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Publication of UN report on genocide against Hutus committed by Rwanda Forces in DR Congo delayed til Oct. 1.

The United Nations is delaying publication of its report on genocide against Hutus in DR Congo until Oct. 1 to give concerned states a chance to comment, the U.N. said on Thursday.

The report had been expected to be published this week. A leaked draft said Rwandan troops may have committed genocide in Congo, a charge rejected by the government of President Paul Kagame.

Following requests, we have decided to give concerned states a further month to comment on the draft and I have offered to publish any comments alongside the report itself on 1 October, if they so wish,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.

Her spokesman Rupert Colville declined to say whether Rwanda was among the states seeking to comment on the report. The draft of the report covers some 600 serious crimes committed by various forces in the former Zaire during the period 1993-2003.

Rwanda said on Tuesday that it was considering pulling out all its troops from U.N. peacekeeping missions, starting with Darfur, following the leaked report.

September 2, 2010   5 Comments

Rwanda goes wild in attacking UN for funding the Genocide report

Kofi-annan

Kofi Annan
Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and
Nobel Prize in Peace 2001.

Rwandan Government on Tuesday agressively attacked the ex-UN chief Kofi Annan for funding the report which alleges Rwandan forces killed Hutus in DRC. Psychologists will hopefully tell us what they think!

Kigali: Ex-UN Secretary General, Nobel Prize in Peace 2001 Kofi Annan, and the UN Human Rights Commission came under fierce scrutiny Tuesday as government claimed they have deliberately continued to “diminish” the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

As we know from the UN Human Rights Commission, this report started under [Kofi Annan],” said Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ARI-RNA]

September 2, 2010   7 Comments

Is the genocide story changing in Rwanda?

by Eleneus Akanga.

Some things, you just can’t buy. You either have them in abundance or they are scarce and rare. Their abundance often scams recipients into comfort zones where everything is assumed constant until that time when supply becomes skewed.

Then, we start reacting differently. Some people blame their handlers while others choose to place all the blame on others. Yes, others because it is easier to blame someone else than take full responsibility ourselves.

Most Rwandese of my age have grown up to the story that 16 years ago, their countrymen took to the streets and villages killing fellow countrymen on a scale never witnessed anywhere in the world. In what we have known as the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Rwanda is said to have lost close to 1,000,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus when the Interahamwe militia went on rampage. And that it was the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPF) under current president Paul Kagame who brought this sad chapter to an end by taking over Kigali in July 1994.

President Paul Kagame has built his reputation on this very fact and his government has been systematic as they have been consistent, in pressing forward this version of the story. With ending the genocide under his belt, President Kagame has seen his image soar and has rightfully won a host of accolades for his overall performance as Rwanda’s head of state.

Many around the world including former US president Bill Clinton were not shy to refer to him as one of the best leaders Africa has seen. He was on all accounts, a man of great integrity, so highly regarded across the globe that 8 months ago, any criticism of his style of leadership or version of events –as happened in 1994 – was bound to be viewed as nothing but a disgruntled naysayer.

Just last month, President Kagame’s government came under heavy criticism for stifling free speech when it suspended two local newspapers Umuvugizi and Umuseso in the run-up to presidential elections. Then as the world opened their eyes up for the apparent lack of democracy in a country that had a couple of months earlier suspended and refused a visa to a Human Rights Watch researcher for a discrepancy in visa documents, Rwanda refused to register the country’s only genuine opposition parties in FDU-Inkingi and Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.

The coincidental shooting of Jean Leonard Rugambage the Umuvugizi editor whose publication happened at the time to be investigating the suspected assassination of Lt. Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former army Chief of Staff in a foreign country and the murder of Andrew Kagwa Rwisereka, the vice chairman of the Greens did not help matters. Kigali and Kagame came under the spotlight.

But as bad press (or the truth) depending on how you look at it continued to come in, Kagame and his men tirelessly worked on his re-election. He pulled crowds each day on campaign rallies and as expected won comfortably with over 93 percent of the vote, giving him another seven year term.

For some time, the Rwandan story as told by the RPF and Kagame has stood unchallenged as we know it. Those who have dared question the official story have either been charged under the genocide law for negationism and genocide denial as with Victoire Ingabire, Bernard Ntaganda and a host of opposition party supporters arrested during a demonstration. American law Prof. Peter Erlinder had to endure a spell in a Kigali jail for expressing his opinions on what he thinks the Rwandan story should be.

But if the events in Rwanda in the run up to, during and after the elections have not provided the current government with something to really think about, the revelation that the national army may have committed crimes tantamount to genocide against Hutus in Congo will surely give everyone in government something to help argue.

A leaked report from the UN high commissioner for human rights says that after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Tutsi-led Rwandan troops and their rebel allies killed tens of thousands of members of the Hutu ethnic group inside the Congo.

