastern Congo, the Gacaca elders condemned Amani to life in prison.

Matthew Hugo concludes his story expressing frustration at the seemingly permanent stalemate on the FDLR issue:

Thanks to this strategy of associating all political opposition with the genocide, the RPF’s Ugandan clique has managed to systematically tighten their stranglehold over power in Kigali. Not only did informal EU electoral observer reports suggest that they might have won as much as 98% of the vote in recent local elections, but even the U.S.’s legal expert on the UN Human Rights Committee stated that it is “virtually impossible to set up a political party in Rwanda“.

Nevertheless, despite resounding support for peace processes with the ruthless rebel groups in the region like the LRA and the FNL, the mere notion of political dialogue between Rwanda and the FDLR remains utterly inconceivable.

The blog Mo’dernity, Mo’problems recently commented on an article written by the director of Human Rights Watch on the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide:

In memory of the Rwanda genocide, Ken Roth keeps up the quality of Human Rights Watch Rwanda analysis after Allison Des Forge’s passing and writes:

[…] “The best way to prevent another genocide is to insist that Kagame stop manipulating the last one”.

As memories of the genocide turn 15, it seems like Rwanda is facing a tumultuous media anniversary. Recent coverage of the anniversary have attacked the ways in which the current Rwandan administration abuses the genocide as a form of political repression and a justification of warmongering.

le blog aboumashimango [Fr], a Rwandese diaspora blogger, calls for an end to civil and political rights violations in Rwanda :

Le génocide des Tutsi et massacres des Hutus démocrates (opposants politiques, défenseurs des droits de l'homme, journalistes… et populations civiles innocentes) de 1994 trouvent leur racines dans l'histoire politico-ethnique du pays, la fracture sociale, l'angoisse et la terreur, ainsi que la mauvaise gestion politique de la question ethnique. A cela s'ajoute l'absence de l'espace démocratique et de la culture des droits de l'homme.

[…] En ces moments où nous commémorons le 15ème anniversaire de Génocide des Tutsi et massacres des Hutus démocrates, j'appelle à la conscience de la Communauté internationale de faire preuve de courage pour mettre fin à des situations des violations flagrantes des droits civils et politiques que connaît le Rwanda, notamment le droit d'avoir une justice équitable…

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and the massacres of democrat Hutu (political opponents, human rights defenders, journalists… and innocent civilian peoples) have their roots in the political and ethnic history of the country, the social dislocation, the fear and the terror, as well as the bad political management of ethnic issues. Added to all that is the absence of democratic space and of a human rights culture.

[…] At this moment when we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi and the massacres of democrat Hutu, I appeal at the conscience of the international community to show the courage to put an end to the blatant situations of civil and political rights violations happening in Rwanda, especially the right to a fair trial…

Why are repressive regimes given the succour of British aid?

Ian Birrell

Why are repressive regimes given the succour of British aid?

A mission to eliminate poverty is laudable. But ours is riddled with contradictions

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Independent, UK

Fifteen years ago, as the horror of genocide ripped apart Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina became a hero. A humble hotel manager, he saved 1,268 people who had sought sanctuary from the machete-wielding mobs, an act of such courage it was rapidly immortalised in print and on screen. Rusesabagina spent days pleading with bands of killers to spare his charges, buying lives with alcohol when that failed, then spent nights on the one phone line that had not been cut off sending faxes to kings and presidents begging for international help to stop the butchery.

Today, Rusesabagina is once again calling for international action. Why, he asks, is Britain handing out so much aid to his nation when its ruler is fighting a proxy war in the Congo; when its elites are getting rich on stolen minerals; when democracy is a sham and dissent is stifled? "We know what happened in the past. But that does not mean we close our eyes to what is happening now," he told me this week. "I did not keep silent in 1994 and I cannot keep silent now. The British taxpayer is financing a proxy war. We need justice, not aid."

He is right to be alarmed. Britain is Rwanda's biggest donor, pumping in £52m this year in direct contributions, a form of aid-giving reserved for those that have proved good governance. But human rights groups are increasingly concerned by restrictions on freedom of speech in Rwanda; even the BBC has not escaped a ban on its local language service. And other major donors, including the Netherlands and Sweden, suspended direct aid after a UN report highlighted Rwanda's role in eastern Congo, where war has claimed the lives of six times as many people as the Rwandan genocide.

Paul Kagame, Rwanda's charismatic president, plays the guilt card with such skill that his regime has, literally, got away with murder. His defenders point to impressive economic growth rates, improved health and education, and the healing of some of the genocide scars. But the case of Rwanda illustrates a glaring problem with British foreign policy, most notably in Africa. And it is a problem that raises uncomfortable questions at a time of looming spending cutbacks.

Many of the issues revolve around the Government's golden child, the Department for International Development (Dfid), set up by Tony Blair in 1997 as a dramatic gesture of modernisation. Dfid is seen as the sexiest branch of Whitehall, attracting the brightest entrants who find the prospect of improving schools in Mozambique far more enticing than improving schools in Middlesbrough. Its staff were encouraged from the start not to play by the normal fusty rules of Whitehall.

Dfid behaves more like a charity than an arm of government, armed with soaring wealth and driven by its laudable, if rather ambitious, mission to eliminate poverty. Its first budget was £2.6bn, twice that of the foreign office. A decade later it was handed £5.3bn and next year, as the Government pushes on to meet its Gleneagles commitment to increase aid to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, it will be given just under £8bn. These budgets are set to keep on rising, whoever wins the next election.

This raises several problems. First, and most obviously, this torrent of money must be spent. People tasked with doling out aid rarely win promotion by finding reasons not to spend it. But there are only a finite number of countries that need aid, deserve aid and are not so shattered that it is like pouring water into a sieve. So when decisions are taken to back regimes, officials tend to stick by them.

As a result, there is no criticism of Kagame. And aid flows into Uganda, where Yoweri Museveni's regime has been accused of torture and repression. Britain increased total aid to Ethiopia even after Meles Zenawi, another poster boy for this supposed new wave of African leaders, oversaw a brutal clampdown following a blatantly rigged election and waged war on Somalia. A strange paradox seems to be emerging: the more money spent on aid, the less chance of criticism.

Second, despite soaring budgets, the number of full-time civil servants working for Dfid has actually fallen slightly since its creation. The number of staff appointed "in country" has also been reduced in recent years. This is commendable productivity. But it means more reliance on charities and consultants, more pressure to hand over aid directly and, inevitably, less effective scrutiny.

Third, money is power. Much of Britain's foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa is now dictated by Dfid, not the Foreign Office as elsewhere in the world. The Foreign Office, of course, has a far from perfect record. But this sends out a sign that we see Africa as a place in need of salvation, rather than a complex continent of 53 nations deserving respect as our equals. And for all the honeyed words of ministers and officials, the result is too much emphasis on the ambiguous cause of development rather than relentless focus on good governance, human rights and long-term strategic issues.

The most outrageous example was in Kenya, where Dfid officials tried to prevent the British ambassador from speaking out against obscene corruption. Only last week I heard of a senior minister who, told he was signing agreements with one of Kenya's most corrupt politicians, glibly replied that he was less interested in the man's record than the desire to get children into education. Little wonder Kenya remains plagued by corruption.

Then there are wider issues about the effectiveness of our approach. Dfid has won global respect for its tenacity – and there can be no doubt British aid has led to improvements in the daily lives of thousands. But for all the new schools and clinics, justified questions remain over whether pouring in vast levels of aid help or hinder a country's long-term development. As Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, says, it is noticeable that none of the most passionate advocates of aid are African – and some of its harshest critics are, such as the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo.

Immense sums have been poured in over the decades and significant economic growth remains elusive. Studies have indicated that aid is subject to diminishing returns as it is increased, ceasing to be effective after it reaches 16 per cent of a country's gross domestic product. Africa was close to that level before Gleneagles – and by 2005 aid was already accounting for a quarter of Rwanda's GDP. On top of this, the sacred target of handing over 0.7 per cent of national income, first calculated more than four decades ago, appears increasingly arbitrary and outdated.

