2010 August — Rwandinfo_ENG
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Posts from — August 2010

Rwanda Government says Amnesty International accusations are “wild”

Rwanda prison

Kigali – Responding to demands from Amnesty International that the new government must urgently review their “vague ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws” allegedly used to suppress political dissent, the Justice Ministry says it has such a plan but not because of outside pressure.

Rwanda does not make laws to please Amnesty International or any other outsiders, said Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.

The London-based rights group said in a report Tuesday that the loose wording was being misused to criminalise criticism of the government and legitimate opposition.

The ambiguity of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws mean Rwandans live in fear of being punished for saying the wrong thing,” said Erwin van der Borght, Africa Programme director at Amnesty International.

Most take the safe option of staying silent.”

In a 116-page report, Amnesty says its research based on information from local civil society, judges and lawyers, the two laws were found to be troubling.

But speaking Tuesday morning to the BBC, the Justice Minister Karugarama accused Amnesty International of making baseless allegations without doing any research on the impact of the laws.

“What census have they carried…Are they the spokesperson of the Rwandan people?” said Karugarama, describing the allegations from the group as “wild”.

Government announced in April that it was reviewing the Genocide Ideology law. RNA also reported recently that Karugarama had invited campaigns groups including Amnesty International to give their ideas on the preferred changes.

The complaints against the sectarianism law are just coming up.

Karugarama said: “We do not make laws to satisfy Amnesty International or any other organization…we make laws to satisfy our legal and national requirements.

Cabinet has engaged two unnamed academic institutions to help with the review of the Genocide law. Karugarama has commissioned two independent groups to look at the law. One is an academic institution in north America, the other a group in Europe.

Available figures suggest some 900 people are in jail over the contested Genocide law.

[ARI-RNA]

August 31, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda prepares for Kagame’s swearing in ceremony

Final touches ahead of the inauguration

giving-kgl-roads-a-facelift-sm

GIVING THE ROADS A FACELIFT – Workers painting Kigali City street pavements ahead of the swearing in ceremony slated for Monday (Photo: J. Mbanda)

Kigali – Preparations countrywide are in high gear as Rwanda braces itself for the swearing in ceremony of the now UN genocide suspect President-elect Paul Kagame slated for September 6, for his second term in office following a “landslide victory”.

In the capital Kigali, roads have been given a retouch with a new coat of paint while at Amahoro National Stadium, preparations have already began ahead of the Monday fete.

According to the Minister of Local Government James Musoni, Rwandans who will not make it to the national stadium will gather in their villages where they will take part in the national celebrations.

“Citizens at the village level (Umudugudu) have planned extravaganzas. They have already organised cultural troops and composed victory songs to sing on Inauguration Day. They will follow the function on the radio and on televisions for those who can afford.”

“The government has contributed Rwf50,000 to every village to help in the celebrations. This is just a small contribution compared to what has already been done by the people themselves,” Musoni said.

In some villages, bulls will be slaughtered, and according to Musoni, the plan is for Rwandans to celebrate the victory with merrymaking, partly to celebrate the peaceful elections as well as the new chapter that the country will have entered.

“This is what people have voluntarily planned, they say it is their victory and hence they need to celebrate it.”

According to the Mayor of Kigali City, Dr. Aissa Kirabo Kacyira, the city put finishing touches on some city roads that have been undergoing repairs and also put on hold ongoing road works until after the inauguration.

“Preparations are going on well, the roads and the facilities are ready. We are expecting some 90,000 people to come to the ceremony and we have already arranged where they will sit, water points and many other things required for the event to go smoothly,” Kirabo said.

She noted that some sections of the roads had to be repainted as a result of construction works going on, and that some extra cleaning up done on other sections.

The Mayor called on the residents of Kigali to show up on time to be part of the event. She again commended the residents for being vigilant and peaceful during the elections.

August 31, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda: No order yet to pull out of peacekeeping missions

Kigali – Despite continued reports alleging that Rwanda has threatened to reconsider its UN commitments – including its contribution to UN-backed peacekeeping operations, the Rwanda Defence Forces has said they have no standing order to that end.

Army and Defence Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara, pointed out that such a decision would be a political one and not the army’s.

