Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rwandan President Paul Kagame questions Euro justice

by Ann Garrison

Rwandan President Paul Kagame now questions the fairness of the International Criminal Court, and, says that most people who organized the Rwanda Genocide are outside Rwanda's borders.

On September 21, 2009, the Associated Press published "Kagame: Rwanda and Congo are making very good progress toward peace in conflict-wracked region." At first, this seemed like a standard corporate press reproduction of a U.S. State Department release championing their puppet, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and the so-called peace process that they engineered to maintain control of the vast, geostrategic resources of D.R. Congo. But then AP reporter Edith M. Lederer, quoted Kagame himself:

"Genocide in Rwanda — the causes of it are not Rwandan, are not African. The genocide has its roots somewhere else."

Lederer went on to say that:

"Without naming any individuals or countries, Kagame said most people who organized the genocide were outside Rwanda's borders, yet none have been held accountable.
. . .

The Rwandan leader questioned the fairness of the International Criminal Court, (ICC), the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, saying it is widely seen as targeting Africans, developing countries or weak countries and not dispensing justice equitably on a global basis."

(How very true, though Kagame failed to point to the ICC's recent indictment of Omar al-Bashir, the sitting head of state of Sudan, a nation hostile to U.S. and its allies' interests, with immense oil reserves now being tapped by Chinese corporations.)

Nevertheless, Kagame begins to sound very much like Africa and human rights investigator/reporter Keith Harmon Snow, who has also characterized the ICC as a court for "African fall guys," dictators, and human rights criminals who have outlived their usefulness to the U.S. and its allies, and/or, have become liabilities, because so many other Africans have testified to their crimes.

The trials of African fall guys, at the ICC in the Hague, reinforce the morality of Euro-justice, without mention of the foreign manipulations that Kagame alluded to.

It sounds as though Kagame now fears becoming another African fall guy, despite receiving Bill Clinton's Global Citizen Award, on September 24, 2009, and Reverend Rick Warren's International Medal of Peace award, on September 25, 2009.

Last year Rick Warren presented his first International Medal of Peace award to George Bush, and I don't think we should take either of Kagame's recent awards any more literally than that, or than the countless environmental stewardship awards that Exxon-Mobil, Peabody Coal, Chevron, Lafarge, ADM, Monsanto, and other multinational miscreants present to one another in year round ceremonies.

Kagame might be indirectly attempting to protect himself by protecting his partner in crime, former "General" Laurent Nkunda, who was arrested by a joint Congolese-Rwandan force on January 22, 2009. If Nkunda were brought before the ICC, he might well start talking about Kagame, and, if Kagame were brought before the ICC, he might well start talking about Bill Clinton and other members of the U.S. State Department, military, and national security apparatus.

Would anyone listen? Most likely not, but Kagame seems to be warning, "without naming individuals or countries," that, should he one day find himself on trial in the Hague, he would start "naming names and countries," "outside Rwanda's borders," who organized and benefited from the 1994 bloodbath.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Obama, Westerwelle, and Afghanistan

by Ann Garrison

Guido Westerwelle, the first openly gay leader of a mainstream German political party, and Germany's most powerful proponent of German commitment to the Afghanistan War, is all but certain to become the new German Foreign Minister, as a result of Germany's 09/27/2009 election.

Barack Obama's election, like the reign of Condoleeza Rice as George Bush's Secretary of State, and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, radically challenge the fantasy that we can expect an anti-war, anti-imperial, egalitarian, or in any way newly humane politics from an elected or appointed official simply because they are members of a traditionally oppressed social group---e.g., African Americans, women, or, African American women. And now, the first openly gay leader of a mainstream German party, Guido Westerwelle, is set, after the Sunday, 09/27/2009 election, to become Germany's next foreign minister. Westerwelle's Free Democratic Party favors nuclear power---which, in Germany, means stalling the nuclear power plant phase-out---and "Thatcherite" economic reforms. Westerwelle is also the most powerful and articulate proponent of sustained German engagement, with the U.S., in the War in Afghanistan.

See: Guido Westerwelle profile: FDP leader

The Local, Germany's News in English: Westerwelle: Germany must stay in Afghanistan

Germany's election is a blow to the Afghanistan War's opponents, as we await what most see as inevitable---Barack Obama's approval of another 40,000 pair of "boots on the ground" in Afghanistan, as requested by General Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan.

