Saturday, March 01, 2008

The 'Rwanda Genocide' Cover-up -- by Peter Erlinder [from JURIST]

The 'Rwanda Genocide' Cover-up -- by Peter Erlinder [from JURIST]

[In Henry H. Bauer's new book, The Origins, Persistence, and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (McFarland & Co, Jefferson, NC, & London, 2007), he posits an interesting epistomological thesis that is quite pertinent to our current discussions of Central Africa (Rwanda/Congo) and the Balkans (Serbia/incl Kosovo):

{For our purposes we've replaced Bauer's terms, 'medical science', with our 'History', and his 'the history of science and medicine' with our 'History and Geopolitics'--nb}

<<{History} is capable of big mistakes that sometimes persist for quite a long time. That is inherent in the nature of human knowledge. Things not yet known, not yet understood, when discovered call for rethinking or abandoning what had been believed up to then. Human understanding does not expand like a balloon; as its scope increases, its content also changes, in fits and starts, often because mistaken beliefs are replaced.

The popular view of the history of knowledge, including {History and Geopolitics}, is virtually the opposite of the true state of affairs. . . .>>(pg 154)

This may seem a contortion, a torturing of Professor Bauer's intentions, but his rather optimistic (that the truth WILL be discovered after all) rendering of what we have called the 'History as lies' thesis seems to describe very well the current devolved state of popular thought in the drive to rationalize the continued expansion of waste capitalism, in its highest form, imperialism--all philosophically justified by Fascism (i.e., anti-communism).

Can there still be any doubt why the lies about mass graves in Kosovo, WMDs in Iraq, global (Islamic) terrorism run out of caves in Tora Bora, interethnic rape and slaughter in Africa, EEurope and Central Asia--all the self-destructive irrationality of which is explained as hateful devotion to pure Evil--can anyone still believe that History has been hijacked by suicide bombers intent on taking us all with them?

Maitre Peter Erlinder presents some of the more recent evidence of the US/UK/EU/Israeli-sponsored military aggressions committed against a thoroughly violated neo-colonial world that the mawkish concerns over genocide were meant to cache, so as to supercharge Western campaigns of hyper-destruction against, and occupations and reigns of terror over, Central and Northeast Africa, from Somalia to Sudan (Darfur) to Chad to Kenya to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo. 'Stop-T-F-G-in-__________ has always meant send in more murderous arms,more toxic medicines, and more morally bereft foreign peacekeepers. All this goes in no-trump for the territories bordering Russia and China.

The comments that follow the article are interesting examples of the various types of denial used in the service of preserving, protecting and defending the very lucrative private Destruction Franchises, e.g., Pentagon out-jobbing to Blackwater and MPRI. The righteous citing of previously-dreamed Rwandan genocides for the sake (and the stake) of the 'Victims and Survivors' , or the ass-saving corporatist jitterbug of an ex-State Dept. flack, present a modest array of the forces that continue to defend the false-consciousness permitting the current liquifactionist policies to endure all assaults from the truth and to turn History into the sort of idiot's tale that would have made Cormac McCarthy barf. --mc]


The 'Rwanda Genocide' Cover-up -- by Peter Erlinder
{posted on JURIST @}

[Peter Erlinder, of William Mitchell College of Law, lead defense counsel for former Major Aloys Ntabakuze in the Military 1 Trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and president of the UN-ICTR Defense Lawyers Association, says that recently-issued French and Spanish international war crimes warrants and new evidence at the UN Rwanda Tribunal have exposed current Rwandan President Paul Kagame as the man primarily responsible for the 1994 “Rwanda Genocide” and the beneficiary of a decades-long US-sponsored “cover-up” of Pentagon complicity in the massacres committed by his regime...]


As George Bush continues his much ballyhooed African safari, he has heaped praise on Rwandan President Kagame as a “model for Africa,” and mourned with Kagame the victims of the “Rwanda Genocide”. But recently issued French and Spanish international “war-crimes” warrants, and new evidence at the UN Rwanda Tribunal, have exposed Kagame as the war criminal who actually touched off the 1994 “Rwanda Genocide” by assassinating the previous President and who is benefiting from a decades-long U.S.-sponsored “cover-up” of Pentagon complicity in massacres committed by Kagame’s regime, which even Britain’s Economist has called “the most repressive in Africa.” [1]

Multiple “War Crimes” Warrants Issued for Rwanda’s Leaders

Just last week, a Spanish judge issued 40 international warrants for current and former members of Kagame’s government, including senior staff at Rwanda’s Washington Embassy. Judge Abreau’s warrants charge Kagame’s clique with war crimes and crimes against humanity that may even fit the definition of “genocide.” But these are not the only international arrest warrants issued for Rwanda’s current leaders.