“The army takes orders from political authorities. Such a decision is not ours to make. And, we haven’t been given that order,” said Rutaremara.

Rwanda maintains the biggest contingent on the UN-backed peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur.

Media allegations about Rwanda’s ‘threat’ to pull out of peacekeeping operations came last week following the leak of a UN draft report claiming that Rwandan troops were involved in mass killings in the DRC from 1994-2003.

The real question now is: given the gravity of the genocide allegations minutiously described in the UN human rights report, does the UN need to use the service of a genocidal army for peacekeeping missions? It is not up to Rwanda to threaten to pull out its troops, it should be up to the UN, without delay, to cancel any involvement of Rwandan army in any peacekeeping mission!

August 31, 2010   No Comments

New Amnesty report criticises vague Rwanda laws

Rwanda: “Living in fear of saying the wrong thing”

New Amnesty report criticises vague Rwanda laws

Amnesty International has today [31 August] urged Rwanda’s new government to review its vague laws of ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ which can lead to imprisonment for up to 25 years.

In its new report entitled ‘Safer to Stay Silent: The Chilling Effect of Rwanda’s Laws on ‘Genocide Ideology’ and ‘Sectarianism’ Amnesty raised concerns that the laws are being used to suppress political dissent and stifle freedom of speech.

It details how the vague wording of these laws is misused to criminalise criticism of the government and dissent by opposition politicians, human rights activists and journalists.

Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director, Erwin van der Borght said:

“The ambiguity of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ law means Rwandans live in fear of being punished for saying the wrong thing. Most take the safe option of staying silent.”

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

Accusations of ‘genocide ideology’ have also been used to settle personal disputes. Current laws allow for the criminal punishment of children as young as 12, accused of genocide ideology. Parents, guardians and teachers can all face the threat of “inoculating” a child with “genocide ideology”.

Sentences for convicted adults range from 10 to 25 years’ imprisonment.

The ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws were introduced to restrict speech that could promote hatred in the decade following the 1994 genocide. While prohibiting hate speech is a legitimate aim, the approach used by the Rwandan Government has violated international law.

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

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

Erwin van der Borght added:

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

Notes to Editors

· Rwanda’s ‘genocide ideology’ law was promulgated in 2008 and the ‘sectarianism’ law was promulgated in 2001.

· According to government figures, there were 1,034 trials related to ‘genocide ideology’ in 2007-2008. These were prosecuted under charges ranging from assassinations to damage to cattle.

· According to government figures, 435 ‘genocide ideology’ cases were tried at first instance in 2009.

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

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

[Amnesty International]

August 31, 2010   1 Comment

Amnesty International calls on Rwanda to review ‘genocide ideology’ law

The London-based human rights organization, Amnesty International (AI), has said in a new report released here on Monday that Rwanda’s new government must urgently review its vague ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws that are being used to suppress political dissent and stifle freedom of speech.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The report says that ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws were introduced to restrict speech that could promote hatred in the decade following the 1994 genocide. Up to 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the genocide. Prohibiting hate speech is a legitimate aim, but the approach used by the Rwandan government has violated international law.

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

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

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

[APA-Moscow (Russia)]

August 31, 2010   1 Comment

The fading image of the genocide suspect Kagame

by Ambrose Nzeyimana.

Rwanda: A lot of PR needed for a fading image

The challenge of facing democracy inside and international justice outside appears to become a costly exercise for the government of General Paul Kagame. Within the space of a few weeks, it was first the outcry about the outcome of presidential elections held on August 9th, and we then have the seriously damaging leaked UN report on atrocities committed by the RPA/AFDL rebel forces on Hutu refugees and local Hutu populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ann Garrison, a Californian independent journalist compiled a partial list of news outlets which have highlighted the content of the UN report as of 08.28.2010. These include Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Reuters Africa, Agence France Press, Newsweek, New York Times, De Standaard, as reported in PressEurop, Channel 4 UK, Telegraph, Press TV, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Miami Herald, NPR. She says that the political cost of standing with Kagame is mounting by the hour.

As for the contested outcomes from the election, Paul Kagame had resorted to publishing in The Financial Times of Thursday 19th August where he stood. Using such news outlet confirmed what had been reported by The Guardian a while ago saying that he was working with PR firms to launder his regime’s reputation. If he is clean about allegations he is accused of by Rwandan opposition parties and human rights organizations one would wonder the true motives of such costly assistance.