And, as Obama appeals to NATO to view the Afghanistan War as their own War on Terror.

Before the election, Global Security reported that:

1) Seventy percent of Germans were demanding immediate withdrawal from the Afghanistan War,

2) Five of six parties in the German Parliament, nevertheless, favored ongoing German engagement, and,

3) German Parliamentarians had therefore postponed the annual vote required to sustain troop support, until December, after the election.

4) European opposition to the Afghanistan War mirrored Germany's.

(Global Security: As Germany Votes, Afghanistan Gets Growing Attention.)

It's hard, from a distance, to interpret the newfound strength of the German Green and Left Parties, but the rescheduling strategy of the pro-war German political class---rescheduling the war vote until after the election---seems to have been a success.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Role of the international community in the Rwandan Genocide

A Rwandan blogger living in the Netherlands, in his last post, made me aware of a valuable paper by Alan J. Kuperman.

Alan J. Kuperman, assistant Professor of International Relations at School of Advanced International Studies John Hopkins University, Bologna Center, writes in the conclusion of this paper "Explaining the Ultimate Escalation in Rwanda: How and Why Tutsi Rebels Provoked a Retaliatory Genocide", prepared for the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in 2003:

"A revised history of the Rwandan Patriotic Front reveals how and why these Tutsi refugee rebels, by pursuing an armed challenge against Rwanda’s Hutu regime, provoked a retaliatory genocide against the state’s Tutsi populace. These findings help explain the genocide, but do not justify or excuse it. Nor can they resolve debates about the legitimacy of the RPF’s goals or its resort to military force. However, the findings do suggest that the genocide was foreseeable – and avoidable if the RPF had been willing to compromise either its aspirations or means of pursuing them. The evidence also demonstrates that the international community, by supporting the rebels’ intransigence, inadvertently helped trigger the genocidal backlash. Scholars and policymakers would be advised to heed these lessons as they attempt to avert genocide in other cases."

On in 2000 Kuperman explains his positon on the role of the international community with des Forges and Schulz of respectively Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA in which he writes:

"What my article actually states is that the leaders of such groups sometimes provoke retaliation against their own civilians in order to galvanize domestic and, especially, international support. This was a repeated tactic of the Bosnian government in its 1992-95 war, as documented by at least two U.N. commanders on the ground. More recently, this cynical tactic was copied with even greater success by the Kosovo Liberation Army. As long as the West comes to the military assistance of groups being victimized because of their own violent provocations, we risk fostering an escalation of ethnic conflict.

Thus, I offer an alternative prescription: Give less support for violent insurgencies, more incentives for gradual reform, and golden parachutes for departing authoritarian leaders in cases in which forgiving past crimes is the price of preventing future ones.

The best way to stop genocide is not military intervention after the fact but wise diplomacy that prevents genocide from starting in the first place."

Alan Kuperman's thesis has been challenged by Samantha Power, also in relation to the conflict in Sudan.

Friday, September 11, 2009

French Unions: Full investigation of French role in Gabon's elections

The FSU, Union of French Unions, demands a full investigation of the role the French government is playing before, during and after the election in Gabon:

"Les informations qui se multiplient, tant sur le déroulement de ces élections et le rôle de la France que sur cette répression, ne peuvent laisser indifférents."

Translated in English:

"The pieces of information are multiplying rapidly concerning the way in which these elections took place, the repression and the role the French government is playing can't let us indifferent "

As I wrote the day before yesterday: "The French President is under fire for his support of the Bongo family"

Dutch Government inaction in fighting extremism

Recently the Dutch minister of immigration, Albayrak, stated that she has given order to the Dutch immigration services to not comply with existing EU jurisprudence concerning returning Dutch citizens and their family members. On the basis of a statement made by the European commission she infers that suddenly European Laws should be interpreted in a new and very creative way. Where did she studied law, is the first thing that comes to mind. Or is it just a way to reach the top in the hierarchy of the Dutch Labour Party PvdA?