French Judge Bruguière (famous for indicting “The Jackal”) has also issued international warrants against nearly a dozen members of Kagame’s inner circle. Bruguière also met with Kofi Annan in late 2006 to personally urge the U.N. Rwanda Tribunal to prosecute Kagame for the assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, the war crime that re-ignited the four-year Rwanda War and the massive civilian killings in the war’s final 90-days.

Could it be that no-one in the Bush Administration was aware of these pending charges against their Rwandan hosts - or is it that they just don’t care?

In either case, the French and Spanish international arrest warrants have pierced the wall of U.S./UK/Rwandan propaganda about who bears primary responsibility for the massive tragedy that unfolded in Rwanda - but the “official story” has actually been unraveling for some time.

Chief UN Prosecutor Del Ponte in 2003: “Rwanda’s Leaders Guilty of War Crimes”

In the summer of 2003, Swiss Judge Carla Del Ponte, then Chief Prosecutor for both the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals, publicly announced that she would soon begin the prosecution of members of Kagame’s government for the same kinds of crimes now charged in the French and Spanish warrants. But nearly five years later, not one case has been filed against one member of Kagame’s government, nor against Kagame, himself, despite the direct request of Judge Bruguiere.

The Del Ponte-announced prosecutions did not go forward because she was replaced at the ICTR within 90 days of her announcement by Abubacar Jallow, a US/UK-approved Prosecutor who pledged not to prosecute any on Kagame’s side, no matter what the Del Ponte and the European judges’ findings! Prosecutor Del Ponte’s long-time press-aide, Florence Hartmann, published a book in Paris in September 2007 that explains exactly how and why Del Ponte was replaced.

According to the Hartmann book, that Del Ponte has not repudicated, Del Ponte was called to Washington just after her 2003 announcement and threatened with removal from office by Bush “war crimes ambassador” Pierre Prosper because of a long-standing political quid pro quo between Washington and the Kagame regime that is spelled out in detail in the book. (Ironically, Prosper was a former ICTR prosecutor under Del Ponte, and must have had access to the same information motivated her decision to prosecute the U.S. ally). When she refused to ignore her UN-mandate, to prosecute all crimes committed during the 1994 Rwanda War, she was sacked by the U.S. and U.K.[2]

ICTR Chief Investigator in 1997: “Rwanda’s Kagame Assassinated Previous President”

But this is not the first time that crimes of Kagame's have been “covered-up” at the ICTR. According to sworn affidavits, placed in the ICTR record in early 2006, well respected ICTR Lead Investigative Prosecutor Michael Hourigan, an Australian QC, recommended that Kagame, himself, be prosecuted for the assassination of Habyarimana in 1997! But then-Chief UN Prosecutor, Louise Arbour of Canada, ordered him to drop the Kagame investigation; to forget it ever happened; and, to burn his notes! Hourigan resigned rather than comply and copies of his original notes are now part of the ICTR public record for all to see. [3]

The “Rwanda Genocide” Cover-up on Clinton’s Watch

The Hourigan affidavit makes clear that the “Rwanda Genocide" cover-up has been going on for at least a decade, but the reasons for the cover-up did not become clear until late 2007, when a senior Clinton administration diplomat, Brian Atwood, was confronted with UN documents describing a 1994 “cover-up” meeting with the Rwandan Foreign Minister in Kigali and the UN’s Kofi Annan. According to the UN documents, U.S.-sponsored human rights reports by investigator Robert Gersony had documented massive military-style executions of civilians by Kagame’s troops, during and after the final 90 days of the four-year Rwanda War.[4]