He highlights for example that he has achieved reconciliation among Rwandans, and then what are the explanations to the thousands of refugees from all ethnic groups who continue fleeing the country. Unease has been particularly evidenced among his colleagues in RPF ranks in recent times and apparently doesn’t end. His reconciliation without tolerance appears to exemplify what happened to the assassinated vice president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Andre Rwisereka, the shot dead journalist of Umuvugizi Jean Leonard Rugambage, or General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa victim of an assassination attempt in South Africa.

Political parties which criticize RPF regime are until today excluded from legally operating in Rwanda. Victoire Ingabire, leader of FDU-Inkingi, is under house arrest since April. Her party has been denied registration because of false allegations against her of genocide ideology, genocide denial, and being associated with a terrorist group. The Green Democratic Party couldn’t get registered either. Me Bernard Ntaganda, Chairman of Parti Social – Imberakuri is in prison since June 24th.

Paul Kagame’s claim of economic growth is misleading because it intentionally obscures the exact picture of he found in Rwanda in 1994. Rwandan electrification was among the highest in Africa before the arrival of RPF in power. This was also true for the number of hospitals and frequency of roads. There is no evidence of significant developments in these areas which was installed since. On these issues Paul Kagame provides a picture of a country which apparently didn’t have any infrastructure before 1994. He forgets that the same institutions which are praising him today for making tremendous economic progress had also appreciated the model of development of his predecessor.

In addition, the point he makes of continuous economic growth seems to say that no one could have achieved similar performance while the Rwandan government receives from donors 60% of its budget and its structures are in the hands of external experts. Could such achievement be reasonably attributed to him?

According to the PNUD, Rwanda ranks among the 15% countries most unequal. There is a need to compare elements or situations which are comparable. The same institution reports that the population which lives under the poverty line has passed from 47% previously to 60% under RPF leadership. Who benefit from current economic growth if any? It is Kigali residents who consist of Rwandan elites. 85% of the population is rural.

Democracy is a universal principle. One does not have to choose between food, freedom, and electricity which is only available to a very small fraction of the population, yet this after 16 years of RPF leadership. It is not up to the president to decide what is convenient to the people. Citizens should be responsible for their destiny and not Paul Kagame imposing them his.

Justice is another fundamental and universal human right. For most Rwandans, their country has become like a prison where some of the inmates have the keys to get out but also back to their cells, whereas others are confined only to the space available inside its walls. Thousands have died unaccounted for at the hands of prison guards. The leaked UN report brought some hope of justice for the thousands who died in DRC running away from the RPA/ADFL forces in 1997-98. Their memory could then this time be publicly remembered.

[The Rising Continent]

August 29, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda threats to UN after report of genocide in Congo

Rwanda threatened to withdraw peacekeepers over UN report
Rwanda has threatened to withdraw its troops from United Nations peacekeeping operations if the world body publishes a report accusing the Rwandan army of committing possible genocide in Congo in the 1990s, Rwanda’s foreign minister says in a letter sent to the UN

Addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the letter from Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo describes the report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as “fatally flawed” and “incredibly irresponsible.” The letter is dated Aug. 3 and was obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday.

A draft of the report leaked this week accuses Rwandan troops and rebel allies tied to the current Congolese president of slaughtering tens of thousands of Hutus in Congo. The attacks allegedly came two years after those same troops stopped Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that killed more than half a million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus.

“The report’s allegations — of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity — are extremely serious. However, the methodology, sourcing and standard of proof used to arrive at them most certainly are not,” Ms. Mushikiwabo’s letter says.

The letter asks why the investigators spent six weeks in Congo but never came to Rwanda or asked for meetings with Rwandan officials, who were given the 545-page draft two months ago.

Investigators say they required two independent sources for each of the 600 incidents documented.

The draft says the systematic and widespread attacks “could be classified as crimes of genocide” by a competent court.

In the letter, Ms. Mushikiwabo criticizes investigators for not seeking evidence that would stand up in court. She says the report’s weakness is that its goal was “not of being satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that a violation was committed but rather having reasonable suspicion that the incident did occur.”