If this is true, it brings into fore a hitherto untold version of the Rwandan story. It would appear that a government whose image has been created on bringing an end to the Rwandan genocide is the same government whose forces committed yet another.

According to the leaked report, “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 report goes on to say the crimes committed by Rwandan forces amount to “crimes against humanity, war crimes, or even genocide.”

It is the heaviest ever statement ever written against the Rwandan government. We all remember how Kigali reacted three years ago when French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere issued arrest warrants for members of the Rwandan government; we remember too how the same government reacted when a Spanish judge accused Kagame and his men of atrocities. To think that Rwanda will let this go without a proper fight is akin to forgetting so easily, for if there is anything Kagame is so afraid of at this moment in time, it is a damning report showing or even suggesting complicity in an atrocity he has so effectively used against his enemies both real and purported.

Honey Moon Over?

Rwanda has long claimed it attacked Hutu camps in eastern Congo to pursue those responsible for the killings of over 800,000 Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide. But the report marks the first time the UN has accused Rwandan forces of deliberately attacking the tens of thousands of Hutu civilians who also had fled. For some time, Rwanda has received good coverage and good press from most western countries partly because Kagame was seen as a good chap to work with. Secondly the guilt of forsaking Rwanda in 1994 when she needed the international community’s help has curtailed the West’s moral ability to criticise the guy who is known largely for stopping the genocide.

No wonder Kigali was quick to dismiss the report. The country has threatened too, to withdraw any of its servicemen from UN peacekeeping missions if the report is published. Why threaten if you know you have nothing to do with what is alleged in the report?
Either way, withdrawing troops would serve as testament that Rwanda is doing the right thing; there obviously would be no moral right for a country whose forces are genocide perpetrators to then go ahead keeping peace. Maintaining deployed troops in their designated locations will also bring into question whether accused troops should really continue in positions where they are paid for by an organisation in whose report they stand accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Way Out

I was speaking to one of the officials in Kigali yesterday and he seemed to agree that this is a very damning report. He however contends that it might help bring to into line, the possibility if there ever was, of the ruling RPF (majority of which are Tutsis) to sit down with Hutu representatives for an open debate that will seek to establish what actually happened.

He did not want to add any more voices to this assertion just like he asked me not to even think of quoting him. But even with such an open debate, the atrocities committed in Congo if proven to be true and linked to the Rwandan forces would call not only for open debates but successful convictions at the Hague.

I have even had my old friends in Kigali trash the report and instead heap the blame on the UN for in the first place; failing to pass UN Resolution 1706 that would have seen the organisation send more troops to Rwanda. It is one of those very old classic colonial thoughts where we Africans tend to easily refuse to accept responsibility and instead shift the blame to others. For, the question is not why the UN failed to send more troops but whether as a nation whose people had lived together and spoke the same language, we should have been involved in the kind of savagery that we found ourselves into before, during and now, after the genocide?

Over to you my little monsters…

Eleneus Akanga is editor of the London Despatch.

September 2, 2010   2 Comments

Rwanda Crisis Could Expose U.S. Role in Congo Genocide

by Glen Ford.

kagame_genocidaire-sm

Genocidaire Kagame
Kagame’s mentors and funders… must be held equally accountable.

Left writers have been reporting for years that U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda bear primary responsibility for the deaths of as many as six million Congolese. Now a leaked United Nations report has confirmed that Rwanda’s crimes in Congo may rise to the level of genocide, since President Paul Kagame’s forces killed Hutu elderly, children and women without regard to nationality. Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s “mentors and funders in the U.S. government…must be held equally accountable.”

Millions died while Washington’s allies occupied and looted the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

A leaked United Nations report documenting Rwandan atrocities that “could be classified as crimes of genocide” in the eastern Congo has created a political crisis that threatens to disrupt Washington’s plans to dominate the continent. Rwanda’s minority Tutsi regime – a close American client that acts as a mercenary for U.S. interests in Africa, along with Uganda – threatens to withdraw its soldiers from United Nations “peace-keeping” missions if the report is not suppressed. The UN missions in Chad, Haiti, Liberia and Sudan are actually extensions of United States foreign policy, just as Ugandan and Burundian troops prop up the U.S.-backed “government” in Somalia under the guise of “African Union” forces.

The Rwanda crisis threatens to reveal the United States’ role as enabler in the deaths of as many as six million people while Washington’s allies occupied and looted the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo. At stake is not only the reputation of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, an alumnus of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, but the larger American strategy for militarization of Africa and exploitation of her riches.

