Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crimes against humanity and Hutu

Skulls of victims of one of the massacres during the 1994 Rwandan genocide displayed at the Genocide Memorial Site church of Ntarama in Nyamata, Rwanda.

On 01.20.2010, I published "Rwanda's 1994 genocide and 2010 elections," a Digital Journal report on Victoire Ingabiré Imuhoza's return to Rwanda, from 16 years in exile, to run as the FDU-Inkingi's presidential candidate in Rwanda's 2010 presidential elections.  And, on the immediate outcry, in state run Rwandan media, including calls to prosecute and arrest Mrs. Ingabire for challenging the received history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

On 01.23.2009, Mrs. Ingabire and the FDU-Inkingi Party issued a release calling the outcry a "cynical media lynching."

On 01.24.2010, I received this letter from Dr. Peter Erlinder, Lead Defense Council at the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR):

"Ms. Garrison,

Thanks for the article. As Lead Defense Council at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), I have had a chance to closely examine the violence associated with the RPF takeover of Rwanda, and have concluded that the "victors" have told the story of the 4-year war, and its aftermath.

During the past 7 years the Prosecutor at the ICTR, with the help of the Kagame government, US and UK have been unable to marshall evidence that the former military or government planned or conspired to kill civilians, much less Tutsi civilians.

In Feb 2009, the Judgment in the Military I (Bagosora) case found that NONE of the top four officers (including Bagosora) were guilty of conspiracy before or after the assassination of President Habyarimana.

In Feb 2009, the former ICTR Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte admitted in her memoirs that she had been ordered to bury evidence of RPF crimes, including Kagame's assassination of Habyarimana which had been known to her office in the U.S. State Dept.

'The Great Rwanda Genocide-Coverup' is beginning to unravel....but the US, as you note, is deeply invested in maintaining a Prussian-style military presence in Central Africa. I have posted several articles and the - Rwanda Documents Project - has many of the contemporaneous confirming documents.  -Dr. Peter Erlinder"

Dr. Erlinger and I then exchanged contact information, and spoke at some length over the phone, after which I read his essay, "The Great Rwanda Genocide Coverup" on the Global Research website.  

Neither Dr. Erlinger nor Mrs. Ingabiré deny that genocidal mass murder occurred in Rwanda in 1994.   They dispute only the one-sided history, in which former Hutu government and military are said to have conspired to commit genocide against Tutsis, and in which only Tutsis, not Hutus, were mass murdered.

"On February 9, 2009, the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda issued its written judgment that the top four Hutu military officers were not guilty of conspiring to commit genocide against the Tutsi in 1994," says Dr. Erlinger.

"If a reporter had been there throughout the trial and seen this unfold, they would have understood that the prosecution had been unable to prove the central, received narrative of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, which is that the Hutu military conspired, with elements of the government, to commit genocide against the Tutsi.  The U.S., the UN, and the Rwandan Government did everything they could to prove the charges, but they could not." 

However, by the time the received history of the Rwanda Genocide was finally refuted last year, Rwanda's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front Party had already made it sacrosanct, and vaguely criminalized divergent histories, in Articles 13 and 33 of the 2003 Rwandan Constitution:

Article 13
The crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes do not have a period of limitation.
Revisionism, negationism and trivialisation of genocide are punishable by the law.

Article 33
Freedom of thought, opinion, conscience, religion, worship and the public manifestation thereof is guaranteed by the State in accordance with conditions determined by law.

Propagation of ethnic, regional, racial or discrimination or any other form of division is punishable by law.

Members of the RPF are calling for the prosecution and incarceration of FDU-Inkingi leader Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza for "revisionism," because she dared say that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed against Rwandan Hutus  

However, unlike the Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu, in his indictment of 40 of Paul Kagame's top officers, Mrs. Ingabiré has not used the word "genocide" with regard to crimes against the Hutu, only "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity."

Rwandans both inside and outside her FDU-Inkingi Party marvel that Mrs. Ingabiré remains alive and free in Rwanda, and still speaking out, one week after returning to say what so many Rwandans think of every day but fear to say out loud.   

"Something has changed," says J. Nepo Manirarora, the FDU-Inkingi's Representative in the United States.  "Anyone who said what Mrs. Ingabiré said, up until now, would have disappeared, never to be seen again."

Manirarora believes that international attention, possibly pressure, must be keeping her safe, for now.

Pressure from who, where, why, and to what end?  Manirarora doesn't know, but says "probably the U.S. and the UK, because they have power and influence in Rwanda."

On the morning of 01.21.2009, Mrs. Ingabiré met with Mr Jolke Oppewal, Head of the Development Cooperation at the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali, and then went on to meet the British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Nicholas Cannon. 

Something seems to have changed in Rwanda.  It may be at last possible to speak of crimes against humanity and Hutu.

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