This, her letter says means “UN investigators employed the lowest evidentiary standard” in making such serious allegations.

She suggests that the timing of the report is being driven by people within the UN who seek to damage recently renewed diplomatic ties between Congo and Rwanda. The rapprochement between the neighboring countries has contributed to greater stability in Central Africa.

“The timing of the report only heightens these suspicions as it is being circulated on the eve of Rwanda’s presidential election and at a time when Congolese officials are calling for (the UN Mission in Congo) to close up shop,” the letter says.

Congo, which also has denied the allegations, also questioned the timing of the report, but suggested it was being used to deflect attention from UN peacekeepers’ failure to protect civilians in a recent mass gang-rape atrocity.

The Rwandan letter says “attempts to take action on this report — either through its release or leaks to the media — will force us to withdraw from Rwanda’s various commitments to the United Nations, especially in the area of peacekeeping.”

Rwanda contributes thousands of troops to peacekeeping missions in Chad, Haiti, Liberia and Sudan.

Ms. Mushikiwabo’s letter was written before the report’s leak this week. She could not be reached for comment despite numerous calls to her cell phone on Friday and Saturday and an e-mail message.

The draft report says the Rwandan troops and their Congolese rebel allies targeted Hutus and killed tens of thousands over months, the majority of whom were women, children, the sick and the elderly who posed no threat. Most were bludgeoned to death with hoes, axes and hammers.

“Upon entering a locality, they ordered the people to gather together … Once they were assembled, the civilians were bound and killed by blows of hammers or hoes to the head,” it says.

Rwanda invaded Congo in 1996, saying it was going after those who committed the genocide. Many were in refugee camps in Congo, which they used as a base for attacks on Tutsis in Congo and for cross-border raids into Rwanda. Rwandan rebels remain in Congo and have been terrorizing the population ever since.

[The Globe And Mail]

August 29, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: U.N. Congo Report Offers New View on Genocide Era

Here an article written by Howard W. French on New York Times titled
“U.N. Congo Report Offers New View on Genocide Era”.

A forthcoming United Nations report on 10 years of extraordinary violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo bluntly challenges the conventional history of events there after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, charging that invading troops from Rwanda and their rebel allies killed tens of thousands of members of the Hutu ethnic group, including many civilians.

The 545-page report on 600 of the country’s most serious reported atrocities raises the question of whether Rwanda could be found guilty of genocide against Hutu during the war in neighboring Congo, but says international courts would need to rule on individual cases.

In 1994, more than 800,000 people, predominantly members of the ethnic Tutsi group in Rwanda, were slaughtered by the Hutu. When a Tutsi-led government seized power in Rwanda, Hutu militias fled along with Hutu civilians across the border to Congo, then known as Zaire. Rwanda invaded to pursue them, aided by a Congolese rebel force the report also implicates in the massacres.

While Rwanda and Congolese rebel forces have always claimed that they attacked Hutu militias who were sheltered among civilians, the United Nations report documents deliberate reprisal attacks on civilians.

The report says that the apparently systematic nature of the massacres “suggests that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage.” It continues, “The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces.”

The existence of the United Nations document, titled Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003, was first reported by the French daily newspaper Le Monde. But participants in the drafting of the report have described its progress and difficulties over a period of seven months to The New York Times, which obtained the most recent version of the report.

The Rwandan government responded angrily to the report, calling it “outrageous.” The topic is extremely delicate for the government, which has built its legitimacy on its history of combating the genocide in Rwanda. Political figures there have been accused of perpetuating a “genocide ideology” for making claims that are similar to the report’s.

“It is immoral and unacceptable that the United Nations, an organization that failed outright to prevent genocide in Rwanda and the subsequent refugees crisis that is the direct cause for so much suffering in Congo and Rwanda, now accuses the army that stopped the genocide of committing atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Ben Rutsinga of the Office of the Government Spokesperson.

The release of the report appears to have been delayed in part over fears of the reaction of the Rwandan government, which has long enjoyed strong diplomatic support from the United States and Britain. There is concern in the United Nations that Rwanda might end its participation in peacekeeping operations in retaliation for the report.

“No one was naïve enough to think that inspecting mass graves in which Rwandan troops were involved would make Kigali happy, but we have shared the draft with them,” said a senior official at the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, which oversaw the investigation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the findings had not been officially released.