The former Rwandan Foreign Minister at the meeting, Jean Marie Ndagiyimana, testified at the ICTR that, rather than participate in the proposed “cover-up,” he resigned and went into exile, where he remains today. His ICTR testimony confirmed that Clinton’s USAID Chief for Africa, Brian Atwood, and the chief of the UN Department of Peace Keeping Operations, Kofi Annan, were both in his office in late October 1994 urging him to assist in the “cover-up” of the war crimes committed by Kagame’s forces. [5]

The “Inconvenient Truth” Behind the Cover-up: Pentagon Complicity in the 1994 Rwanda War

The damning “Gersony Report” included first-hand evidence of tens of thousands of civilians being massacred by Kagame’s troops in eastern Rwanda, later confirmed by similar reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The U.N. document (also in the ICTR record) says that Annan told the Foreign Minister that public knowledge of the Report would be “embarrassing to the UN” and the former U.S. Clinton administration diplomat, Brian Atwood, not only confirmed he was at the meeting, but explained that he had engaged Gersony, and that Gersony’s findings of war-crimes being committed by Kagame were “…an inconvenient truth” for both the United States and the UN.

According to Atwood, unbeknownst to the State Department, “the Pentagon had been supporting Kagame since before the 1990 invasion, when he was the head of Military Intelligence for the Museveni government of Uganda.” The “Gersony Report” tied the Pentagon to the crimes of Kagame’s invading, Pentagon-trained and funded forces. More UN documents in the ICTR record reveal that the State Department was negotiating for a peaceful settlement of the war at the same time the Pentagon was supporting Kagame’s invasion. The Clinton Administration sought to enlist Atwood and Kofi Annan in keeping evidence of Kagame’s crimes from ever seeing the light of day, to prevent Pentagon involvement in the “Rwandan Genocide” from ever coming to light.[6]

The existence of a separate Pentagon foreign policy on Rwanda also tallies with the ICTR testimony of former Ambassador Robert Flaten, who testified that he seriously doubted that Habyarimana’s supporters planned to kill civilians on a massive scale because the CIA and other intelligence agencies would have reported it when he was in Rwanda from 1990 to late 93.[7] He said that his requests for Pentagon-DIA spy satellite photographs showing the status of the war in the countryside were turned down because of “clouds over Rwanda,” during his entire 3-plus years in Rwanda. [8]

Former Amb. Flaten also noted the obvious: Uganda’s military assistance for the 1990 Kagame invasion coincided with increased Ugandan military funding by the U.S./U.K. Most importantly, Flaten also testified that he personally warned Kagame that “he (Kagame) would be responsible for massacres like just happened in Burundi, if Kagame broke the cease-fire and re-started that war". Now the evidence in the ICTR record shows Kagame did exactly that!

In short, the evidence that is now in the public record shows that during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, the Pentagon could have stopped the carnage with a phone call, and the State Department apparently did not know enough about the Pentagon’s close ties to Kagame to ask them to do so, at least until USAID’s Atwood was informed of Pentagon panicked reaction to the “Gersony Report,” in the summer of 1994.

Other de-classified State Department documents show that it was the invading Kagame forces that were the aggressors, and were blocking the State Departments efforts to implement the Arusha Accords, peace agreement.[9] The UN’s General Dallaire has testified that Kagame would not agree to a ceasefire to use troops to stop the massacres because “he was winning the war.”[10] And, now we know what Dallaire may not have known, until later…Kagame was winning with the Pentagon’s help.

The Great “Rwanda Genocide” Cover-up Continues under Bush

The “Rwanda Genocide” cover-up of Pentagon complicity in Kagame’s crimes is almost complete, with the U.S. cutting ICTR funding to shut it down by the end of 2008. Carla Del Ponte’s replacement, Abubacar Jallow, will be conveniently unable to carry out the prosecutions that Del Ponte urged in 2003, or those initiated by Judge Bruguiere in 2006, or Judge Abreau, just last week.

However, the international warrants are still in effect, and the Del Ponte book and Hourigan’s affidavit have begun to unravel the whole sordid manipulation. But unless the “Rwanda Genocide” cover-up makes it onto "page one" in Europe and North America, it may be too late for the ICTR detainees who are being held responsible for the crimes of the Kagame regime - a bit like the UN holding the Japanese responsible for Hiroshima and the Germans for the fire-bombing of Dresden. [Or the Serbs with the 1999 terror-bombing of Yugoslavia over Kosovo!--nb]

With U.S. and U.K. support, Kagame’s government is actively campaigning to have all ICTR matters transferred to Rwanda and has issued 40,000 warrants for Kagame’s Hutu and Tutsi opponents in the worldwide Rwandan diaspora (a movement that includes such figures as Paul Rusesabagina, the 'real hero' of Hotel Rwanda [sic]).