Our approach to the continent is riddled with contradictions. We pour in billions in aid while erecting trade barriers that squeeze out African firms. We encourage land tenure in Africa, then drive farmers out of business by dumping cheap produce. We pay lip service to good governance, then prop up repressive regimes, do deals with despots and allow our banks to launder their plunder. We retain prohibitive drugs laws that are spreading chaos through some West African states, having wrecked parts of South and Latin America already. Then we complain when migrants flee the consequent poverty and unrest.

Few would argue for aid spending to be savaged. And emergency relief remains vital, not least since climate change will exacerbate Africa's difficulties. But our approach to aid, driven by pop stars and designed to appease domestic audiences, seems anachronistic. In the current economic climate, even some of those who helped create Labour's policy on Africa admit privately that it is hard to offer Dfid immunity from cuts based upon its effectiveness in encouraging lasting development. Maybe it is time to ignore the hype and end the hypocrisy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Camouflage democracy in Rwanda

by Oliver

Dictatorship is dangerous when it considers itself as if it is in the democratization process. Such unpredictable nature confuses others who know democracy and good governance. It is very difficult to advise such a system because the real sickness has been hidden. In a rule of camouflage democracy there is always slow killings of citizen, torture and imprisonment. Currently open dictatorship changed its strategy to camouflage democracy i.e. the worst face of dictatorship. Among many countries in the world like Rwanda, Sudan, Eritrea, Zimbabwe can be considered as the best examples which are practicing camouflage democracy. The systemic approach of violating human rights and the way it controls the basic human necessities clearly depicts the new nature of false democracy. In the case of a country like Rwanda camouflage democratic system it is very difficult to anticipate the degree of violence and ethnic segregation because processes like conducting elections, having parliaments etc are varnished by political talks and discourse which disguise the truth on the ground.
after genocide in 1994 Rwanda advanced from open military dictatorship to camouflage democracy. In this system of democracy the minorities are dominating the majority ethnics. It uses the true democratic system structures and principles for the sustainability of the dictator rule in power. The very centralized ruling power is in the hands of one person. This person has already arranged mechanisms by which he can select trustful servants to implement the verbal instructions given from top down. In the process of implementing the direct procedures there will be zero tolerance for anybody or anything. A person who questions the practicality of the command above will face a very serious persecution. Normally what is happening in the current Rwanda ruling system is that if a person or group or society consider as a resistance to the camouflage democracy the consequence is horrifying. From the past experience of the country individuals had been dismissed from their professional job,fake allegations to the gacaca courts threaten to continue supporting the ruling regime so that they would remain in their work, kidnapped, put in jail, tortured and even killed.

After abusing an individual’s and group’s rights and even killings the ruling system fabricated false stories to confuse everybody and transmitted them using the solely dominated media of the country and international , When human right groups and countries concerned about torture requested explanations from the ruling system, the common answer that had been given was to prevalence the rule of law and the Genocide ideology, which many rwandan consider as nuclear weapon Nevertheless by the name of law man and women had been tortured and massacred, professionals were killed and jailed, intellectuals enforced to flee their country, majority was alienated. The writer of this article witness what had happened in 1997 to 2001 in North region of Rwanda, where innocent people were massacred by the government troops because the ethnicity and their opinion and many was wounded and killed. Today the sophisticated strategic techniques of tortures and human right violation have applied within the country. In the bureaucratic system of the country professionalism is the last criteria to be considered and because of this many educated people are unemployed because their background,region,opinion,ethnicity.Those who get the opportunity to be hired in the government bureaucracy are not allowed to the already limited ruling system political party ideology and motif. In order to control the activities of these professionals trustful ruling party members who do not have the capacity of doing the work will follow up each and every activity and then report to the centralized leadership. The main task of the assigned person is to listen what that professional person comments about the ruling system, what kind of opinion does the professional has towards the ruling party opponents, this perspective about the longstanding leadership of the country etc.

In this regard information about each and every professional will be gathered by these assigned ruling system’s persons. Unless in very exceptional cases such persons are mostly from Tutsi ethnics or persons who have especial attachments and affiliations (marriage, family, support to the RPF etc) to RPF leaderships. With regard to the professionals before they get hired detail personal information will be gathered by those assigned trustful ruling system persons. Actually if the background check has been done from the professional angle it is possible to say there is no problem. Nevertheless any person’s background check starts from ethnicity. In this case the worst face of ethnic politics within the camouflage democratic system revels. Here we can mention the employment process of one of the biggest bureaucratic complexion of the Ministry of land environment and forest.

However it is very difficult to say the Ministry of finance including Rwanda revenue authority, since at least the building has significant importance to the people of Rwanda and also it is their property, in this article it is better to call it the Rwanda revenue authority of RPF. This Ministry has been leading by the Basajya(people from Uganda) and the chairperson is Marry baine the wife of top Kagame is secret service This person has been organizing his own people by the assistance of the already assigned persons. Since 1998 Marry baine was the chairperson of rwanda revenue authority and all of the level in that ministry there is people from Uganda

In the existence of well versed diplomats and knowledgeable persons for diplomacy Marry baine has been monopolizing everything with the under capacity and feudalistic thoughts. Within the RRA.in The Ministry of foreign affairs the minister preaches about camouflage democracy, RPF propaganda imposes rules and regulations of domination. Nobody questions but rather echoes what he said. If one heard of by the assigned persons questioning that person’s fate will be dismissal or demotion. In 2006 several career ambassadors, diplomats and professionals and semi-professionals had been dismissed and demoted. At that time Murigande had received instruction from the Kagame office to screen out the potential threats of the ruling system especially those who were suspected of having affilation to the opposition parties in Exile . During that very time professional staffs of the ministry had been interrogated about party loyalty which they did not belong. Those professionals whom assumed themselves as experts were confused by the ongoing screening on the bases of the ruling party loyalty. Many lost their job and many others were demoted because one way or another they were heard by the assigned persons criticizing the ruling party. These professionals were not understood the true nature of the camouflage democracy which have been running Rwanda. There were dismissed because what was expected of them was to articulate the camouflage democratic system which the ruling system of the country follows.

The basic principle of camouflage democracy in Rwanda is “if you do not belong to us you are a potential threat and enemy on the nation ”. The guideline principle is implementing by poor countries like Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe and other poor countries of the world. Dictator leaders of countries under the camouflage democracy are trying to widen their scope as the former communist countries had been trying. Leaders of camouflage democracy consult in a closed door on the mechanism by which they can contain any political opposition possibly emanate. For example Rwanda and Congo leaders established coalition called “Umoja wetu in February 2009 ” to hunt down FDLR fighters .to resist external resistances for their power control.In congo there is so many Rwanda innocent civilian refugees who survived Kagame is Genocide in congo from 1996 to 2002 and the international community remain silent in all th is crimes,and crime against humanity ,no body ever said about RPF is crime the have all the evidence for RPF 's war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The leaders of the ruling system of Rwanda have been in power since 1994, and their know the theories of true democracy but when coming to implementing it they use the hidden principles of camouflage democracy. so we are tired of camouflage democracy,we have lost our families on both side(hutu,tutsi)The Rwanda conflict is political in essence. Political solutions must be found;,we need to promote moral values with strict respect of life and human dignity, honesty, truth,freedom, individual emancipation, equality, justice, respect, brotherhood, confidence, and interdependence among the Rwandan people and to work on national reconciliation and reconstruction of social and economic development of the our beloved motherland Rwanda.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Grinding Machine: Terror and Genocide in Rwanda

Paul Rusesabagina
Paul Rusesabagina
Keith Harmon Snow talks with Paul Rusesabagina, the ordinary man who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda.

"The nickname for my country is ‘the land of thousands of hills,’" writes Paul Rusesabagina, in his autobiography, An Ordinary Man, "but this signifies a gross undercount. There are at least half a million hills, maybe more…we are the children of the hills, the grassy slopes, the valley roads, the spider patterns of rivers, and the millions of rivulets and crevasses and buckles of earth… In this country, we don’t talk about coming from a particular village, but from a particular hill."

Paul Rusesabagina was born into a family of nine children, farmers, on the side of a steep hill, in a home made of mud and sticks. The Rwanda of his youth was green and bright, full of cooking fires and sisters murmuring and drying sorghum and corn leaves in the wind and in the warm arms of his mother. But this image of a happy, quiet youth spent in the quaint hills of some far-off place is not one the western world holds in its modern memory of Rwanda. Instead we are confronted by horror.