He said: “Voices have said, ‘Can’t we just delete the genocide references? Isn’t this going to cause a lot more difficulties in the region?’ But these voices have not carried the day.”

The United Nations document breaks the history of 10 years of violence in Congo into several periods. It begins with the final years of the three-decade rule of President Mobutu Sese Seko, marked by attacks on a Tutsi minority in the country’s far east, and violent raids on Rwandan territory from United Nations-administered refugee camps that housed roughly a million Hutu who had fled Rwanda after the genocide. These raids were conducted by elements of the defeated Hutu national army, and the Hutu Interahamwe militia, both principally involved in the genocide in Rwanda.

The report also covers two other time periods: the Second Congolese War, from 1998 to 2001, when the armies of eight African states vied for control of the country, and 2001 to 2003, when foreign armies partially withdrew, leaving a tentative peace. Congo continues to suffer major atrocities, including the rape of thousands of women by armed groups.

The report contains a chilling, detailed accounting of the breakup of Hutu refugee camps in eastern Zaire at the start of the war in October 1996, followed by the pursuit of hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees across the country’s vast hinterland by teams of Rwandan soldiers and their Zairean rebel surrogates, the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo. Those forces were led by Laurent Kabila, who took over as president the next year, and who was the father of Congo’s current president, Joseph Kabila.

The report presents repeated examples of times when teams of Rwandan soldiers and their Congolese rebel allies lured Hutu refugees with promises they would be repatriated to Rwanda, only to massacre them.

In one such episode, advancing Congolese rebel fighters and Rwandan troops summoned refugees to a village center, telling them they would be treated to meat from a slaughtered cow to strengthen them for their trek back to Rwanda. As the Hutu began to register their names by prefecture of origin, a whistle sounded and soldiers opened fire on them, killing between 500 and 800 refugees, the report said.

In other instances, as survivors scrambled desperately through thick rain forest in a country as large as Western Europe, extermination teams laid ambush along strategic roadways and forest paths, making no distinction between men, women and children as they killed them.

Although the report does detail attacks when there were military targets, notably at Tingi Tingi, a Hutu camp in Maniema Province, such targets are extremely rare in the report.

An element of the report that could help determine any judgment of genocide concerns the treatment of native Congolese Hutu. The report suggests they were singled out for elimination along with Hutu refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. The report asserts that there was no effort to make a distinction between militia and civilians, noting a “tendency to put all Hutu people together and ‘tar them with the same brush.’ ”

Pascal Kambale, a prominent longtime Congolese human rights lawyer who was consulted by the United Nations investigators, said: “The ex-F.A.R. fighters were said to be hiding behind the refugee populations, but the truth is that the attackers were targeting both the Rwandan Hutus and the Congolese Hutus,” referring to the Hutu-led Rwandan militia, F.A.R. in its French initials. “Entire families were killed, whole villages were burned, and in my view this remains the most heinous crime that happened during these 10 years.”

Timothy Longman, the director of the African Studies Center at Boston University, said that people in eastern Congo had long charged they were victims, too. “The reason it didn’t get more attention is that it contradicted the narrative of the Rwandan Popular Front as the ‘good group’ that stopped the genocide in Rwanda,” he said.

As early as 1997, the United Nations began investigations into reports of possible crimes against humanity involving extermination of Hutu populations by the Congolese rebel forces and their Rwandan backers, but Laurent Kabila, as president, refused access to areas where atrocities were believed to have been committed, and the investigation was abandoned. A senior United Nations official said that the investigation was given new life when three mass graves were discovered in North Kivu Province by United Nations workers in 2005.

“Yes, this is stupendously overdue,” the official said. “But Laurent Kabila had been killed, there was a peace process and a new government in place in the Congo, and I guess you could say that’s when the U.N. woke and said, ‘Hmm, we can accomplish something here.’ ”

[The New York Times]

August 28, 2010   No Comments

“Leaked UN genocide report on DR Congo has no legal value”, says Rwanda

The leaked UN report in which Rwanda is accused of possibly genocide during years of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been received “very, very, very badly in Rwanda”. The director of a Rwandan radio station told Radio Netherlands: “This UN report has no legal value whatsoever!”

