Sunday, April 03, 2005

Persecution NOT Prosecution--by Christopher Black

Persecution Not Prosecution

The Rwanda “genocide” is an important point of reference for those organizations that support the violation of national sovereignty and the UN Charter and for the governments that use those organizations as a front to drum up public support for the intervention of the United States and its allies in various regions of the world, particularly those regions in which the United States has a strategic interest. This is the case lately with the allegations of “genocide” in Sudan. “Never again another Rwanda” is the refrain from all quarters. Yet, if the truth be known, Rwanda was not a situation in which the United States and its allies failed to act. To the contrary, it was a situation which resulted from the direct interference of the United States and its allies.

The war in Rwanda, which began with the first invasion by the Tutsi Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1990 from Uganda, which continued with a second invasion in October of 1993, and which culminated in the final offensive by the RPF in April 1994, was from start to finish supported, aided and abetted by the United States, Britain, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. It was also supported by the very UN forces supposedly sent in to be a neutral arbiter between the invading Tutsi army and the majority Hutu government of Rwanda.

The massive death toll of civilians in Rwanda has been almost exclusively attributed to the Hutu government intent on wiping out the Tutsi ethnic group. However, it has become increasingly clear that many of the deaths attributed to the government were in fact committed by the invading RPF forces who wiped out Hutus both in Rwanda and later in the refugee camps in Congo in large numbers, as well as Tutsis viewed as being too close to them.

It is also clear both from French investigating judge Brugière’s report and from the statements of disaffected Tutsi officers that the murder of the Hutu president of Rwanda and the Hutu president of Burundi, as well as the Rwanda Army Chief of Staff, was committed by the RPF. It is also clear from the same officers that many of the political assassinations carried out both just before their murder on April 6, 1994 and immediately after, and which were attributed to the government, were, in fact, committed by the RPF in order to discredit the Hutu majority government.

The United States and its allies, including the UN itself, have attempted to mask the reality by inventing the theory of a plan to commit genocide by the government and that the RPF actions were only to prevent the “genocide”. This was necessary to divert attention from the real objectives of the war which were to replace a Hutu regime which did not want to cooperate with the US by allowing Rwanda to be used as a platform from which to launch an attack on Mobutu in Zaire, and to reduce the influence of France in central Africa. The final objective was and is control of the vast resources of the Congo.

The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda, the sister of The Hague Tribunal plays its role in demonizing the Hutu leadership and in justifying the RPF dictatorship now in control of Rwanda. It also serves as a means of presenting a completely false history of the events in Rwanda, and covering up the murder of the two Hutu heads of state and the massacres of hundreds of thousands of innocent people by the RPF and its allies.

One of the central points of the US-RPF propaganda which is central to the prosecution's theory at the ICTR is that the Hutu government planned to kill Belgian soldiers in order to force out the Belgian UN forces and bring about the collapse of the UN mission in Rwanda, thereby giving the government a free rein to commit “genocide”. But in fact, both the US and RPF and the prosecutor at the ICTR know that the senior officers at Camp Kigali, the army base at which the Belgians were killed on the morning of April 7, tried to prevent that attack. The attack was committed by mutinous soldiers who were convinced that the Belgian UN forces had taken part with the RPF in shooting down the plane carrying their president and army chief of staff.

Yet despite this knowledge two officers of the Rwandan army, Major Nzwoneyemeye and Captain Sagahutu, are charged before the Tribunal with complicity in their murder despite evidence in the hands of the prosecutor that they risked their lives to try to prevent their soldiers from harming the Belgians. The trial of those officers, part of the so-called Military II trial at the Tribunal, began Sept. 20. Witness ALN, called by the prosecution, has testified that he was a soldier at the camp and that the officers encouraged the attack. Yet the prosecution has a statement from a UN Military Observer stationed at Camp Kigali stating that in fact the officers in charge of the camp tried to prevent the attack. That officer also states that there were not 10 Belgians but 13, a point of some interest in Belgium where the government claims to have lost only 10 men, leading to much speculation as to who the other 3 were and what their mission was. He also states that the Rwandan soldiers had intercepted an RPF radio transmission to their forces stating “the target is hit”, referring to the president’s plane.

Two other prosecution witnesses known as DA and DAK, in another case called the Military I trial, have also testified that the officers at Camp Kigali tried to prevent the attack by mutinous soldiers on the Belgians as did a witness testifying before the Belgian Investigating Judge Vandermeersch. That these officers tried to stop the attack at risk to themselves was also the conclusion of the UN Forces commission set up by General Dallaire the UN Force Commander just after the attack on the Belgians.

Yet despite all this clear and unimpeachable evidence that the two Hutu officers can not be guilty of any involvement in the deaths of the Belgian soldiers, the prosecution persisted in charging them with responsibility and then calling a witness at trial who, under cross-examination, was clearly not present at Camp Kigali and could not have seen what he claims. The prosecution has no intention of calling the UN officer or others to tell what really happened and are manipulating the Tribunal and world opinion by knowingly presenting a false version of events at Camp Kigali.

Their motivation is clear. If they presented the truth, that senior officers had tried to stop the Belgians from being injured, then the theory that the Hutu government wanted the Belgians out of the country collapses, and one of the central underpinnings of the “genocide” theory is shown to be nothing but propaganda.

Defence counsel at the Tribunal demanded that the prosecution be sanctioned for prosecutorial misconduct for knowingly presenting false testimony to the Tribunal and suppressing evidence that totally exonerates the men charged. Yet, despite the judges being shown the statement of the UN officer, a Captain Apedo, they permitted the testimony to go ahead; though they did permit the UN officer’s and other statements to be used by the defence to cross-examine the prosecution's perjured witness.

The misconduct of the prosecution at the Rwanda tribunal is a scandal. It is motivated not by a desire to see justice done but to secure politically motivated convictions against the Hutu leadership. This is not justice. With the Tribunal expressing its intention to send convicted persons to Rwanda, into the hands of the RPF war criminals who attacked them and murdered their President, it is not prosecution but persecution. It is time the world stopped using Rwanda as a reference point justifying “humanitarian" actions. Instead, it is time for the world to re-examine what really happened in Rwanda, to re-examine the true role of the ICTR in perpetuating the myth of “genocide” and to condemn the oppression of the political rights of the majority Hutu people of Rwanda. It is also time to acknowledge that Rwanda is, as are Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, an example of how US intervention always results in mass deaths, mass destruction and the mass immiseration of entire peoples in the service of empire.

Christopher Black


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