The right to family life is a fundamental right (European Treaty of Fundamental Rights and Liberties, article 8), which the Dutch government and justice system have chosen to disregard. The Dutch institutions consider the interpretation of this treaty open to discussion, even though consistent interpretation by European Courts made it clear that only in specific cases the entrance of family members can be denied or suspended. Regarding family-reunification the Balkenende government can be considered extreem and out of line with , even though it's actively seeking support for it's excentric position on this issue. Citizens

Balkenende himself consistently refuses to make a statement concerning the possibility of cooperation with the PVV, political party of Geert Wilders, after the next election. This is consistent with his earlier position concerning Pim Fortuyn. It is clear that right-wing extremism is on the rise since Jan Peter Balkenende has come to power in the Netherlands. A Cordon Sanitair would not work, is what the mainstream Dutch policy makers and journalists continue to say, but the fact is that right-wing extremism has become rampant and mainstream since JP came to power.

Today we learn that Guusje ter Horst, Minister of the interior, has said that she wants to tackle radicalisation of the resistance against detention and expulsion.

She stated literally: "The illegal resistance against asylum- and immigration policy have grave consequences for the victims and the society" and continues that ''for the Dutch Secret Service, AIVD, asylum related extremism is a priority because it possibly is a threat to our democratic order.''

This tough language from the Minister of the Interior stands in stark contrast with total inaction and absence of any clear policy concerning a large right-wing and discriminatory movement. Total lack of initiative concerning discrimination of minotrities in the workspace, diversity management. No sense of urgency concerning the integration of migrants inside political parties. This government lack of courage starts to become more and more apparent.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

CNDP will become a political party

UPDATE: Hundreds of ex-CNDP soldiers have deserted the FARDC, breaking the deal struck with the central Congolese government march 23, which says that the CNDP will transform into a political party.

: Two reports concerning war crimes committed by the CNDP of Laurent Nkunda, have come out yesterday. The report states that 67 arbitrary executions by the CNDP between october and december 2008, have been confirmed but that the actual number could well be much higher:

"High Commissioner Navi Pillay pointed out that the CNDP’s actions could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity and “are part of a self-perpetuating pattern of brutality in eastern DRC which continues to go largely unpunished.

“I am deeply concerned that members of the CNDP who may be implicated in these crimes – especially Bosco Ntaganda, against whom there was already an International Criminal Court arrest warrant – are either still at large, or have even been absorbed into the FARDC.”

As mentioned on wikipedia, on march 23 the CNDP has agreed to become a political party in exchange for the release of it's imprisoned members. The website of the CNDP is hosted from the US and registered under the name of Vincent Mbera. The CNDP website
"has been used to contest investigations of
CNDP abuses by the United Nations and international human rights groups. has received over 242,000 visits since its creation;
(b) The websites ( and are an important vector for CNDP ideology. They are critical tools for public relations and potentially for fund-raising. The Group considers supporting such websites as “the provision of any assistance, advice or training related to military activities, including financing” , as set out by paragraph 1 of resolution 1807."
As written in the november 2008 UN Experts reports on the Congo.

The Group has written to these companies, informing them that their
support of the sites could be considered as support to a non-governmental
Congolese armed group.

The CNDP and it's CAUSE, as comrade Sharangabo Rafagari describes it, apparently it is the same CAUSE comrade Paul Kagame had when he started his "revolution". However, the revolution part of this deal will now inevitably be limited to politics.

The mushaki pager by antoinette also keeps updates on the DRC situation in Kivu.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Erica Kabera andJoseph Sebarenzi on Kagame

This week noteworthy posts:

Eric Kabera, a Rwandan filmmaker who organized the Rwanda Film Festival writes on an Ugandan newssite: "Kagame is a tolerant leader".

Director of Umuseso, Charles Kabonero, to which Eric Kabera refers in his article, does not agree with the views expressed by Eric Kabera.

Joseph Sebarenzi, speaker of the Rwandan parliament from 1997-2000 speaks to NPR in this interview "A Seething Below Rwanda's Surface" :
But Sebarenzi has a very different view. He argues that Kagame is an autocrat who refuses to tolerate dissent in government or in the media. Although he says his political relationship with Kagame was amicable at first, it eventually deteriorated until Sebarenzi was pressured to resign as speaker, which he did.

"A few days after I resigned, I learned from many sources that there was a plan to kill me, and I decided to leave," he says. His book recounts how he hid in the bed of a truck filled with furniture to escape his bodyguards, who he suspected were Kagame's spies. He drove north until he reached the river at the border to Uganda and waded across to safety. There, he came under the protection of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and was allowed to move with his wife and children to the United States.

I also came across the book by Colin M. Waugh, which seems to be a very interesting source.

