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UN tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentences former Kivumu Mayor Gregoire Ndahimana to 15 years for genocide

Rwanda: former mayor guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity

Arusha, November 17, 2011 – The ICTR delivered its sentence in the case of Gregoire Ndahimana.

“The chamber … found Ndahimana guilty of genocide and extermination by aiding and abetting as well as by virtue of his command responsibility over communal police in Kivumu,” the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda said in a statement.

Ndahimana, 59, had pleaded not guilty to all charges. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail after the tribunal dismissed an additional charge of complicity in genocide.

He was mayor of Kivumu when, in April 2004, when the Nyange church was bulldozed and 2,000 Tutsis who had been seeking refuge there were killed.

The court said the scale of the operation that led to the destruction of Nyange church and the murder of thousands of Tutsis reflected a broad co-ordination by local and religious authorities.

“Though this did in no way exonerate the accused, it did, however, suggest that his participation through aiding and abetting may have resulted from duress rather than from extremism or ethnic hatred,” the court said.

 

November 17, 2011   No Comments

Rwanda to import lions and rhinos from South Africa

Kigali, Rwanda – November 17, 2011 – Rwanda will import lions and rhinos from South Africa next year after its own wildlife was decimated by poaching and conflict, a wildlife official Wednesday.

Rwanda has only one rhino in its Akagera park, while lions disappeared when refugees returning home after the 1994 genocide occupied parts of the park.

“We have began fencing the park. The work will be finished in February 2012 and after that the reintroduction of these species will be one of priorities,” tourism director Ricah Rwigamba said, without specifying how many animals will be imported.

Highly endangered mountain gorillas are currently Rwanda’s main tourist attraction and are concentrated in the Virunga massif that straddles the border between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
[Sapa-AFP]

November 17, 2011   1 Comment

Rwanda: Three journalists arrested in one week

16 November 2011 – Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrests of three journalists in the space of a week in Kigali. Two were released yesterday morning but the third one is still detained.

This series of arrests has again highlighted the extreme vulnerability of journalists in Rwanda,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call on the authorities to publicly explain why these journalists have been held, and to release the third one immediately. We also urge the government to move forward with its proposed reform of the press law, which hopefully will protect journalists from arbitrary arrest and detention.

“Ironically, these three arrests took place just as the Third Annual National Dialogue on Media was about to begin in Kigali. Organized by the Media High Council, this two-day conference is supposed to promote an environment that favours press freedom and allows the media to operate in a free, independent and professional manner.

The latest journalist to be arrested was Joseph Bideri, the editor of the New Times, a privately-owned daily that supports the ruling party. He was arrested by the Kigali police on 14 November and was freed yesterday morning.

A recent series of articles in the newspaper described a case of embezzlement in the construction of the Rukarara hydro-electric dam in the west of the country. A report about Bideri’s arrest was posted on the New Times website yesterday morning and was then quickly removed.

Jean Gualbert Burasa, the editor of the independent bimonthly Rushyashya, was arrested by the Kigali police on 11 November. According to the police, he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. But his arrest may have been prompted by the publication of an article about the desecration of former social affairs minister Christine Nyatanyi’s grave. The journalist was freed on 15 November.

The third journalist is René Anthère Rwanyange, who has also been held since last week. The police say he was arrested for the theft of a laptop computer but he has not yet been charged.

November 17, 2011   2 Comments

Rwandan Genocide Survivor Clemantine Wamariya To Sit On Holocaust Museum Board

Clementine Wamariya - appointed to Holocaust Museum Board

Clemantine Wamariya – appointed to Holocaust Museum Board by President Obama – Nov 2011.

November 17, 2011 – President Obama has appointed Rwandan refugee Clemantine Wamariya to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

Wamariya survived the Rwandan genocide. She is now an American citizen, studying at Yale University. She is 23 years old and is the youngest person ever and the first born in Africa to be appointed to the Board.

Clemantine Wamariya was six-years-old when the genocide started in her native Rwanda. She lost many members of her family. Miraculously she and her sixteen-year-old sister, Claire, managed to survive but they were separated from their parents. Clemantine and Claire came to the United States in 2000, and Clemantine settled with a family in the Chicago area. In May 2006, the sisters were reunited with their parents for the first time in 12 years on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Today Clemantine attends Yale University. She is also an active advocate for human rights, including amongst her fellow students, and frequently accompanies high-school and university groups to Rwanda to raise awareness on the genocide and its consequences.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20111117-clementine-wamariya-story.mp3″ text=”Listen to Clemantine Wamariya talking to Renee Montagne about surviving the Rwandan genocide.” dl=”0″]

November 17, 2011   3 Comments

Understanding why Paul Rusesabagina was a Hero during Rwandan Genocide – Lantos 2011 Award Videos

Watch these Lantos 2011 Award Videos to understand why Paul Rusesabagina was awarded the Lantos Human Rights Prize 2011.

Paul Rusesabagina’s heroic efforts to shelter those in harm’s way changed the life stories of more than 1,200 Rwandans.
– Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

In the midst of unimaginable darkness, there is always room for a hero. Albeit reluctantly, Rusesabagina earned that distinction during the Rwandan Genocide. Using his position as manager of the Hôtel des Mille Collines, this self-described “ordinary man” used every stratagem and connection he could muster to shelter desperate refugees at his hotel, protecting them from the brutal slaughter occurring just outside the gates. What began as a quest to protect his family and a handful of neighbors quickly snowballed into a three-month ordeal that saved the lives of more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutus.
– Katrina Lantos Swett.

