Saturday, December 31, 2011

RWANDA CANNOT BE THE JUDGE AND THE JURY

By Dr. Nkiko NSENGIMANA
Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of FDU-Inkingi
Lausanne
, December 22, 2011

Also Available in French:

The political party United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi) strongly protests against the decision of the Appeals Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on the case of Pastor Jean UWINKINDI who might soon be transferred to Rwanda for trial.

By creating the ICTR, the UN Security Council raised hope for a restorative justice and reconciliation. Indeed, prior to the creation of the ICTR, the United Nations conducted investigations: reports of UN experts accused the two Rwandan belligerents in 1994 of having both committed crimes against humanity and serious violations of the international humanitarian law during the period spanning from January 1st, 1994 to December 31st, 1994; the crimes that fall under the ICTR mandate [1]. There are other reports from Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org), Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org) and International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (http://www.ichrdd.ca), which accuse the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) of war crimes, crimes against peace and humanity, before, during, and after the 1994 genocide.

On October 1st, 2010, the UN published the Mapping Report which establishes beyond any reasonable doubt the direct criminal responsibility of President Paul Kagame and his army in war crimes, crimes against humanity; the crimes that could be described as genocide, committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Several reports and investigations for several years, such as the ones from the Spanish judge Fernando Andreu Merel and the French judge Jean Louis BRUGUIERE point the accusing finger at the responsibility of President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana, on April 6th, 1994 and in the massacres of civilians in Rwanda and the DRC. Other reports from Roberto Garreton, Michael Hourigan, Gersony, which were smothered for sure, but still available, corroborate the responsibility of the RPF in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, committed against civilians. Many testimonies of former members of the RPF, such as Lieutenant Abdul RUZIBIZA [2], and recently, Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, former chief of staff of President Paul Kagame, attest to the responsibility of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in this terrorist act that triggered the Rwandan genocide.

How can anyone reasonably entrust to the Rwandan justice system, whose lack of independence vis-à-vis the executive branch led by the party-state RPF and its President is obvious, the right to judge a person who is already in the hands of the international justice, which is supposed to be above all political considerations?

Furthermore, the ICTR cannot ignore reports from international NGOs on violations of human rights in Rwanda. For instance, Rwanda was ranked in 2010 among ten worst countries worldwide in terms of freedom of expression, rivaling North Korea, Syria, Iran and Burma. The ICTR certainly does not ignore that the people in these countries are terrified and have no right to speak freely and that once in court, such a right is even less.

By this outrageous decision to send the case to Rwanda, the ICTR confirmed what its prosecutor, Mr Boubacar Jallow, asserted when he alleged that the conditions for a fair trial in Rwanda had been fulfilled and that the judiciary is independent and impartial. How can one dare to make such assertions when we see on a daily basis how defendants are treated in Rwanda? The speech of President Paul Kagame, during the opening of the 9th  “Mass of reconciliation”, revolting against the ICTR decisions with regard to the military trial of BAGOSORA’s group, left no doubt about the guidelines for the outcome of the trials in Rwanda. This indeed confirmed the line of thought of President Kagame, who, on several occasions since 2010, has already condemned Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair of FDU-Inkingi, before her hotly contested and politically motivated trial, is closed.

The lack of independence of the Rwandan justice system is mostly due to the fact that the people in power and winners of the 1994 civil war are themselves accountable to justice and cannot allow the justice system they already control to judge them. Instead, they prefer headlong rushes accusing anyone who dares to talk about their own crimes. This lack of independence of the Rwandan justice system and its inability to prosecute crimes committed by RPF members of should have already been filled by the ICTR, if it had properly fulfilled its mission, instead of privileging political considerations in choosing the people to prosecute while sparing some key players simply because they belong to the camp of the victors of the civil war of 1994. Ms. Carla Del Ponte [3], former prosecutor of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the ex-Yugoslavia (ICTY) who wanted to prosecute the alleged crimes against RPF members was immediately removed from her office within the ICTR, owing to pressures from Kigali and its apologists.

The ICTR should be independent with regard to the Rwandan government and should also resist any pressure from Kigali’s supporters to help restore confidence that the Rwandan people had placed in it; from this tribunal, the Rwandan people expected fair justice, the source for a genuine national reconciliation.

Considering the fact that the Rwandan government has decided to close the offices of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LIPRODHOR), it is difficult to imagine what prompted the ICTR judges to decide the transfer of Rev. Jean UWINKINDI in such a capharnaum where there is neither faith nor law and where the so-called justice is only made at the whim of one man who harasses, tortures, imprisons and kills at will anyone who dares express an opinion that is different from his.

More surprising is the fact that this iniquitous decision was taken at the time the world is witnessing the travesty of justice to which political opponents are subject. These include, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair of FDU-Inkingi, Mr. Deo MushayidiI, Chair of PDP-Imanzi, and Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, founding Chair of PS-Imberakuri.

The obvious involvement of RPF leaders in the Rwandan tragedy and their co-responsibility in the genesis and the execution of the Rwandan genocide lead to the conclusion that the RPF regime has no moral authority to lead and manage the country or to judge other people presumed guilty of involvement in the Rwandan genocide or other crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda within the period that falls under the ICTR mandate.

This decision of the Appeals Chambers of the ICTR ought to be condemned in the strongest energy; it calls upon all justice-loving people to stand up so that such a decision never takes effect.

Notes:

[1] See: The preliminary report S/1994/1125 and the final report S/1994/1405 of the impartial Commission of Experts of the United Nations on the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Boutros Boutros-Ghali et al, The United Nations and Rwanda, 1933 - 1996, New York, July 1996.

[2] Lieutenant Joshua Abdul Ruzibiza, Rwanda, l'histoire secrète, 1990-2001, Edition du Panama, 2005.

[3] Confrontations with Humanity's Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home