Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hirsch Ballin's " Realpolitik"

The NRC published an article by Koert Lindijer  on Pierre-Claver K april 24th which is a collection of unsubstantiated allegations, mostly Koert's own little view of reality. April 27th Pierre-Claver K reacted in the same newspaper. Koert Lindijer over the years has portrayed himself as the Dutch pope on how we should view Rwanda, Congo and other parts of Africa. It seems likely that politicians in Dutch parliament base their views concerning Rwanda on these kind of articles, thinking it might be the safe thing to do. Lindijer's articles are, at the least, a good contextualisation of Hirsch Ballin's current visit to Rwanda.

Edmund Kagire writes :
"Netherlands — Authorities in the Netherlands yesterday arrested a woman in a village south of the country on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Yvonne Ntacyobatabara, 63, married to Augustin Basebya is said to have led a group of militias who killed Tutsis in Gikondo, Nyenyeri area in the Genocide. She was a member of the extremist political party, Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR).Ntacyobatabara was sentenced in absentia to life by a Gacaca Court in Gikondo. She moved to the Netherlands in 1998 to reunite with her family and has held Dutch citizenship since 2004."
 Hirsch Ballin, Dutch Justice Minister apparently thinks it's necessary to "coincidentally" arrest this Rwandan lady with a Dutch passport during his visit to Rwanda. Allthough the Dutch government continuously suggests it does not want to get involved in Rwandan politics, the timing of the visit and the context of the arrest are obviously aiming to stress that the current Dutch Government wants to be good friends with Paul Kagame, who is expected to "win" the next elections.The following statement shows the context of Yvonne Ntacyobatabara arrest:
"The Kingdom of Netherlands and the Government of Rwanda have embarked on a process that will eventually see the two countries sign an extradition treaty. Once signed, Genocide fugitives, who had found a safe haven in the Netherlands, will be extradited to Rwanda. This was revealed by the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, and his Dutch counterpart, Dr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin, during a press conference on Saturday."

Since having been forced to suspend budgetsupport in 2009 based on a UN report (the Minister of development cooperation didn't have another option), the Dutch government has been saying very nice things about Paul Kagame, in order to restore the relationship.  In order to do this the President of the foreign affairs committee, Henk Jan Ormel (CDA just as Hirsch Ballin), arranged a visit to Rwanda in january 2010 and said the following:
"The Netherlands are an important donor, so this decision had quite some impact. I can understand that Rwandese people are angry about that, and they rightly confronted us with that. We had a lot of talks and I’ve come to understand that next time, in a similar situation, it’s much better to travel to the country concerned and take enough time to hear both sides of the story.”
And after having tea with the Rwandan President he said:

"In just this hour and a half, it became obvious that president Kagame is one of the main African leaders of the moment. He’s a promoter of a green economy, he wants to modernise the country, unify people. And that, I think, is indeed the only way forward for Rwanda.”
It's great to go after those who have perpetrated crimes and genocide in the Great Lakes Region, but what we see here is  a political calculation based on the (desired) outcome of the august elections in Rwanda. Hirsch Ballin's couldn't wait till september to visit Rwanda, after elections had taken place. Hirsch Ballin had  to arrest Yvonne Ntacyobatabara during his visit  to symbolize the restored ties with Rwanda.

1 comment:

ColoredOpinions said...


Genocide suspects in Netherlands include Maj. Pierre-Claver Karangwa and Ms. Yvonne Ntacyobatabara, Mr. Charles Ndereyehe Ntahontuye, Mr. Venant Rutunga and Mr. Jean Baptiste Nyabusore