[Lantos Foundation]

Related:

November 17, 2011   1 Comment

Lantos Prize 2011 awarded to Rwandan Hero Paul Rusesabagina

Paul Rusesabagina awarded Lantos Human Rights Prize 2011

Paul Rusesabagina awarded Lantos Human Rights Prize 2011

Yesterday 16 November 2011 in Washington, DC, Paul Rusesabagina was awarded the 2011 Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice Human Rights Prize.

Lantos Human Rights Prize

In an effort to draw attention to human rights violations across the globe and to alert the media and governments to the importance of making human rights a priority on equal footing with other policy decisions, the Lantos Human Rights Prize is awarded annually to raise awareness about human rights violations and the individuals committed to fighting them throughout the world.

Paul Rusesabagina: Recipient for 2011

“We are so proud to award this year’s Lantos Prize to Paul Rusesabagina. I was raised on the idea that we are all our brothers keepers’, and Paul is the living embodiment of that idea. My father, Congressman Tom Lantos, survived the Holocaust in one of Raoul Wallenberg’s safehouses and understood all too well that the actions of one man can change the arc of one’s life story. Nearly 50 years later, Paul Rusesabagina’s heroic efforts to shelter those in harm’s way changed the life stories of more than 1,200 Rwandans. We look forward to honoring his historic humanitarian actions.” – Katrina Lantos Swett

Related:
Rwandan Hero Paul Rusesabagina Deserves The Lantos Human Rights Prize

November 17, 2011   1 Comment

Rwandan Hero Paul Rusesabagina Deserves The Lantos Human Rights Prize

By Katrina Lantos Swett

In Darkness, There Is Always Room for a Hero

In the last line of the 2004 Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda,” the Paul Rusesabagina character says, “There’s always room.” With those simple words, he summed up the remarkable story of his quietly heroic efforts to save more than 1,200 Tutsis and moderate Hutus marked for death during the 1994 Rwandan genocide that took almost a million lives.

As we prepare to award the 2011 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize, we see these words as expressing the fundamental human decency that lit the path of humanitarian heroes like my father, the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.); Raoul Wallenberg, the hero of the Holocaust; and, of course, this year’s prize nominee, Rusesabagina.

Nobel Laureate and Lantos Prize honoree Elie Wiesel has written, “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must, at that moment, become the center of the universe.”

Seventeen years ago, when Rwanda desperately needed to be the center of the universe, the world turned away. But Rusesabagina did not turn away from those who sought his help. Instead, he made room for them.

In the midst of unimaginable darkness, there is always room for a hero. Albeit reluctantly, Rusesabagina earned that distinction during the Rwandan Genocide. Using his position as manager of the Hôtel des Mille Collines, this self-described “ordinary man” used every stratagem and connection he could muster to shelter desperate refugees at his hotel, protecting them from the brutal slaughter occurring just outside the gates. What began as a quest to protect his family and a handful of neighbors quickly snowballed into a three-month ordeal that saved the lives of more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutus.

My family knows something about the courage it takes to provide shelter in a time of great turmoil and danger. My father was saved during the Holocaust by just such an act of bravery; he was able to survive the last brutal days of World War II in a “safe house” run by Wallenberg, a young Swedish diplomat. Heroes such as Wallenberg and Rusesabagina audaciously lived the idea that we are all our brother’s keepers, risking their own lives to protect strangers simply because it was the right thing to do.

Tragically, Wallenberg was rewarded for his heroism with imprisonment in the Soviet Gulag where he died before the efforts of his family and grateful survivors could succeed in freeing him. Unfortunately, Rusesabagina, like Wallenberg and many others throughout history, has learned the hard way that there is often suspicion when it comes to one’s heroism. As he has sought to promote democracy and a truth and reconciliation process in Rwanda, he has been subjected to bitter attacks on his character and his motives.

Despite the significant progress that has been made in Rwanda under President Paul Kagame, many deep-rooted tensions along ethnic lines remain. If this mutual suspicion is not addressed, it could pose an ongoing risk to the people of the region.

At the Lantos Foundation, we strongly believe there is always room for dialogue. It was one of the things my father did best. We think Rusesabagina’s call for dialogue is the right prescription for his native country, and we hope for a robust and respectful conversation between all those who are working for a better future for Rwanda.

The Lantos Prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization that best exemplifies our foundation’s mission, namely to be a vital voice standing up for the values of decency, dignity, freedom and justice in every corner of the world.

In our humble opinion, Rusesabagina has been a very vital voice, and there is always room for another one of those.

Katrina Lantos Swett is president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, which she established in 2008 to carry on the work of her father, the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.).

[Roll Call]

November 17, 2011   No Comments

Let’s rebuild our Rwanda together

by Theogene Rudasingwa

God has given us an amazingly beautiful country, and inherently good people who are prone to do destructive things. We are trying to rebuild our Father’s house that is currently hurting.
First, we have to agree on the PLAN of the house. Every one is invited to make a contribution on the vision of a Rwanda we have for the future.

Second, we have to BUILD the house together, from each according to his/her ability.

Third, we have to LIVE in the house, all of us, the good and the bad.

Fourth, we have to agree on the RULES to guide all of us to live in this house without being a danger to each other and to our neighbours. Everyone must be equal before the rules, even the rulers!

Last, but not least, together we have to PROTECT our house, just in case we are tempted to destroy it again, as we have done in the past till now.

Rwandan territory is small. But Rwanda is more than physical territory. If Rwandans can have big hearts and big ideas, there is enough room for all of us (Hutu, Tutsi ,Twa), now and forever. The job of rebuilding Rwanda will never be perfect, nor will it ever be completely finished. Each generation must do its part. But LET US BEGIN NOW.

November 17, 2011   No Comments