Rwanda still worried about toned down UN report on Rwanda-led genocide of Hutus in DR Congo
Kigali – October 01 2010 is Patriotism Day in Rwanda coinciding with the release of the contested final UN report alleging Rwandan troops committed “Genocide” in Congo. Kigali says the $3 million report is an “insult to history”.
Though the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was scheduled to publish the final report Friday, it has also already leaked – like the draft copy which RNA has both in both English and French. The final copy obtained by The Associated Press shows that 545-page document has been rewritten to tone down the inflammatory language which was in the draft.
For instance, an earlier reference to “damning elements” that could be used by a court to conclude that genocide took place has been changed to “inculpatory elements.”
Another section elaborates at length – compared with the earlier draft – on a number of “countervailing factors” that could be used to argue that such a crime didn’t take place. A draft section that dismissed mitigating arguments was dropped entirely.
However, the word “Genocide” was not removed from the final version. The 34-member team which made the report says the crimes committed could amount to ‘Genocide’ if proven in a competent judicial instance.
Following fierce protests from Rwanda, it was asked along with the other countries mentioned in the report to file written responses which would be published within the final report. On Thursday night, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo released a statement reaffirming Rwanda’s dislike of even the final document.
“Despite the media’s focus on sensational aspects of the leaked draft, Rwanda categorically states that the document is flawed and dangerous from start to finish,” Mushikiwabo said.
“Our comments to the UN today centre around seven specific areas of objection that clearly demonstrate how the Mapping Exercise has been a moral and intellectual failure – as well as an insult to history”.
Mushikiwabo accused the UN of “rewriting history” and “improperly apportioning blame for the genocide that occurred in Rwanda”.
The government statement also renewed its accusations that the UN had done little or nothing to move “armed and ideologically charged refugees” away from the Rwandan border.
It said the draft report failed to make clear that “genocidal forces, often posing as civilian refugees, were operating under the cover of UN refugee camps”.
Kigali said the UN draft report applied “the lowest imaginable evidentiary standard” and accused it of over-reliance on the use of anonymous sources, hearsay assertions and “unnamed, un-vetted and unidentified investigators and witnesses”.
The statement said “claims of genocide are directly contradicted by Rwanda’s extensive and coordinated efforts to repatriate, resettle and reintegrate 3.2 million Hutu refugees”.
“Given these objections, it seems clear that no amount of tinkering can resuscitate the credibility of this fundamentally misguided process,” Mushikiwabo said.
When the leaked document was out, Mushikiwabo said Rwandan troops on UN peacekeeping missions such as Sudan will immediately pack and return home in protest. UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon hurried to Kigali and held discussions with President Kagame.
Last week, after more meetings in New York, President Kagame announced the withdrawal of his troops was now “not on the table”. But he indicated that action will be taken if the final report is submitted to a court.
United Nations officials told The New York Times that Rwanda has agreed not to withdraw the peacekeepers, and in exchange, officials said, the United Nations will not immediately refer the Congo report for judicial action.
Mushikiwabo said the $3 million report, which details more than 600 incidents between 1993 and 2003 in which tens of thousands of people – mostly women and children – were killed, ignored the historical situation and relied overly on questionable sources.
Back in Rwanda, October 01 – Patriotism Day is not a national holiday but several programs have been organized on state TV and radio. Prime Minister Bernard Makuza spoke for hours at a press conference condemning the opposition as not patriotic.