The 545-page report details crimes committed in Congo by the Rwandan military and its allies between March, 1993, and June, 2003, and reinforces long-standing charges that Kagame’s forces were also aggressors and mass murderers during the Rwandan mass killings of 1994. When Kagame’s Tutsi rebels – previously based in Uganda – gained control of Rwanda after 100 days of fighting and ethnic cleansing, they pursued more than a million Hutu refugees into neighboring Congo. There, they hunted down and killed untold thousands of old men, women and children in 600 documented incidents that are, at the least, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report’s authors clearly believe the Tutsis engaged in outright genocide – the purposeful eradication of a people – since Kagame’s men made no distinction between Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus; they killed them all. Congolese Tutsis and kinsmen from Burundi joined Kagame’s Rwandan Tutsis in the mass murder – confirming the racial or ethnic nature of the slaughter.

Kagame’s men made no distinction between Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus; they killed them all.”

The Tutsi Rwandan military stayed in eastern Congo to exploit the rare minerals of the region, employing slave labor and selling the booty to multinational corporations. They were joined by the Ugandan military, who also set themselves up as soldier/entrepreneurs on Congolese soil. The Rwandans and Ugandans remain in the region, uniformed African gangsters in league with Euro-American corporations in a killing ground that has swallowed up possibly six million Congolese. Some estimate Congolese “excess deaths” in areas controlled by Rwanda, alone, at three and a half million. Their blood and stolen heritage has made Kigali, the Rwandan capital, a bustling beacon of capitalist enterprise – a “free market” success story.

Carnage on such a scale could not have occurred were it not for the connivance of the United States, which has nurtured Kagame at every juncture. After training him for major operational command, the U.S. funded Kagame’s rebels through its Ugandan client, President Yoweri Museveni. When Kagame’s rebels invaded Rwanda, some of them still dressed in Ugandan uniforms, the Americans dismissed the Hutu president’s complaints. When the plane carrying the Hutu president and his Burundian counterpart was shot down by a missile – almost certainly by Kagame’s men – and mass killing broke out, the US. forced the United Nations to withdraw from the country – a move that could only have been of advantage to Kagame’s well-trained and armed forces, which quickly conquered all of Rwanda. When United Nations reports showed Kagame was killing 10,000 Hutus a month inside Rwanda, even after the opposition had collapsed or fled, the United States halted an investigation. Then Kagame’s men swarmed into Congo, and the larger genocide began.

Carnage on such a scale could not have occurred were it not for the connivance of the United States, which has nurtured Kagame at every juncture.”

The leaked UN report cannot be put back in the bottle. Kagame, who labels all critics “genocidaires” or apologists for genocide, is exposed as “the greatest mass killer on the face of the earth, today,” as described by Edward S. Herman, co-author of The Politics of Genocide. Kagame’s mentors and funders in the U.S. government, who aided and abetted his genocide in Congo, must be held equally accountable – if not more so, since United States corporations derive the greatest benefit from Congo’s blood minerals, and the U.S. military gains the most advantage from Rwandan and Ugandan services as mercenaries at America’s beck and call in Africa.

It would be great if Kagame pitched a pathological fit and made good on his threat to withdraw his soldiers from Haiti, Chad, Liberia and Sudan. But that would seriously inconvenience the United States, whose interests the UN “peacekeeping” missions serve. Kagame has no problem killing Hutus by the millions in Congo, but he will not dare upset the superpower to which he owes his bloody career.

Glen Ford is BAR executive editor. He can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

[Black Agenda Report]

September 2, 2010   7 Comments

Rwanda’s backer UK complicit in bankrolling Congo conflict

by Dr Alexander Betts.

As the Guardian reported last week, a 600-page report by the UN high commissioner for human rights was leaked, documenting the role of Rwanda in possible genocide in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s (Leaked UN report accuses Rwanda of possible genocide in Congo, 27 August). This has seismic implications for British foreign and development policy towards Rwanda, which the present government needs to take extremely seriously.

Since the 1990s the Paul Kagame regime has represented itself as the progressive and modernising “Singapore of Africa”, courting international support and legitimacy in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Yet, alongside the suppression of human rights domestically, it has continued to play a direct and indirect military role in North Kivu, both in pursuit of Hutus who fled Rwanda in 1994 and natural resources that have bankrolled Rwanda’s “economic miracle”.
All the while, the British government has continued to unquestioningly back Kagame, being Rwanda’s largest source of overseas development aid. It has failed to recognise the complicity of Britain in effectively bankrolling a conflict in the Congo that has lead to millions of deaths.

The argument is simple:

1) More people have died in the conflict in the eastern Congo than in any war since the second world war;

2) The UN report provides evidence that Rwanda and Paul Kagame are directly and inextricably implicated, not only in fuelling that conflict, but in possibly carrying out the most serious crime in international human rights and humanitarian law – genocide;

3) The UK – its taxpayers and voters – are Kagame and Rwanda’s biggest international supporters, largely unconditionally, and David Cameron and his colleagues continue to take annual Conservative party summer holidays to promote Rwanda’s international reputation.

Dr Alexander Betts
University of Oxford

[Guardian]

September 2, 2010   2 Comments