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» 28.06.2010 - Arrests follow Rwanda editor's killing
» 22.04.2010 - Rwanda opposition leader conditionally released
» 02.03.2010 - Former Rwandan first lady arrested
» 26.02.2010 - Rwandan officer sentenced to 25 years
» 04.02.2010 - Rwandan politician attacked
» 11.01.2010 - Hutu extremists plotted Habyarimana’s assassination - Report
» 17.12.2009 - Rwanda tribunal mandate extended to 2012

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Society | Human rights

UN report "revisionist" on Rwanda genocide

Ceremony at Kigali Memorial Centre, commemorating the victims of Rwanda's 1994 genocide

© PolishMFA/afrol News
afrol News, opinion, 5 November
- A recent UN report looking into Rwandan war crimes in Congo Kinshasa (DRC) legitimises a "double genocide theory", confusing victims and perpetuators to the Rwandan genocide, according to Fulvio Beltrami in Kampala.

Fulvio Beltrami, an Italian residing in the Great Lakes Region since 1993, reacts to the International Crisis Group (ICG) report urging the UN Security Council to react against Rwanda after a recent UN report concluded on wide-spread war crimes committed by Rwandan forces in Congo (DRC) between 1993 and 2003:

The UN released report on crimes committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003 is based on investigations done between October 2008 and June 2009 by 33 UN employees and Human Rights Congolese and international experts (between them some ICG experts, according humanitarian aid workers based in eastern DRC).

Personally, I think the methodology of the investigation is too weak when it comes to impartiality. It also seems to be obfuscated or corrupted by regional and international actors, who since August 1994 have been promoting several revisionist theories about the Rwandan Genocide.

Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi armies have surely committed actions against civilians that can be classified as war crimes during the studied period.

The same crimes have also been committed, in the same period and in the same country, by Angolan, Zimbabwean and DRC armies and several pro-Kinshasa militias such as the Mai Mai. But the UN report seams give more importance to the ones attributed to Rwanda and Uganda.

During war time, it is sad to observe that crimes against humanity can easy be committed by all parties. One only needs to look at current examples in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I do agree with the ICG that each crime against humanity must be accounted for by those responsible without any possibility of impunity dictated by political interests.

What I do not agree with in the UN reports the ICG article is the declaration that war crimes done by the Rwandan Army can be classified as "genocide".

Genocide and ethnic cleansing operations are strictly defined by well classified characteristics: First of all the identification of one population as enemy on ethnic diversity bases.

This should be followed by an ethnic hate public propaganda campaign in order to convince the own population to exterminate the enemy; promotion of any collective actions against the enemy that can lead to his physical elimination. In the minor of results, campaign will assure the own population's ideological support for the ethnic cleansing operations.

Planning of mass destruction, with clear instructions to the political, military and administrative authorities, is necessary to accomplish "the job". A detailed list of victims and the creation of civil militias are necessary basic tools.

All these were the characteristics of the former Rwandan government that has perpetuated the genocide of 1994.

No one of these characteristics can be found in the Rwandan and Ugandan military operations during the war in the DRC.

Rwanda and Uganda are small countries with a really open population. If a genocide project had been implemented by authorities at that time, it would be impossible that people like me (living permanently in the area) do not observe any external signals from popular emotions, mass media and governmental propaganda.

I just ask for an answer to this simple question.

If the post-genocide Rwandan government (so-called
Tutsi) had the intention of committing a new genocide against the Rwandan refugees (so-called Hutu), why not start with Hutu population already present in Rwanda instead of putting so many financial and intellectual efforts into the reconciliation process as it did after the 1994 genocide?

Reinforcing the genocide doubt
The UN report, in order to reinforce the genocide doubt, has concentrated some of his investigations on the 1996 war actions against refugee camps during the Kabila rebel troops' invasion, supported by the armies of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Angola.

Rwandan military actions against refugees camps in the east of former Zaire was totally justified in order to stop a clear attempt by ex-FAR and genocidal militias hiding in the neighbour country and planning to re-launch their anti-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda.

The military option was the only solution in face of UN failure to resolve the security threat the refugee camps posed to Rwanda as the camps were infiltrated by those that had organised the 1994 genocide.

Paul Kagame (Vice-President and Minister of Defence at that time) since March 1995 had repeatedly warned the international community about Rwanda's intention to attack this source or regional instability if an international solution was not found.