French President under fire for his support of the Bongo family

Update: Join the sit-in at the Elysée september 12 to protest against the "help of France in Gabon's election rigging" organised by the guardian angels of Africa.

Since the rigged elections in Gabon, Barack Obama ("Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.") has still not congratulated Ali Ben Bongo. The king of Maroc and the President of France, Sarkozy, have. At this critical point in time when Ali Ben Bongo's electoral victory is still not recognized by the world, Robert Bourgi, pillar of the "Françafrique" and close to Nicolas Sarkozy explains this monday how Omar Bongo, and several other African leaders, including the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, had obtained the departure of Jean-Marie Bockel, who as Secretary of State for Cooperation and "La Francophonie", had dared to criticize the "Françafrique".

Omar Bongo was particularly displeased with Jean-Marie Bockel's policies. Bourgi then contacted the French President and asked to intervene with Nicolas Sarkozy. Heir to the "dark African networks" of Jacques Foccard and unofficial adviser of Nicolas Sarkozy, Robert Bourgi, is a French lawyer of Lebanese descent.

"I went to see the president at the Elysee Palace in the presence of (Claude) Guéant (Secretary General of the Elysee) and I gave him a strong message and veiled threats from President Bongo", Bourgi said in an interview on RTL Monday. "He told me, 'Tell Omar and other leaders that Mr. Bockel will leave soon and will be replaced by one of my friends and a friend of Mr. Guéant'. He gave me the name asking me to keep it to myself, "


Indeed during a formal speech delivered on January 27 in Paris, Jean-Marie Bockel then French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophony, strongly criticized the management of oil revenues in Africa before announcing that he wanted to " sign the death certificate of Françafrique.

"One of the first barriers to the development of Africa is poor governance, squandering of public funds, neglect of administrative structures fail, the predation of certain leaders", had that day declared Bockel. "What happens to oil revenues? Why don't people receive these things? Is it right that our development assistance is allocated to countries that squander their own resources? ", He had launched to the public mainly composed of French officials in charge of the Franco-African cooperation. "I want to stop the interference of those that President Sarkozy has qualified Cotonou unofficial envoys who have no mandate".

In the reshuffle of June 23 following his speech, Jean-Marie Bockel, who also had difficulties with Bernard Kouchneur, is fired from his position and replaced by Alain Joyandet, another close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy.

Upon his appointment Alain Joyandet said in an interview with International magazine: "With the representative of the President of the Republic, we went to see Gabonese President to say that between France and Gabon, there was no problem and that our friendly relations which have existed for a long time are still relevant, we want to continue to work with Gabon as in the past. ". At "20 Rue Monsieur" the word "Françafrique" is banned.

... there are several doors in the house of the father

Thus while France is currently the subject of sharp criticism and targeted attacks since the hotly contested election for president of the son of Omar Bongo, Robert Bougi managed himself to get into the spotlights again.

At the Elysee they stress on the one hand that the Quai d'Orsay is "the only legitimate voice of France" in diplomacy. On the other hand, it continues to maintain ties with its former colonies through links that do not always go through the usual diplomatic channels. "There has always been parallel diplomacy. "There are several rooms in the house of the father," said Robert Bourgi.

Long before the Gabonese presidential election, Robert Bourgi calling Omar Bongo "Papa" declared in Le Monde: "Ali is the only candidate of the clan Bongo". "He is my candidate and I am a very influential friend of Nicolas Sarkozy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Where is Shyamlal Rajapaksa´s damning report

Pic. by Pradeep Dilrukshana

The death of Shyamlal Rajapaksa, the nephew of Sri Lanka´s President, is surrounded with mystery.

But "Lalitha Rajapaksa, mother of Shyamlal, said it was difficult to accept the UN version that her son died owing to natural causes. She said she suspected that there was more to it... 'It was known that my son was in possession of a damning report that was to shed a lot of light on the Rwandan genocide some 15 years ago. He had even made this known to his UN bosses last month,' Ms. Rajapaksa said.

'Shyamlal had been on a five-year fact-finding mission regarding the massacres in Rwanda, a task from which several others opted out because of the dangers involved. I suspect UN officials are trying to cover up something either to dodge the insurance payments or simply to save face in the international community,' she said. Ms. Rajapaksa said the truth could be found out if the investigators were able to retrieve the bombshell report that her son had."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What do we do after the latest bout of violence has been twittered, or #ushahidi-d?

