I have read, listened to debates and conversed with many people in Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Nations in New York to find out why Rwanda authorities – government and armed forces – are not held accountable for the atrocities they are reported to have committed since 1990 when RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) invaded Rwanda and are still committing in Eastern DRC and Rwanda itself.
In January/February 2010, I spent thirty days in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda and conversed with many people from all walks of life. I got a lot of information mostly from informal and anonymous conversations. The following information is what I have collected before, during and after the mission. I am making this contribution in an effort to find a durable solution to the challenges not only in Rwanda but in the Great Lakes region as a whole.
Some developments have emboldened Rwanda government (and its army) to do what it wants with impunity. Here are some of them.
- Since 1994 genocide in Rwanda there is a perception in the international community that Hutus are” barbaric and dangerous wild beasts” that should be hunted down and killed. When you ask about the Burundi genocide of 1972 and 1993 committed by Tutsi against Hutu, you are quickly reminded that you are comparing oranges and apples because the two tragedies are not the same whatever that means.
- There is another perception that the United Nations Security Council is solidly behind Rwanda government and will protect it no matter what it does and by extension the entire United Nations system.
- Reports implicating RPF and its government in atrocities committed against Hutu since 1990 have been ignored thereby strengthening the hand of hard liners to commit more with impunity.
- The Commonwealth admission of Rwanda into that club against expert advice has demonstrated that Rwanda government can do what it wants and get away with it. After all Rwanda government is advised by a former UK Prime Minister.
- Powerful Western corporations using Rwanda to plunder the resources of DRC and will do what it takes to protect the Rwanda government against any accusation.
Specific actions that need active response
The following information from various sources needs verification as appropriate to make sure there are no distortions or factual errors.
- Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda in 1990 without condemnation.
- Rwandan troops have murdered Hutu since 1990 particularly in North West of the country without condemnation.
- Government troops massacred up to 10,000 internally displaced Hutus at Kibeho camp without condemnation.
- Gersony’s report implicating Tutsi in Rwanda genocide was not allowed to see the light of day.
- Ogata’s report of Tutsi wielding spears, bow and arrows in areas that had already been vacated by Habyariman troops in southern and southeastern regions of Butare, Kibungo and parts of Kigali prefectures was ignored.
- The assassination of former RPF government Minister of Internal Affairs in Nairobi, Kenya, by a Rwandan diplomat based in Nairobi was ignored.
- The invasions of DRC led by Rwanda troops in 1996/97 and 1998/99 were not condemned.
- Rwanda looting of Congo resources and arming Congolese rebels that have terrorized the people of DRC have not been condemned.
- The massacres of Hutu civilians of Congolese and Rwandese origin in Eastern DRC since 1996 disguised as chasing and killing interahamwe have been ignored.
- The banning of political parties dominated by Hutus and conducting flawed elections have been tolerated.
- The jailing of Victoria Ingabire who is reported to have said that the Hutu who were murdered in 1994 genocide should also be remembered and government’s refusal to register her party for August 2010 presidential elections have been ignored.
- The complaint that birth control in Rwanda is aimed at reducing Hutu population which could be a form of genocide has not been investigated.
- Reports that Hutu are deliberately being pushed into subsistence economy as part of a strategy to impoverish, marginalize and keep them down permanently have not been investigated.
- Preventing Rwanda people to refer to themselves by their ethnic group name has not been condemned.
- Government reference to all Hutus as genocidaires when convenient whether or not they participated in the 1994 tragedy or were born after 1994 and its political, economic, social and psychological implications has not been condemned.
- Reports that Tutsi are grabbing Hutu land and property have been ignored.
- Rwanda’s demands for a Berlin II conference to extend her boundaries into DRC have not been condemned.
- Rwanda’s alleged involvement in the ongoing plan for a Tutsi Empire in the Great Lakes Region has not been investigated.
- Congolese allegations that Rwanda wants to partition if not annex the whole of DRC have not been investigated.
- Rwandan Foreign Minister and government spokesperson’s denial that moderate Hutu were not a target of 1994 genocide but were victims “…because they did not go along with the plan” implying that Hutu genocidaires targeted Tutsi only has not been condemned. This statement made in New York City in April 2010 during Rwandan President’s visit there has serious implications.
- The detailed information about mass graves of Hutu in Rwanda some of them under buildings has not been followed up.
- Expert reports that more Hutus have been murdered than Tutsi has not been followed up.
The above information and the challenges it contains if true make many people I talked with wonder why there are double standards in our world especially in institutions that were created specifically to level the playing field for everyone to enjoy their human rights in full.