ImageThe surname "Rusesabagina" was chosen for the young hero of our story by his father when he was born, in 1954. It means "warrior that disperses the enemies." After a brief encounter with the seminary, Paul landed at the posh cosmopolitan Hotel Des Mille Collines, in Kigali, the Rwandan capital city, in 1979. (1) The first 23 years of his life saw great upheaval in Rwanda. The Independence of the country from the brutal colonial enterprise saw massive loss of life. Labels were manufactured—like Hutu and Tutsi—and selectively applied, with structures designed to divide and conquer. In 1959, and again in 1972, genocide occurred in Rwanda. There was no reconciliation, then, and the results of impunity, those years ago, have now been etched—with the blood and skeletons of 1994—in the collective consciousness of humanity.

From the very first impression of Paul Rusesabagina one does not get the sense that they are meeting a warrior in battle, but rather a man disposed to diplomacy and compromise. He is a warm, friendly man with tranquil countenance that belies the horrors he has seen, and those he has survived. Still waters run deep, indeed, and Paul Rusesabagina is today engaged with an enemy: Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda.

In October of 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Army—the military wing of the Rwanda Patriotic Front—invaded northern Rwanda from western Uganda. The RPA was created in Uganda, assisted by Ugandan troops, and led by Paul Kagame. These were Tutsis in exile, refugees, the Tutsi Diaspora, men like Paul Kagame who was carried to safety as a three year-old—in 1959—on the back of his mother. But the government of Rwanda called on its allies—French, Belgian and Israeli-trained forces from Zaire—and stalled the invasion.

Northeastern Rwanda, 1991
Northeastern Rwanda, 1991
Exactly one year later, in October 1991, I bicycled through Uganda and down the same road to Rwanda that the invading forces must have taken. I was oblivious to the war, and to the danger. When a man riding in a pick-up truck was shot—an "RPF rebel" they said—it meant nothing to me. I was not shocked, or surprised, or even curious. I merely thought: this is something that happens in Africa.

On my mountain bike I crossed the Ugandan border, and directly joined a trek into the green, sunny, terraced hillside. I knew nothing at all about Rwanda, or about insurgency, and nothing about genocide (not even that it had ever happened). Paying $100, I hiked with a group of tourists and heavily armed rangers up the steep slopes of Mount Karisimbi, in the Volcanoes National Park, and there in the lush montane forest I saw a troop of silverbacks: I was interested in gorillas, and that is what took me to the land of thousands of hills. I was not interested in guerrillas, and I was not interested in Rwanda, and I left it behind, forever—I thought—and moved on, on my bicycle. But the hills of my Rwanda were tranquil then, as I remember them. They were so quiet that you could hear the wind as it passed over the feathers of a soaring hawk, and the echoes of children playing on the hills across the deep valleys. There were no Hutus or Tutsis in my experience, just a quiet, peaceful, friendly people living on the slopes of those verdant hills.

Paul Rusesabagina can no longer visit his particular hill. He was made famous by the film Hotel Rwanda, a Hollywood story inspired by his actions in the face of inhumanity, but Paul Rusesabagina fled Rwanda on 6 September 1996, after an attempted assassination, and he is today in exile from his own country. Paul Kagame’s agents have tracked him in Belgium, where he now lives, and even in the United States, where he tours and speaks. He has been derided and threatened. In an 7 April 2007 ceremony held in Rwanda to mark the 13th anniversary of the genocide, President Paul Kagame called him a "swindler" and "gangster" who works with other swindlers and gangsters who support him. The speech has raised fears in Rwanda, and amongst the Rwandan Diaspora around the world. It was not the slander of Paul Rusesabagina that has upset the Rwandan people, but the other things that President Kagame said, and the way that he said them, in Kinyarwanda. In keeping with the general climate of silence and disinformation about the political realities in Rwanda, Paul Kagame’s words went untold by the Western press.

Congolese refugees flee Rwandan militias
Congolese refugees flee Rwandan militias
On 6 April 1994 the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were assassinated after the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was struck by surface-to-air missiles as it approached the airport in the capital city, Kigali. Over the next three months the Western media was saturated with stories about meaningless tribal slaughter, unexplained cataclysms of violence, and utter hopelessness descending over the hills of Rwanda. Hutus killing Tutsis, people hacking their neighbors with machetes, the media’s message was clear: that is just something such people do.

In the film, Hotel Rwanda, the hate radio station of the Hutu Power government blames the presidents’ deaths on the Tutsi rebels, and we are left believing that, of course, there is no question that the ruthless, bloodthirsty, Hutu people did it. Paul Rusesabagina is a Hutu whose parents were both Hutu and Tutsi, and the film celebrates the humanity of Paul Rusesabagina in saving the lives of people. Paul Rusesabagina did not run away, he stood firm, and he said, "no."

In April of 1994 the Traprock Peace Center in western Massachusetts held a ceremony to remember and honor veterans. The speakers were Lois Barber, founder of Earth Action, and 2020 Vision, and Howard Zinn, author of the book A People’s History of the United States. I will never forget the sense of powerlessness we all felt when activist Frances Crowe, who was then 75 years old, asked with dismay: What can we do to help the people of Rwanda? There were no answers. The media had whipped up the specter of ancient tribal animosities, and this—as it always does—had emasculated our sensibilities. It was just something that happens in Africa. Some years later—after Rwanda had invaded the Congo—I privately complained to Frances Crowe that no one seemed to care about Rwanda, that there were no vigils, no protests, no willingness to understand. And Frances said to me, "maybe you are the one to be the voice for Rwanda." Well, those words certainly struck me, but it is a job I do not want. One can imagine that Paul Rusesabagina was also given a job that he did not want, but it was a job he did well.

Child labor is often used in DRC mining
Child labor is often used in DRC mining
Today—thirteen years after the infamous "100 days of genocide"—the political situation in Rwanda remains widely misunderstood and dangerously volatile. Most people continue to believe, even to spread, the disinformation about Rwanda. People have seen the film, Hotel Rwanda, but they know nothing about the protests in America organized by the Kagame machine. They know nothing about the innocent people imprisoned, tortured or disappeared by the Kagame machine. They know nothing of the kangaroo courts of the ICTR—the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda—or the "shenanigans" of the prosecution.

Few people know about the November 2005 assassination of Juvenal Uwilingiyamana, whose body turned up floating naked in a canal in Brussels. And if they have heard of Juvenal Uwilingiyamana, then maybe they think he deserved his fate: he was, after all, a fugitive from genocide. That he had been threatened and intimidated by agents of the ICTR, and yet refused to collaborate to manufacture falsehoods to support the Kagame mythology, few people know.

Rwandan Hutu prisoners accused of genocide, used for forced labor
Rwandan Hutu prisoners accused of genocide, used for forced labor
And while some might recall the 28 February 1999 massacre of eight Western tourists in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, they have heard nothing about the trials in Washington, where a U.S. judge freed the supposed killers in the fall of 2006: they were obviously tortured, the judge said. Who killed the tourists? Was it the enemies of the RPF, or was it the RPF? Why were the suspects passed through the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? Was this yet another attempt to extract confessions, under duress, that would serve the Kagame machine and uphold the Victor’s Justice dispensed by the ICTR? Answers will never come, when so few are prepared to comprehend the questions. And there are people with answers, people—in hiding—who can reportedly prove that it was the RPF that killed the two Americans, four Britons, and two New Zealanders.

In his 7 April 2007 commemoration of genocide, delivered in Murambi, Rwanda, President Paul Kagame spoke—in the Kinyarwanda language—with the inflection and innuendo of viciousness. He complained that the French should have tasted the RPF’s wrath when—Operation Turquoise, 1994—the RPF had the chance to inflict and wound them. He complained about all the Paul Rusesabaginas abroad, and their white friends, who malign and slander the good name of Rwanda. And when he complained about the Hutus, there was no mistaking the message—Rwandans say—for the threat that it is. President Paul Kagame said that the RPF Army made a mistake: that they should have finished off all the Hutus before they fled to Congo (Zaire), and they should have finished off all those who returned, when they had the chance. Kagame’s supporters, both emboldened and embarrassed by his words, issued a sanitized version of this speech; the original has disappeared from public view. Rwanda today is a cauldron of terror. It is not over. For many Rwandans, every day it begins anew.