Dibussi Tande asked this question in his contribution at the DCI'09 (Digital Citizen Indaba 4.0) in South Africa.

The situation in Gabon and Iran looks somewhat similar to the lost election of Al Gore to George W. Bush. Democratic grassroot frustration canalized itself through Daily kos and other social media initiatives.

Diaspora, as we see with the supporters of Pierre Mamboundou in Senegal and France, are very motivated to participate in the political process of their country of origin.

Emeka Okafor writes ,on his popular blog africaunchained, about grassroots political mobilisation in Nigeria. It seems that African bloggers are rapidly discovering the potential of new media for democratic development across the continent.

Ali Ben Bongo's thugs kill Thierry MOMBO in Gabon

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Roundtable

Peter Erlinder, UN-ICTR Lead Defence Counsel, wrote a bookreview of the book "Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals, and the Culture of Impunity by Ambassador Carla Del Ponte with Chuck Sudetic. In this review he shows that the US, through it's representative Pierre Prosper, made sure that war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front under command of Paul Kagame were not being persecuted but covered up:

"Prosper must also have long been aware of the RPF crimes that were being investigated within the Office of the Prosecutor. Rather than a discussing “cooperation,” the Rwandans demanded Del Ponte end all investigations of Kagame and the RPF. Prosper apparently went farther and asked her to turn over her investigative files to the very government she was investigating and presented Del Ponte with a “draft agreement” and intimated that she should sign on the spot. She would not. Later the same day, Prosper again approached Del Ponte and informed her that she would not be re-appointed to the Rwanda tribunal and that her mandate at the Yugoslavia tribunal would be for no more than two years. According to Del Ponte: So now, it was not just the Rwandans who were involving themselves in blackmail…I had just refused to refrain from bringing indictments against a number of Serb generals. And here I was refusing to cede the tribunal’s authority to investigate the Tutsi-dominated RPF. These prosecutions, in one way or another, involved disturbing a developing political status quo that people in the diplomatic community wanted to develop further."

Carla Del Ponte is from Switzerland and it's therefor not surprising that:
"Early in July, the Geneva Academy and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda hosted a roundtable that basically consisted of an appraisal of the work of the Tribunal. Many of the individuals who have contributed to its success were present, including the two previous prosecutors (Carla del Ponte, Hassan Jallow), defense counsel, judges and academics. Court reporters make a record of the proceedings, which are now available ...."

as Prof. William A. Schabas writes on his blog.

Currently, Prosper holds the position Of Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Arent Fox LLP, and serves as a trustee on the Boston College Board of Trustees.

April 14 2005:Rwandan President Paul Kagame greets University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and University Trustee Pierre Prosper '85 prior to giving his speech ''Rwanda an 'Oasis of Stability' at Robsham Theater. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)see original post and picture at Boston College Chronicle.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Is possibly the worst website on the internet.....

In reaction to the blogpost "Marion Grace Wooley: I can't go into detail, people are allways reading" in which I quoted a post on her blog from april 27 she removed the original article and wrote this on her website:

I will continue quoting stories you post on your blog, wherever you are on this planet, until the last blog post is removed, but in the meantime let me just grab a Carlsberg beer (probably the best beer in the world), it only can get better from now on, I guess.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Will Barack Obama congratulate Ali Ben Bongo?

Rene Aboghé Ella (see picture), Election Commission President, has not announced a winner in Gabon's Presidential election. It's the Minister of the interior of Gabon that announced the "result", which off course was that Ali Ben Bongo, son of former President Omar Bongo, had won. International media, Reuters, AP, etc etc immediately crowned Ali King by declaring him the "winner", disappointing.

New media and diaspora have been and are playing an important role in Gabon's Presidential elections so far. Online, a non partisan platform for digital activists around Gabon has been formed. Developments and rumors are tumbling over eachother in a fast pace. Pierre Mamboundou has been severely injured, two French embassies burned, American citizens are calling their embassies in fear. A tv station of Andre Mba Obame has been taken down by gunmen, ahead of the publication of the "results". The rumor goes around that Andre Mba Obame has been killed. What bothers me is the fact that many international news agencies are publishing these results with the title "Bongo wins Presidential election" while the President of the election committee CENAP has sofar refused to announce these results. I am wondering if Ali Ben Bongo will receive any congratulation telegrams in the coming hours. I am sure he is standing next to his fax hoping for the blessing from Washington DC.