By Lula Ahrens and Sophie van Leeuwen.

“All these years the UN has failed in Rwanda and in eastern Congo. And now…”, Albert Rudatsimburwa, journalist and director of the Rwandese radiostation Contact FM, says, “Rwandans haven’t been asked one single question! Only NGO’s are quoted.”

In a fierce reaction, Rwandese minister of Justice Tharcisse Karagurama called the UN-report “worthless”. “An NGO-report with no basis”, the minister told the BBC. The draft report was published by French newspaper Le Monde on Friday. It outlines the findings of the UN project ‘Mapping Justice Congo’, which was launched two years ago.

In the report, the UN High Commissioner for human rights catalogues war crimes among Rwandan Hutus in the East of DRC between 1996 and 2003. They were jointly committed by current Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s forces and the Congolese rebel group AFDL. AFDL was sponsored by Rwanda and led by Laurent Kabila, the current DRC president. Up to 100,000 Hutu’s were reportedly killed in the attacks.

Two Rwandan invasions
The report covers two Rwandan invasions in East Congo. The first was carried out in pursuit of Hutu soldiers in Congo, who aimed to wage war against the new Tutsi-led government in neighbouring Rwanda after the Rwandan civil war. This invasion led to the fall of Zaire’s dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and the presidency of Laurent Kabila.

Rwanda carried out its second invasion in 1998, after the country accused Kabila’s regime of continuing to support Hutu rebels. This invasion evolved into a large-scale, five-year regional war involving eight countries and 21 rebel groups.

Genocide

The crimes committed among this group constitute genocide if proven in court, the report states. Although the Rwandan government allowed large numbers of Hutu refugees to return to Rwanda, that did not “rule out the intention of destroying part of an ethnic group as such and thus committing a crime of genocide”.

“The extensive use of non-firearms, particularly hammers, and the systematic massacres of survivors after camps were taken prove that the number of deaths cannot be put down to the margins of war. Among the victims were mostly children, women, old and ill people”.

Blow to Rwanda
The report is perceived as a major blow to the Rwandan government, which prides itself on putting an end to the Rwandan genocide and quickly modernising the country after the war. Rwanda is a close ally of the US and Britain.

It might also prove hugely embarrassing to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon and the UN in general. The final version of the report, which according to a UN spokesperson is to be released “soon”, has reportedly been changed considerably under pressure from Rwandan president Kagame. Kagame is said to have warned Ban Ki-moon that Rwanda will otherwise pull out its peacekeeping troops in other African countries.

[Radio Netherlands Worldwide]

August 27, 2010   5 Comments

Vacant Position: Husband to first daughter Ange Kagame

by Mukiza Edwin

Ange Kagame, First daughter

The Rwandan first daughter and her brother.

Appearing for the first time in public, first daughter of Rwanda looks every bit the daughter of her mother.
Gracious and royality written all over her, this is the time for suitors to take their positions.
It won’t be easy as her Father is not the easiest of Father-in-laws one may wish for…
Imagine having the no nosense Kagame as your father-in- law!

Though that may not be the only hurdle to overcome.
Getting to her past the mean security around her is the main challenge,and that is practically impposible for the petit un-known Rwandan young man with no family connections. That disqualifies many potential suitors for good.

So that leaves the sons of the inner core circle cabal that may easily escort their fathers to state house and get the chance to introduce them selves to Ange Kagame. (as befell the Natasha’s of Uganda)
But those elite sons are known to be boring if not obese and lacking the Di-Caprio charm that we saw in the movie TITANIC.
You see God doesn’t give all, “he gave them the beef but denied them the teeth” as my friend puts it.

All in all the race has began, yours truly is happily disqualified by virtue of the un-fairness of the oath of monogamy. (An oath I would wish be repelled).
But I salute the eventual winner who will take the love of this Rwandan jewel.

Comment from Jeanne Jackson Uwimana:

She looks pretty. Who ever will take his position would be prepared to have a big shoulder on which his wife would be crying when the father in law (Kagame) will be imprisoned for life,…
Just to remind every one that Kagame kids are not involved in any crimes that their father has organised…and ordered.

[http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=449294358734&id=1245973998].

August 27, 2010   45 Comments