Paul Kagame with directors of Royal/Dutch Shell in Rwanda
Paul Kagame with directors of Royal/Dutch Shell in Rwanda
Below is a candid interview with Paul Rusesabagina given in a Chicago coffee shop. Paul talks about his country, about genocide, about the events of 1994 that occurred outside the walls of the Hotel des Mille Collines. But most important of all, Paul Rusesabagina speaks candidly about the imperatives of facing and naming reality. Without transparency, with so much impunity, there will be no reconciliation, and no peace. This is the ultimate truth, and it is not about ancient tribal animosity, and it is not even about Rwanda. It is about depopulation, and control, and it is playing out today in Somalia and Sudan and Northern Uganda and Congo. War, terror, assassinations, the disappearing of innocent people—these are not just something that happens in Africa.


keith harmon snow: Paul, what would you say about Rwanda today?

Paul Rusesabagina: Rwanda today, that is a very wide subject.

KHS: Let's stick to the claim by the government of Rwanda that there are people trying to commit genocide against the Tutsis, and therefore they have to institute extreme security measures to defend their country.

PR: Well, Rwanda today, in that sense, [President] Kagame has used the label “genocide” to oppress the majority Hutus, who are 85% of the population. Kagame has got a militia, a new militia called the Local Defense [Forces]. (2) The Local Defense are demobilized army guys, who are given weapons, ammunitions. Those guys are not paid. You find them everywhere on the hills of Rwanda. (3)

KHS: They're not paid?

PR: They are not paid.

KHS: Why do they do it?

PR: They pay themselves. And you understand what this means?

KHS: They are robbing and pillaging...

PR: They are pillaging, they are robbing, they are killing...

KHS: Only within Rwanda? You're talking about within Rwanda? Not in the Congo… where the Rwandans are also pillaging and killing.

PR: Within Rwanda. Right now. I am only talking about Rwanda itself, not about the Congo.

KHS: Where do they get their weapons?

PR: From the government; they work for Kagame.

KHS: Are you a friend of Kagame at this point?

PR: Well, to the best of my knowledge, I have never been one. I've never been his friend, because, myself I knew Kagame from the beginning as a war criminal. Why a war criminal? Because, since Kagame came over from Uganda—on his way from Byumba and Ruhengeri in the northeast—what he did was to kill innocent civilians, innocent Hutu civilians. This has never been qualified as a genocide, but it is one; until it is qualified as a genocide, me I won’t call it a genocide, but it is supposed to be one...

KHS: Critics would claim, and people who support the predominant discourse, what I would call, the mythology of genocide in Rwanda, would claim that you are a Hutu, therefore you obviously have something against the Tutsis, and therefore you are saying that they have committed genocide against Hutus, and Kagame is responsible for, you're saying, terrorism.

PR: I'm not talking for Hutus or for Tutsis. I am talking for all those people who have no voice, who cannot have access to the media. I'm trying to be their voice. But I am not talking for Hutus. I am not talking for Tutsis. Because with Paul Kagame, whoever frustrates him, whoever might raise a voice, whoever talks against him—being Hutu or Tutsi—Kagame sees them as his enemy.

KHS: Kagame will come after you?

PR: Kagame will come after you.

KHS: Or he will have you arrested as a génocidaire

PR: Yes, of course. I will give you an example of Hutus and Tutsis who both have been killed since 1994. You know about Kagame completely destroying the refugee camps in Kibeho?

KHS: Kibeho, Rwanda: the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda [UNAMIR] stood by and watched while 4000 Rwandan refugees were massacred… (4)

PR: You have seen those pictures. Maybe you were not there, you did not experience what happened, but at least you have seen the websites showing how the RPF army destroyed refugee camps with helicopters while soldiers were on the ground with machine guns killing everyone, each and every moving human being trying to flee the camp. So, what can we call that? Is that a genocide? Is that a crime against humanity? To me, that is a crime against humanity, which includes genocide and war crimes.

KHS: The refugees were internally displaced Rwandans—originally forced out of Rwanda by the RPF invasion—and then forced back to Rwanda

PR: That was April 17th to 20th, 1995. (5) Those were Hutus he [Kagame] was killing. When Kagame followed one of his former Ministers of the Interior, Seth Sendashonga, and he was assassinated in Kenya [16 May 1998], he was killing the Hutu. (6) He followed Augustin Bugilimfura, who was a prominent businessman: he [Kagame] killed him in Kenya. (7) He followed one of his former colonels in the army, Lizinde Theoneste, who used also to be a major in President Habyarimana’s army [Forces Armées Rwandaises: FAR], and he also killed him [1998] in Kenya. But on the other hand, he also kills Tutsis. Kabera Assiel in the year 2000, he raised a voice, and talked, and he was assassinated trying to get into his house in Kigali, in Rwanda. (8)

KHS: And he was a Tutsi?

PR: He was a Tutsi. And he was the advisor to the Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu—who was imprisoned in Rwanda for some years.

KHS: Bizimungu was elected?

PR: No, Bizimungu was not elected, but he was designated by the RPF, the rebels, in 1994. (9)

KHS: So, you see a clear pattern of—what would you call it? Genocide? Murder? Assassinations? —state orchestrated terrorism that has occurred under the Kagame government since 1994.

PR: What you call, what I call myself, the Kagame “government”—I call it akazu. (10) The akazu is a small circle of old friends who rule over the country, who do whatever they want. But this akazu is a Tutsi circle, ruling over a whole nation, it is not Tutsi power: it is a circle of Tutsis.

KHS: There was the akazu under Habyarimana’s rule. (11) But now you have a group of very powerful Tutsis who have powerful Hutu businessmen as friends…

PR: Well, have you ever read my book An Ordinary Man?

KHS: No, I’m sorry. (12)

PR: Read my book An Ordinary Man. Those Hutus, I know they are there, who are trying to buy time. Who are trying to pay each and every now and then. They are the ones financing each and everything. They do not do it because they want to do it that way, but they are forced to.

KHS: To survive under the Kagame machine.

PR: Yes, to survive what they call today in Rwanda, the grinding machine.

KHS: The grinding machine?

PR: Yes, the grinding machine: a machine grinding human beings. You understand what I mean?

KHS: Terrorism, brutality, murder, torture, intimidation, death squads… a reign of terror…And that is the Kagame machine?

PR: Yes, that is the Kagame machine. And to be more specific, the former leader of that grinding machine is today the military attaché in Washington DC. His name is Gacinya, Rugumya.

KHS: And was Gacinya in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994?

PR: He comes from Uganda I think.

KHS: Like Paul Kagame and James Kabarebe (13) … which brings up the question of the Uganda connection to the Kagame machine.

PR: [Laughing.] How do you call this—Pilato? —the nickname, you know this one, who condemned all the babies to death when Jesus was born... They used to call Paul Kagame the Ugandan Pilato…

KHS: And why did they call him that?

PR: He was the head of military intelligence in Uganda. Between 1986 and 1990: Kagame was the one condemning people to life or death in Uganda, the one who was deciding people’s lives. (14)

KHS: Well, Kagame and Museveni have worked together to terrorize Congo, and their own countries right? And this is always with outside military support. But many people don't see, or don't believe, that Paul Kagame has deep connections outside. How do you feel about that? What do you think the reality is?

PR: Well, the reality is that Kagame has got support somewhere. I do not know really whether he gets it from the U.S. military. But Kagame has good support from somewhere. In any case, he does not get that support from France. He doesn't get it really from Europe. But he gets it from somewhere.

KHS: From your point of view—you are the real life hero depicted in the film Hotel Rwanda—what do you think about the movie?

PR: Well, I do not really call myself a hero. I call myself an ordinary man. That is the reason why I call my book, An Ordinary Man: I am an ordinary man who did ordinary things that he was supposed to do. During the more complicated and extraordinary circumstances I remained an ordinary man.

In the movie Hotel Rwanda, it was a true story of what was going on in the Hotel des Mille Collines [Kigali, Rwanda] during Rwanda’s 100 days of killing. I defined it that way, because me I say three months, because I do not know when they count the 100 days.

The genocide started the sixth of April [1994] when the President Habyarimana was assassinated. And this is, to me, what is called—with a blanket explanation—the genocide. That was supposed to have finished on July 4, when the RPF took over the country.