Correcting the Historical Record and Ending the Cover-up

But I have to disclose my own bias. Under the laws of Rwanda, I too am a criminal “negationist” for writing this essay, and President Kagame has personally denounced me as a “genocidaire” for my work as an ICTR defense lawyer. My former investigator is seeking asylum in Europe and the ICTR Prosecutor who replaced Carla Del Ponte is now prosecuting another defense investigator for asking too many questions in Rwanda while denouncing Judge Bruguière’s request for the UN to prosecute Kagame, as well as that of Spanish Judge Abreau.

An ICTR defense lawyer like me has to hope that despite all that is now known about the manipulations of the ICTR by the U.S. and U.K. for their own political purposes, the ICTR judges will not be influenced by the sacking of Del Ponte, and that they will carefully evaluate the evidence in my client’s case. But it is hard to be too optimistic.

At least my conscience is clear, now that the great “Rwanda Genocide” cover-up has been exposed. But I wonder if the judges, prosecutors, other UN-ICTR officials (who now know about the manipulation of their best efforts) will be able to say the same--should they allow the cover-up to continue?

During the week’s festivities in Rwanda, Presidents Bush and Kagame are sure to find much in common, as would Tony Blair, who has recently signed-on as an “unpaid” advisor to Kagame. All three stand accused of war crimes, and are mutually benefiting from the US/UK/Rwandan “cover-up” of their own complicity in the “Rwandan Genocide” tragedy that should put all three in the dock at the ICTR.

(c) 2008 Peter Erlinder. All of the documents and testimony referenced above are in the court record at the ICTR, except for the interview of Ambassador Brian Atwood, which occurred in December 2007 at his office at the University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute, Mpls. MN.


[1] The Economist, April, 2004

[2] Hartmann, Paix et chatiment: les guerres secrètes de la politique et de la Justice Internationales (2007 Flammarion, Paris)

[3] See Hourigan Affidavit and related documents in Miltary 1 record at the ICTR.

[4] See UN documents in the Military 1 trial record at the ICTR.

[5] See ICTR Testimony of Ndagiyimana, November 2006, and related documents

[6] Interview with Dean Brian Atwood, Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota, December 22, 2007.

[7] See Flaten ICTR testimony, June 2006.

[8] Interview with Robert Flaten in Arusha, TZ, June 2006.

[9] See April 1, 1994, Cable from U.S. Embassy in Kigali to Kampala Uganda in the ICTR Military 1 Trial Record.

[10] See ICTR Testimony of Gen. Romeo Dallaire and associated documents, January 2006.

Peter Erlinder is a professor at William Mitchell College of Law. He is a past-President of the National Lawyers Guild.

February 19, 2008



Were Tutsis killed in 1959 because of what you call the Kagame/Clinton/Blair cover-up? What about 1966, 1973, 1986, 1988, 1993, etc., whom would you want us to believe carried out the massacres?

If the Habyarimana killing 'triggered' the genocide, how come there were already lists, prepared much before, of the targeted Tutsis?

No doubt, you are a 'genocide profiteer', not only denier, having taken that blood money as defense lawyer of the genocidaires.

Pan BUTAMIRE (survivor), Kigali, RWANDA

February 20, 2008

While RPF war crimes are documented and a lack of prosecution for them has serious potential to undermine the judicial and reconciliatory processes in Rwanda; this article fails to address the planned nature of the 1994 genocide. There is significant evidence to illustrate a pre-planned genocide; which rebukes the idea that the RPF is responsible for triggering the genocide whether or not they killed Habyarimana.

Furthermore, the author fails to mention the plethora of evidence that would deem France, according to the authors line of argument, as responsible for the genocide as well. Support for the Hutu extremist regime in a variety of ways illustrates this point.