The Rwandan refugee camps in former Zaire had provided en effective humanitarian sanctuary to members of the former, genocidal Rwandan government and army.

Protected from prosecution by the UN refugee agency UNHCR and international NGOs, they resided in the camps with impunity and manipulated the aid structures to increase their military power and political legacy.

The sanctuary provided in Zaire permitted them to resume the mass killing they had started in April 1994 and to sabotage reconstruction and reconciliation attempts within Rwanda, injecting the all region with hatred and

Remains of victims to Rwanda's 1994 genocide at one of the country's many memorial centres

© Tiggy Ridley/DFID/afrol News
genocidal rhetoric for over two years.

What other alternatives remained for the legitimate Rwandan government if not attack and destroy these camps?

How much responsibility rests with UN, donors, governments and private aid agencies, which sustained the refugee camps in the knowledge of their role in the continuation of ethnic war against Rwanda?

UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali recognised in November 1994 that "the most effective way of ensuring the safety of the refugees and their freedom to return to Rwanda would be the separation of political leaders, former Rwandese government forces and militia from the rest of the refugee population."

Why did the UN not deploy its troops to undertake this necessary action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter?

Why has none of the responsible leaders of genocide present in the refugee camps in Zaire been arrested in accordance with article VI of the UN Security Council Prevention and Repression of Genocide Convention?

The armed resistance to Kabila's rebel army and his allies was mainly done by former FAR and genocide militia in eastern Zaire.

Former FDLR military leaders like Major General Paul Rwarakabije and Brig Gen Jerome Ngemdahima affirm that most causalities among Rwandan refugees had been the direct consequence of FAR and genocide militias war tactics of using human shields.

Moreover, many FAR and militia soldiers were dressed in both military and civilian clothing. It was not possible to separate civilians from soldiers during the fights.

Surely is true that several Rwandan soldiers massacred civilians during the camps assaults, meanly because these soldiers were victims of hate and revenge, but in no occasion premeditate orders of mass killing actions by high military commander have been reported.

And what about the genocide Rwandan militias still operative in eastern DRC? I suppose there is an agreement about the need for an international solution to this problem.

Unluckily - due to the genocide ideology of these militias that still refuse to abandon their arms and follow the purpose of a "final solution" against Rwandan citizens - the only option to stop them must be a military one.

A double genocide theory
According to my personal opinion, the UN report has fallen victim to manipulations in order to support the double genocide theory invented by the former Rwandan government responsible of the genocide and supported by French and Vatican interests (included many missionaries leaving in the area, like the White Fathers and unluckily some Italian missionaries too).

Evidence that international experts have been victims of well studied manipulation can be founded in the ICG analysis too. For example when the ICG defined FDRL as "partly responsible" for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Sorry, but I have to protest. The FDRL members were fully responsible, first of all, their leader Callixte Mbarushimana!

The Rwanda genocide was well documented by media. For this reason the revisionist supporters have invented the double genocide theory: Both parties in the conflict have participated in the genocide so all are responsible.

Confusing victims with their murderers is the most horrible and simple way to white-wash the genocide memory.

The ICG proposition to extend the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICT), giving it a regional jurisdiction and extending its temporal reach beyond 1994 at least until 2002, is morally unacceptable according to my opinion.

This would mean creating a total confusion of responsibility at a time when the ICT-Rwanda has not even been able to try some of major genocide leaders including Habyarimana's wife, which are well protected by some African countries or in Europe, mainly thanks to the French and Vatican complicity.

The ICG report affirms that the UN report represents a change that could correct the terms of the deceptive and fragile peace some leaders wish to proclaim in the Great Lakes region. The report could support a Congolese national dialogue and address the historic record of impunity in the DRC and would go a long way to foster durable peace and real security in the region.

But maybe it is necessary to think about the difference between Nazism and Hutu power. The first genocide ideology is not accepted anymore in Europe, even by right-wing parties. On the contrary, the Hutu genocide ideology is still alive in the Great Lakes region.

Giving a false label of "genocide" to the war crimes committed in the DRC means supporting the double genocide revisionist theory and, indirectly, to increase the determination of Hutu genocidal extremists to "finish the job".

Those living in the region, like me, really do not need all this external interference to resolve regional problems and assure peace and security.

What we need is the end of external interference and the reinforcement of economical and social regional integration between the Great Lakes Regions countries through a deep and real reconciliation process between the different populations.

This difficult but necessary task should be done only by African actors!

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