KHS: And that’s the so-called “100 days of genocide” in Rwanda: according to this—which I call a mythology—there was no genocide before 6 April 1994 and no genocide after 4 July 1994 and it was those ruthless Hutus and savage Interahamwe who did all the killing in those 100 days.

PR: Yes, it was finished, when it appeared that the RPF rebels took over the country. So, there was no more genocide afterwards. Whatever happens afterwards, they [RPA] take over. When we come back to the film Hotel Rwanda, and in the Mille Collines, that is the true story of what was going on during that specific time. And sometimes it [the film] has been made a little bit less violent for an audience to come, sit down, watch and get out with a message.

KHS: Do you believe the message is accurate?

PR: The message is very accurate.

KHS: The message that the Kagame regime, that the current government, that the rebels—the Rwandan Patriotic Army—stopped the genocide, and saved everyone...

PR: No, no, Hotel Rwanda [the film] does not say that...

KHS: But it's easy to believe that from the film.

PR: No, this is where I do not agree with people. Because the film Hotel Rwanda is about what is called the “Hotel Rwanda” [Hotel des Mille Collines]. It talks about what was going on between the walls, the four walls, of the building. It does not go outside to define what was going on. You saw the hotel manager going out how many times in the movie? Just twice: once, going out for supplies; the second time with those who are evacuated. That was it. Hotel Rwanda does not talk about what was going on outside. Only, in Hotel Rwanda, the movie shows the rebels as the winners, and they have been the winners.

KHS: Do you feel that the movie leaves people believing that the rebels [RPA] stopped the genocide?

PR: No. No one stopped the genocide. The rebels are still fighting when the movie ends...

KHS: But the movie leaves you believing that the rebels [RPA] stopped the genocide...

PR: No. This is an idea that all Westerners have in mind. This is why a movie is a movie: the movie does not leave people having in mind that the rebels stopped genocide. The movie stops when the rebels and the militiamen are fighting—still fighting—and the militiamen are fleeing, they are running away, and that is how it was.

KHS: Is Georges Rutaganda—the Interahamwe leader—the bad guy in the film Hotel Rwanda—a good friend of yours? (15)

PR: We grew up together. Georges and myself we grew up together. And even before political parties came up, we were very close. And during that time, I remember telling him myself, “Georges, you are making a mistake.” I told him that. We talked about it during the genocide, during the 100 days, or the three months, as I call it. During that three months, I saw Georges many times. He came to the hotel [Mille Collines], he came to see me many times at the hotel.

KHS: His lawyers from the ICTR [International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda] claim that he was portrayed, and he claims that, the movie portrays him unfairly. (16)

PR: I think the movie does not portray Georges unfairly. But rather Georges portrays himself unfairly. He portrayed—in his real life—he portrayed himself unfairly. Why did he portray himself unfairly? Georges was the second Vice-president of the Interahamwe. The Interahamwe had a President: Kajuga, Robert.

KHS: Was Robert Kajuga a Tutsi?

PR: Yes, Kajuga was a Tutsi.

KHS: How can that be? The Interahamwe, according to the common portrayals of genocide in Rwanda, were a bunch of murderous Hutus with machetes…

PR: How could that be? That is a problem. Because Kagame had infiltrated the [Habyarimana’s] army [FAR], and the militias, everywhere; he [Kagame] had his own militia within a militia.

KHS: Are you saying that Robert Kajuga was one of those infiltrators?

PR: Among many others.

KHS: Does that mean that the Interahamwe were killing people under the command of Paul Kagame?

PR: Well, not under his command, but Kagame had infiltrated the militias.

KHS: Does that mean that the militias—that the Interahamwe who were killing—were killing with the complicity of now President and then military commander Paul Kagame?

PR: Without knowing, for sure. They were not aware, that they were working for him [Kagame]. But most of those guys who were just on the roadblocks [where so much killing was done] were Kagame people. (17)

KHS: When you say, “they were not aware…” Who was not aware they were working for Kagame?

PR: The militias. Me I think that Georges [Rutaganda] was not aware that all of those guys were with him [Kagame]; guys like [Interahamwe President] Kajuga, Robert, who was his [Rutaganda’s] president, I'm sure he [Rutaganda] did not know.

KHS: So you then say that Kagame had something to do with orchestrating what people know as “the genocide in Rwanda,” which was those now famous “100 days”—or three months as you call it—of killing.

PR: What do you think? Who killed [President] Habyarimana? [Laughing.] Who benefited from Habyarimana’s death? It is Kagame and his people. And if you go back to the region, to the Great Lakes region, between 1990 and 1994, as I was describing, the rebels [RPA] on their way from Uganda—in Byumba and Ruhengeri, in northern Rwanda— they were killing civilians. Today you can go to many former communities which Kagame has completely reshuffled, and changed, every way, upside down. Today if I go to the hill where I was born, he has changed the names.

KHS: They have changed the names of the hills where you were born?

PR: Yes. All the names have been changed. So, killing civilians. If you go there today in Byumba, you will notice that 80% of the population are widows, women, all women. Why 80% of the population, today, is widows? Because rebels [RPA] were inviting their husbands to meetings and killing them.

KHS: This is before 1994.

PR: Before 1994. And their sons were being involved in the rebels [RPA] army and being killed.

KHS: Their sons were lured into the rebel army movement… were they Tutsis? Or Hutus? Or doesn’t it matter?

PR: Kagame at that time was killing Hutus only.

KHS: Because you had such an imbalance of power, with so many Hutus in Rwanda—the majority—that he had to depopulate the country, and he did this by any means necessary...

PR: Yes. And then, as a result, by late 1993, early 1994, we had about 1.2 million people surrounding Kigali, coming to beg in town...

KHS: IDPs—internally displaced people—Rwandan people.

PR: Yes, internally displaced people. Coming to beg in town, going to sleep in the open air, without shelter, without food, without water, dying each and every day, by disasters in camps, and also without education for their own children.

By 1993—you remember—in June, a Hutu President was elected democratically in Burundi: N’Dadaye, Melchior. And then he was killed in October [1993] by the Tutsi army [in Burundi]. (18) So the whole region was boiling. So now imagine, someone else taking over for N’Dadaye, and then another President from Burundi [Ntaryamira] now killed—also assassinated—with the President of Rwanda, six months later [6 April 1994]. So, that person, who killed President Habyarimana and President [Cyprien] Ntaryamira of Burundi… (19)

KHS: ...and Major-General Nsabimana…the Rwandan Armed Forces [Forces Armées Rwandaises, FAR] Chief of Staff who was also on the plane...

PR: Yes, he was the Rwandan [FAR] General, the Chief of Staff. So that person who beheaded two nations, to me, is the one, who is responsible for the death of a million people. (20)

KHS: Paul Kagame…

PR: Kagame. He pretends that people are not supposed to be angry; because he pretends that he can keep on killing them. Now, who took machetes first? And went down to the streets? All those refugees who surrounded Kigali, who had been angry for four years, who had lost their family members, killed by the [RPA] rebels; they started revenging on everyone… on Hutus and Tutsis.

KHS: On everyone...

PR: On Hutus and Tutsis, all together; on each and every one.

KHS: But that's not genocide as genocide is defined…if both Hutus and Tutsis are being killed… and both Tutsis and Hutus are doing the killing…

PR: Well, we can call it, let's say, we have to call it genocide, because we can never change it. This genocide designation has been decided by the Security Council.

KHS: But the United Nations Security Council is, in effect, a conspiracy of very powerful people...serving very powerful interests…

PR: Yes. But, well, on November 8, 1994, this was the date of the Security Council resolution made to call it a genocide. We have to maybe wait for another resolution, maybe calling it...

KHS: Politicide, or something else…holding all parties responsible… (21)

PR: Not politicide… because to me it is a genocide. We should call it by its name.

KHS: Committed by the Tutsis, the RPF rebels.

PR: Yes.

KHS: When was the first time you heard the term genocide applied to Rwanda?

PR: In 1994.

KHS: In 1994? You didn't hear it used before that?

PR: Well, it was used before that. That was RPF promotions—that genocide was being committed against Tutsis—that was RPF talking about it on Radio Muhabura … (22)

KHS: Saying that genocide was being committed against the Tutsis.

PR: Saying that genocide was being committed against the Tutsis.