This article fails to look at the broad picture needed to evaluate the Rwandan conflict, shifting blame too far onto the RPF and Kagame government. It loses sight of the wide-scale, planned atrocities carried out against the Tutsi and moderate Hutu population.

In addition, this article pays significant disrespect to the Tutsi population. One does not have to look beyond the article's title 'Rwandan Genocide' to see this illustrated. Despite your opinion on the Kagame government, to downplay and question the genocide is an unacademic and ill mannered approach to the issue.

February 20, 2008

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to an article in the February 19, 2008 edition of JURIST, titled “The Rwanda Genocide Cover-Up.” Your “guest columnist,” whom you identify as defense counsel for an individual accused before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Peter Erlinder, obviously is leveling unsubstantiated charges as part of his defense effort. In the process, he has manufactured quotes from me and accused the entire Clinton Administration of covering-up the alleged misconduct of Rwanda’s sitting President.

Mr. Erlinder met with me on December 21, 2007. He wanted to share ideas on Rwanda. He never described the meeting as an “interview” and never revealed that he had testimony from a former Rwandan Foreign Minister to the effect that I and Kofi Annan had asked him to participate in a “cover-up” of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s alleged involvement in genocide. This, of course, is a completely false charge made by a highly questionable source. It is unethical to repeat such a charge without even asking me or Kofi Annan whether it is true.

The fact is, I was never in a conversation about a cover-up with Kofi Annan and had never stepped foot in his office during his tenure as Under Secretary General for UN Peacekeeping. Nor did I, at any time, discuss a cover-up of charges involving Kagame with anyone in the Clinton Administration.

It is true that, on behalf of the Clinton Administration, I arranged to have Mr. Robert Gersony visit Rwanda on behalf of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in about 1995. As a courtesy, I was briefed on the Gersony Report and I do recall that it reported on atrocities and human rights violations that Rwandans told Gersony had been carried out by Kagame’s troops. This was relevant to the UNHCR’s efforts to repatriate refugees. I did arrange to have Gersony brief the State Department and I was told later that the report was not well-received. However, if it was an “inconvenient truth,” (and I believe I did use that phrase with Erlinder) it probably was because the refugee repatriation effort would be disrupted and that it would create problems in working with Kagame. No one told me that; this was just an educated guess. More importantly, there was no effort by the U.S. Government to stop Gersony from delivering the report to UNHCR, which he did.

Erlinder came to my office in December 2007 for an informal discussion, not an interview. He told me that he had been frustrated that UNHCR would not release the Gersony Report for his use in the trial of his client. I called Gersony in Erlinder’s presence to ask him about this. He said that the report had been reviewed by UNHCR lawyers and it had been determined that it had no relevance to Erlinder’s client’s case. Gersony confirmed that he had received information second-hand that could be damaging to the Kagame government. However, he was sent to Rwanda to interview citizens much as an experienced reporter would, not as a lawyer trying to build a case that would stand up in a court of law.

Finally, despite Erlinder’s effort to put words in my mouth, I had no knowledge whatsoever of the U.S. Pentagon “supporting Kagame since before the 1990 invasion…” Erlinder himself told me he had information to this effect, but I never confirmed this because I had absolutely no knowledge of it. I also do not believe that the Gersony Report made this connection. It was far beyond the scope of what Gersony had been asked to do.

The charge that the Clinton Administration sought to enlist me and Kofi Annan in a cover-up of Kagame’s activities is absolutely false and seems to be based solely on the false testimony of the former Rwandan Foreign Minister. No one in the Clinton Administration, to my knowledge, was involved in a cover-up of any kind. It was, after all, the Clinton Administration that asked Gersony to investigate the situation on the ground and then report his findings to the U.N. No matter how “inconvenient” his findings, no one tried to stop him from reporting them to the U.N. Furthermore, I was never informed that the Pentagon had experienced a “panicked reaction” to Gersony’s report, as Erlinder writes. This is yet another fiction conveyed as fact by Erlinder.

Peter Erlinder is representing his clients who have been accused of committing genocide. He is not an objective observer of what transpired in Rwanda. I am frankly shocked at the gross misrepresentation of what transpired at our meeting in December of 2007 and I am surprised that you would print his article without first checking facts. I would hope that your publication would allow me to correct the record by printing this letter.


J. Brian Atwood

February 22, 2008


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is

7:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home