KHS: But Alex de Waal [African Rights, London] came out with a report, and Alison des Forges [Human Rights Watch] came out with a report—and these reports were before April 1994, right? —Saying that the Habyrimana government was responsible for genocide.

PR: Well, I know that many humanitarians, many Western governments, were on the side of the Tutsi [RPA] rebels. The international community Kagame uses the label “genocide”—and he is using the “genocide”—to intimidate each and every one. And the international community is silent. And this has surprised me: that the international community has been silent since ever in Rwanda, and even today.

KHS: Is there any international “community”? Or is this merely another mistaken belief, a mythology… that there is some “community” of concerned people or organizations that do not operate from a profit motive, but from a truly humanitarian motive, for the betterment of the world?

PR: Well, when I say the international community, I'm always speaking about the humanitarian organizations.

KHS: Humanitarian. Such as?

PR: Such as Amnesty International.

KHS: Amnesty International. Is that a “humanitarian” organization? Is that an organization that operates without bias on some principles of truth? Where was Amnesty in 1993? When Rwanda—a sovereign country—was under attack, facing an invasion by the RPF? Wasn’t that a terrorist act? To invade a sovereign country as the RPF did Rwanda? Where was Amnesty then?

PR: Where were they in 1990?

KHS: In 1990…1991…1992, where were they?

PR: Where were they in 1994?

KHS: So, then you ask the question...

PR: They were one-sided. Where were they in 1994, and after, in 1995? Where are they today? We do not see them [in Rwanda].

KHS: What about Alison des Forges [Human Rights Watch]? She's always producing alerts from Kigali about Congo, for example. (23)

PR: Well I believe that Alison des Forges has spoken for the oppressed in a way. There have been some reports, in 1993, talking about the RPF killing civilians [in Rwanda].

KHS: Reports by who?

PR: By Alison des Forges and others from Human Rights Watch.

KHS: About the RPF killings that were going on.

PR: About the RPF killings. She wrote about that in 1993, in a Human Rights Watch Report. And in 1995 and 1996, she did a lot of reports against the RPF. Did you know that at a given time, Alison des Forges became persona non grata and was wanted in Rwanda, until 1999, when Americans had the right to go to Rwanda without a visa. That is when she happened to go back to Rwanda under the RPF regime. That much I know.

KHS: So, you think Alison des Forges has been fairly balanced…

PR: Well, she has tried to be balanced.

KHS: Does that mean you don't think she has succeeded?

PR: Well, sometimes people try and sometimes they succeed, and some other times they fail, that's life. Sometimes people are informed; some other times people may be misinformed as well.

KHS: Do you see parallels between what happened in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994 and what is going on in Darfur today?

PR: Definitely.

KHS: You went to Darfur [January 2005]. Who did you travel with?

PR: I traveled with Don Cheadle [the actor], who played me in Hotel Rwanda. I traveled with five members of the U.S. Congress.

KHS: Which congressmen and congresswomen?

PR: Well, there was Eddie Royce (R-CA) of California... (24)

KHS: Was there a U.S. Military General with you?

PR: Ah, well, there were some U.S. military generals as well.

KHS: Did you see other U.S. military in Sudan when you got there?

PR: In Sudan? No, they are not any in Sudan.

KHS: You didn't see any.

PR: No. In Sudan I didn't see any. I didn’t see any.

KHS: But you do see parallels between Darfur and Rwanda...

PR: But I do see—I saw a lot of parallels. In Rwanda in 1994, as I told you, before 1994, me, I just consider, what happened before 1994 saw the genocide.

KHS: I'm sorry, you say, “what was happening before 1994”…

PR: Yes, what I was describing—RPA killings in Byumba and Ruhengeri. So, this is what is going on in Darfur. What was going on in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994 is exactly what is going on in Darfur.

KHS: That's impossible! In Darfur, we are told that there are all these Arabs on horses, Jangaweed, killing people, just like in Rwanda, where we had the Hutus—the Interahamwe—killing people.

PR: No, before 1994, you had Tutsis, the Tutsi army [RPA], killing Hutu civilians on the hills of Byumba and Ruhengeri, on their way to power, fighting for power.

KHS: This is the reality.

PR: The reality is that. And this is also what is going on in Darfur. You have the Janjaweed on horses killing civilians in camps. Destroying villages...

KHS: Are you saying there are no rebels involved in Darfur?

PR: There are also rebels involved, but this time it is a militia armed by the government. But also in Rwanda before 1994, the militia Interahamwe was also killing civilians.

KHS: What I'm trying to say is that in Rwanda before 1994, in the international press, you didn't see anything about the RPF, they were almost not even there, even though they were invading a country. And today, it’s the same with the “rebels” in Darfur.

PR: Because the RPF was smart enough: if you were a journalist not on their side, they [RPF] would just push you away; you were not allowed to cover their zone. Simply you were not allowed.

KHS: So the media coverage was very slanted in favor of the RPF. Don't you think that is happening in Darfur, with the rebels?

PR: No, with the rebels, I don't think so: because we crossed and went on the rebel side.

KHS: Where do the rebels in Darfur get their weapons and their arms?

PR: They get them, of course, from the West. You see, whatever happens, there's always a superpower behind.

KHS: Well, this is what I am saying, no? So who's giving the rebels in Darfur their weapons? Who supports them?

PR: Well, I don't really know.

KHS: The African Union forces have 2,000 of Kagame's men, and these are the same people who have committed genocide in Congo and Rwanda… (25)

PR: Yes, of course. Those are armed by the U.S. This is actually the observers—if you can call it that—because I can no more call them peacekeepers, or peacemakers. They are, to me, they are just observers.

KHS: These are the Darfur A.U. peacekeepers...

PR: No, to me, they are not peacekeepers, they are just observers.

KHS: And what about Roger Winter, today he is the chief of United States Agency for International development [USAID] in Sudan. What can you say about his involvement in Rwanda before 1994? When he was head of the U.S. Committee for Refugees? Wasn't he close with Paul Kagame and the RPF even before 1990? (26)

PR: This is what they say; they say also that he was a good friend to the RPF people since the beginning, since 1980.

KHS: Did you see Roger Winter when you were there [Darfur]?

PR: No, I didn't see him, because he was supposed to be in Khartoum. He's a representative of the U.S. administration in Khartoum. He's not in Darfur.

KHS: You didn’t see him in Darfur. Did you see him in Rwanda in 1990 and 1994? You weren't working at the Hotel des Mille Collines in this period were you?

PR: Yes, of course, I was working at Mille Collines until November 1992.

KHS: Were you seeing any U.S. military in Rwanda at the time?

PR: Well, the military, the U.S. military, are never in military uniforms. Are they supposed to be in military uniforms? They were mostly in civilian uniforms, just dressed like you and I.

KHS: What role did Canadian General Romeo play? (27) Because it's claimed by ICTR lawyers—for the defense—that Dallaire and the UNAMIR forces closed down half the runway, eliminating one possible approach, which made it possible to shoot down the plane carrying the two presidents. (28)

PR: Well, General Dallaire openly helped the RPF rebels, unfortunately.

KHS: He was working for the RPF…

PR: I couldn’t tell exactly who he was working for. For me, what I cannot understand: A Canadian general who came to Rwanda in 1993, who has 2,500 soldiers, and when they are in the genocide [period] and 10 Belgian soldiers were killed, the Belgian government decided to pullout [of Rwanda]. And they [Belgium] had about 350 soldiers in the U.N. [UNAMIR], supported by the United States, and the United Kingdom, and the whole world decided to pull out, and to abandon the whole [peacekeeping] mission, to abandon Rwanda. When they decided to abandon, the General [Dallaire] himself decided to remain, this time not with 2,500 soldiers, but with 200 soldiers. Can you imagine a Canadian general commanding 200 African soldiers? That is a big question mark. I can't imagine, a U.S. or Canadian general commanding 200 soldiers, and African soldiers… maybe if he was a lieutenant he could have done that…

KHS: So you are saying it was highly irregular for a Canadian General to stay in Rwanda at the time and be commanding only 200 soldiers… So the question then arises: what was a Canadian General doing with 200 African soldiers? Was he working for Canada?

PR: No, not as a Canadian, but maybe on his own.

KHS: Not officially for Canada...

PR: No, not officially.

KHS: But he wasn't officially U.N. anymore either, is that right?

PR: But he was still, in the end, he was still supposed to be a United Nations commander. But myself, I don't imagine a Canadian general commanding 200 soldiers. Can you imagine? And knowing, purposely, that he is unable to do anything to protect any one civilian? And with only 200 soldiers for the whole country: you can imagine what it means: nothing, zero.

KHS: Why did he stay?

PR: Why did he stay? That remains a mystery to me. I haven't understood. But maybe if I was in his position—myself, I would have resigned. Because giving me 200 soldiers, that is a humiliation for a general. So resigning, and staying, remaining, knowing purposely that he was not going to change anything… that was a game. Or maybe secretly he [Dallaire] was working for someone else.

KHS: In other words, the only sensible conclusion is that General Romeo Dallaire remained in Rwanda—after the UNAMIR “peacekeeping” mission was aborted—because he was expected to play a role in the overthrow of the Habyarimana government. And he did play a role: he supported the RPF.

PR: Well, that is a big question mark. Dallaire’s army, his [UNAMIR] soldiers were bringing RPF soldiers, in their [UNAMIR] cars, from the RPF side, to the CND, the house of the parliament in Kigali. (29)

KHS: You are saying that UNAMIR was transporting RPF soldiers from the RPF side of Rwanda, across the ceasefire zone, to Kigali, and this was before April 1994?

PR: Yes, before April 6, 1994. Initially there were supposed to be 600 soldiers, but in [April] 1994 when the genocide broke out there were about 4000 RPF soldiers.

KHS: And what was the official number of RPF soldiers allowed to be in Kigali? Wasn’t there a restriction of RPF soldiers in Kigali according to the Arusha Peace Accords of 1993?

PR: Yes. Under the Arusha Accords it was 600 [RPA] soldiers.

KHS: So, officially, only 600 RPA soldiers were allowed in Kigali, but in fact there were almost 4000 RPA. So obviously Habyarimana knew that, but he couldn’t do anything about it.

PR: Yes, and that is why he [Habyarimana] was angry against each and every one. He was always upset.

KHS: Did you ever hear anything about the investigations into the shooting down of the presidential plane? The 6 April 1994 event that is always credited with “sparking the genocide?”

PR: Well, I heard about the investigations, and I heard that, at a given time, they had come up with a result. But they couldn't declare the results [at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda], because the prosecutors didn't want the results to appear. And even today, which is still a mystery, the prosecutor does not take the assassination of President Habyarimana into his mission. And yet according to his mission given by his security council, given by the U.N. resolution of 1994, he was supposed to deal with the Rwandan genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes between January 1 and December 31, 1994, the whole year. So he is excluding the most important point of his mission—the investigation of the death of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. And he does not consider this, even now: the ICTR IS not concerned about Habyarimana’s death.

KHS: Right. It's inside the bounds of the court—the ICTR—what the court is allowed and required or mandated to investigate, but they have ignored it completely, and they are still ignoring it, and they have told you that they will continue to ignore it.

PR: Yes. And myself, I will never understand. An International Court for Rwanda, given a mission—a mission of reconciliation—but never talking about a terrorist act. To me—assassinating two presidents—that is a terrorist act. First of all, a peace agreement had been signed between the [RPF] rebels and the [Habyarimana] government.

KHS: The Arusha Accords.

PR: Yes. There was a ceasefire; no one was allowed to fight. Whoever killed, that is a terrorist. So, if someone comes as a tribunal, and this is defined, well defined, in their mission, they are supposed to handle what happens between January 1st and December 31rst, 1994. That is the U.N. resolution on Rwanda. So, saying that this double presidential assassination is outside of their boundaries, is unbelievable.

KHS: So this is just another example of how the evidence is hidden, how the RPF is protected, even rewarded, for their military coup. But the RPF has been killing all along, and you have said this, and they are never challenged, because they use the “genocide” card to manipulate, or silence, or accuse people. And you have said openly that there is a genocide going on in Rwanda now.

PR: I've said openly that if we do not follow up what is going on in Rwanda, if—again—the international community closes eyes, and ears, and turns backs, then another genocide might be committed in the near future.

KHS: By who? And against who?

PR: By who? Who else can commit that? I told you that Kagame has got an army, a very strong army. He's got a militia, and this militia is present all over the country, on each and every hill. They kill whomever they want; whenever they want; however they want. Many people get lost. Whoever says “no,” they kill him. Today, people support no one; businesses have stopped. No one is allowed to sell even beans. Even if you cultivate your beans you are no more allowed to go and sell your own beans on the market. The RPF has taken over everything—even all the markets. They have appointed people who go and buy everything and sell them at their own prices. The RPF controls each and everything.

KHS: You're talking about extortion and racketeering of the kind the RPF have instituted in Congo.

PR: Extortion. So the people are dictated. They have got no more rights, and they are intimidated on the hills. And me, I always say: I fear my fellow Rwandans, when they don't talk, and when they are not allowed to. When they don’t open their mouths and say what they think, I fear them.

KHS: Now, already...

PR: Yes. And now they do not talk, because they are not allowed; they are intimidated.

KHS: When you say another genocide, you're saying that the Kagame government will kill off more people to perpetuate and further consolidate its own power.

PR: But it has been doing it. It did it before 1994. It has been doing it. It is still doing it. He [Kagame] did it before the genocide, during the genocide and after the genocide, and he is still doing it, up to now.

KHS: Kagame is still doing it.

PR: Yes.

KHS: But you're saying there will be a continuing escalation.

PR: Yes.

KHS: Because the Kagame government needs to establish control that it is losing.

PR: Well, it is not losing control; it is strengthening, it is always strengthening.

KHS: But people are fighting back.

PR: People suffer. People are keeping quiet. They are going to fight back.

KHS: So when they fight back, who will commit the genocide? Are you saying that the people that fight back will commit it against the Tutsis, the RPF, in power? Or that those in power —Kagame’s machine—will commit it against the people of Rwanda?

PR: No, the people have no weapons; the people have no ammunitions. How can they commit a genocide? It is the government—the RPF—who will do that.

KHS: What about in Congo? What do you think about Kagame's role in Congo?

PR: Kagame's role in Congo was an international disaster. That was an international disaster and it is, still, an international disaster.

KHS: Because Kagame still has power in Congo

PR: Oh yes.

KHS: How do you see that?

PR: You know a certain Nkunda?

KHS: General Nkunda. (30)

PR: General Nkunda. You know about him. So, Kagame is still in the Congo. Kagame never left the Congo. How can one fight, without a battle? When Nkunda was injured, about a month ago, he was evacuated by helicopter from the Congo to Kigali. Where does he get that? He is just in the forest [Congo] in the most completely neglected area. Where does he get weapons? Where does he get ammunitions? Where does he get the men? And Rwanda is still doing a lot of mining. (31)

KHS: Mining where?

PR: In Congo. A year ago [2006] all those mining guys were Rwandans prisoners. It was in a documentary—a special documentary—filmed in Eastern Congo, in the North and South Kivu provinces.

KHS: So coltan, diamonds, gold, niobium, cassiterite…

PR: Yeah, the miners were just Hutu prisoners.

KHS: That was happening a lot a few years back—1999, 2000, 2001—and the world was led to believe that Rwanda pulled out of Congo. But you say its still happening now? You don’t think it stopped? So you confirm that this is still happening, in Congo.

PR: Yes. It is still happening today; it is still taking place.

KHS: Forced labor… do they wear the pink jumpsuits that Hutu genocide prisoners wear in Rwanda?

PR: No. Not in Congo.

KHS: How does the government of Rwanda get them across the border if they are prisoners?

PR: Well, there is one thing you do not know: Kagame has got now a navy, on Lake Kivu, and he crosses the borders whenever he wants.

KHS: Into Goma…or across Lake Kivu… he doesn’t go into town… (32)

PR: No, not to Goma, he doesn’t go to town, he doesn’t need to. He just goes straight to those villages [under Rwandan mining control in Congo].

KHS: “Navy”—that means what kind of boats?

PR: Well I can’t tell but I know he has got a navy.

KHS: Are they boats supplied by the West?

PR: Yeah. In Rwanda we don’t make boats.

KHS: How do they get there? They fly them in on C-130’s, straight into Kigali

PR: Of course. Of course.

KHS: Do you think the U.N. is actively allowing Nkunda to be there?

PR: The U.N., to me, I do not—I am sorry—I do not care for the U.N.

KHS: After what happened in Rwanda?

PR: After what happened in Rwanda, I do not really trust the U.N. When Kagame killed people in Kibeho, 5000 U.N. soldiers were in the country. During 4 days—17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, of April 1995—he destroyed a refugee camp. Where were they?

KHS: And they did the same thing in Congo: Kagame and [General] James Kabarebe attacked the refugee camps. (33) How do you see that?

PR: As a disaster.

KHS: It’s a violation of international law, to attack a refugee camp…

PR: Kagame—I think—Kagame takes himself just as an untouchable guy. He's untouchable.

KHS: Who are his most powerful friends? By that I mean his business associates and allies...

PR: Well, I do not know them. His associates definitely are Anglo-Saxons. Because Kagame, he has taken a turn: he's no more going to continental Europe.

KHS: Well, the RPF originally had a very strong base in Belgium. You're saying he’s going to the U.S.? And you agree that Rwanda is still putting on this massive—what we could call—a massive psychological operation that continues to convince the world that the Kagame government is besieged by people—Hutus and Interahamwe and génocidaires—trying to commit genocide against them? Or do you think the truth is coming out?

PR: Kagame has been manipulating the international community, using “genocide” as a passport.

KHS: With the Anglo-Saxon friends behind him?

PR: Not really the Anglo-Saxon friends, but there are some individuals.

KHS: Powerful people in the USA, Canada and England

PR: There are some individuals, but I think, he has some individual friends. All of the Anglo-Saxons are not his friends. He has got a few individuals who are his friends, who support him, who are in the Western governments, the Anglo-Saxon governments.

KHS: Do you think Clinton is one of those?

PR: Well, I don't think so. I think that Clinton went to Rwanda [1998] for a purpose. He went to Rwanda to help...He apologized, first of all, after the genocide. So, he felt, I think, he felt guilty, after all that took place in Rwanda. And he is trying to change—maybe to clean up—his image, this is what I have in mind.

KHS: From 1990 to 1994 a lot of people were killed in Rwanda and a lot of refugees were forced into Congo. The homes that they left behind, who occupied those homes?

PR: Of course, impunity prevails in Rwanda since history. Around 1959, 1960 and 1961... and so on, all the Rwandans who fled the country, and went away; their homes were occupied by their neighbors. Those neighbors have never been punished. And when those victims came back in 1994, they committed the same crime. They occupied houses they never bought. They occupied land that never belonged to them. They occupied these, and they took over livestock they never bought. So yesterday's victims, became, that time, perpetrators. I want to tell you that, for me, this is one of the biggest troubles: there was impunity, and history has never taught us any lesson.

KHS: And you said that Kagame’s people are in charge of everything in Rwanda today. What are the big businesses? Tea? Coffee?

PR: Everything: tea, coffee, land, beans, potatoes; everything in detail. No exceptions.

KHS: What about gorilla tourism?

PR: Everything has been taken over by a group of individuals.

KHS: James Kabarebe? (34)

PR: Kabarebe, his lieutenants, all of those guys—and they are controlling everything.

KHS: As early as 1994 and 1995, did you see, or were you aware, that minerals—gold, diamonds, coltan, niobium—were leaving the Congo and going through Kigali on Sabena [Airlines] planes back to Belgium?

PR: Well, that has ever been like that. This is very plain. This has ever been just like that.

KHS: Was it happening that way under President Habyarimana? With Mobutu’s support?

PR: Well, you know Rwanda. Habyarimana was also trucking minerals from Congo [Zaire]. So was Mobutu. And there was no infrastructure in the Congo, so everything was fleeing the Congo by Rwanda. That was very well known. Smuggling minerals, smuggling coffee... Rwanda was producing more coffee than Congo... If you planted coffee over the whole country of Rwanda, you cannot have produced what we were selling outside. That was smuggling.

KHS: Coming from Congo. It was the same under Mobutu and during the Congo war, as now?

PR: Coming from Congo, from Burundi, from Uganda—and going back, crossing Uganda again, to Mombasa [Kenya].

KHS: And you're saying that was true under President Habyarimana and it's also true under Kagame today?

PR: You see, in Rwanda, we say that, we always change dancers, and the music stays the same. Rwanda exports more diamonds and gold, more metals than any other African country. And yet, we do not produce any in Rwanda and we sell so much more than the Congo.

KHS: Even now, in 2007.

PR: Even today.

KHS: So, the Congo pillage is still going on by Rwanda.

PR: So, it is as I told you. That is why General Nkunda is there. Nkunda is on a mission.

KHS: His mission is to make sure the raw materials keep coming into Rwanda.

PR: And also that Kagame controls Eastern Congo. And he does.

KHS: General Nkunda was in Kagame’s RPF army in 1994 right? So he was there in the “rebellion” in Congo where the RPF—personally commanded by James Kabarebe and Paul Kagame—killed all those Hutu refugees. (35)

PR: Yes.

KHS: But he wasn't a general then, obviously.

PR: No, he was not that. Those guys called themselves generals, but they are just lords of war.

KHS: And whomever does it best, who ever steals the most, they give them the name “general”…

PR: They can call themselves a “general”. Whoever is a leader, they can call themselves general, anything they want.

KHS: What do you think of Philip Gourevitch's book? (36)

PR: I think that if Gourevitch was to write his book today, he would write a completely different book.

KHS: What do you think of the book he wrote at the time?

PR: Well, his book took very much the RPF side. He was more or less like an RPF advocate, if he was writing—him as a journalist I have seen—he would write a different book.

KHS: So, you think it's completely one-sided?

PR: Yes, completely. But that is not only him, but many writers and people writing books on Rwanda at that time. What they wrote, if they were to write today, they would write completely different books.

KHS: If they were honest… (37)

PR: Yes, if they were honest.

KHS: Was it at the time because they were operating like you said, they had to have the support of the RPF, or else they were sidelined?

PR: And I do understand people like Gourevitch, being a Holocaust survivor. I sometimes do understand such people, and what they write.

KHS: Did you ever hear about what the British journalist Nick Gordon reported about crematoriums in Rwanda under Kagame? (38)

PR: No, that one I haven't heard. But we know it.

KHS: You know what?

PR: We know that, we knew, as I told you, we have changed dancers, but the music remains the same. We have changed the players but the rules of the game are exactly the same. Killings never ended, but killers changed. And they have improved their ways of killings. They started tying people [arms] from the back since 1994, when RPF took over, throwing them in [metal transport] containers, leaving them there. Many people died like that. And then, they were taking dead bodies in the night, and burning them, in the Nyungwe Forest, in the south, between Gikongoro and Cyangugu, on the Burundi border.

KHS: Burning them gets rid of the skeleton too…

PR: Burning everything. So, they changed the style but the killings never ended. And another new style, people have been disappearing since 1994. You hear that “so-and-so” disappeared, and for life, forever.

KHS: Why do you think that no one is taking it seriously, what you are saying, and what others have been saying, about Kagame's regime? In other words, there is no action to stop it. And while there is no transparency in the international media, and the truth of the Kagame machine is not reported, there is a problem of impunity.

PR: What I have said is that impunity has ever been a problem in Rwanda. And many people in the international community have been maybe, a kind of, apologizing, whenever Kagame intimidates everyone. Kagame comes to the Western Superpowers and tells them, listen you guys: "When these Hutus were killing us, where were you?" And they keep quiet. He comes to Hutus and tells them: “If it was not for me, my Colonels and Lieutenants might have killed you all.” And they keep quiet. And he comes to Tutsis and tells them: "Listen you, you pretend to be survivor. How did you survive? It is us [RPF] who saved your life."

KHS: And you're saying that's not true anyway, that the RPF didn’t “stop the genocide” as Kagame always claims…

PR: That is not true anyway; but he pretends; to intimidate everyone.

KHS: So, Kagame uses the popular belief that the Tutsis stopped the genocide—which isn't true to begin with—in any sense—

PR: No it is not true anyways.

KHS: …and he uses it as a way to manipulate people into supporting the current terrorist program—the illegal commerce, the extortion, the massacres, the disappearing people, the rape and pillage in Congo—or at least being quiet, and apologizing for it in some cases.

PR: Yes. Apologizing.