Sunday, September 28, 2008

Disinformation: The 'Concrete Rwandan Case' - by Col Jacques Hogard

Disinformation: The 'Concrete Rwandan Case' - by Col Jacques Hogard

[I got to know Col. Jacques Hogard, former French Legionnaire who now runs his own security consulting firm (I don’t really know if he likes that ‘Legionnaire’ jacket—or when I call him ‘Mon Colonel’, which I must admit is somewhat weenie on my part, in as much as I am an old draft-dodger who got out of the Vietnam War by claiming to be a fag—but I find all my military affectations way cool, so I hope he’ll forgive me.), long before I actually met him, when, during one of my Rwanda-reading binges I picked up his little book on Operation Turquoise, Les larmes de l’honneur, at FNAC. As with mon Général Ndindiliyimana’s, I was intrigued with Col. Hogard’s latter-day (post heroic?) tale of heroism—how the French military saved thousands, even hundreds of thousands unto millions, of Rwandan lives from the rampaging RPF ‘rebels’ in the Summer of 1994—the sort of heroism which the irrationality of categorical anti-imperialists (those who equate Western and Eastern Imperialisms, NATO with the Warsaw Pact) has effectively made impossible. And to be able now to sit down in his office off the Place de l'Étoile and talk with this intelligent, thoroughly informed, squared-away yet compassionate French military officer about our deep mutual concerns with the case of France and Rwanda, is both a great pleasure and an enormous privilege. In fact, it reminds me of back in the day when I’d sit and shoot the shit with Richard Brooks or Sam Peckinpah about the politics of Hollywood labor.

But the irrationality of Waste Capitalism—on a global scale—is now quickly approaching critical mass. With the current US financial meltdown, the inevitable result of the supersedure of use-value by exchange-value, where the ultimate commodity, long since become purely virtual and immaterial, a mere fantasy, or like cocaine, creates nothing with its use except a renewed demand for itself (hence the overwhelming predominance of war production), and certainly creates no human(e) value, other than the various commissions, transaction fees, back-end points on distributor’s gross, and usurious interest slides, but merely continues and intensifies the criminal transfers of public assets to the gangrenous gangsters of the unregenerate financial elites: today’s calls for Truth and Justice, though seemingly more bootless than ever, are becoming more frequent and more concentrated on certain subjects. Rwanda and the recent history of the carnage begun with its invasion by US/UK/Israeli-backed Ugandan forces on 1 October 1990 are chief among these subjects. And most fascinating of all are the interrelations between all the current events, like the covert and overt wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, even against certain Latin American countries like Bolivia and Venezuela, and the global ‘war on terrorism’, and how they are all of a piece with the struggle of classic, minoritarian (corporate neo-feudal or fascist) socio-political formations against majoritarian, popular (revolutionary socialist or communist) governmental models, as manifest in the century-long, pitiless wars against the USSR (now Russia) and Communist China.

In the West, one is not led to believe that Africans have a social or political history outside colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yet, in the 1930s, the Arch-Bishop of Kigali warned that solidarity with the majority Hutu movement for liberation from the Tutsi monarchy would be an encouragement to the spread of Communism in Africa. After its social revolution of 1959-61 and until the break-up of the USSR, Rwanda was a one-party state (the MRND's constitution being loosely based on that of the North Korean Communist Party) with close cultural and political ties to the Communist world—many of its professions were trained at Patrice Lamumba University in Moscow.

On the encouragement of French Socialist president François Mitterand, at the France-Africa conference held in the Atlantic coastal city of La Baule, 19-21 June 1990, Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana opened his country’s political system to multiple (opposition) parties, began forming plans through the UNHCR for the repatriation of Rwandan (Tutsis) ‘refugees’, and then, while on the verge of a real rapprochement between these historical and political (class) rivals, Rwanda was invaded by 6,000 heavily-armed troops of the Ugandan National Resistance Army, led by card-carrying Ugandan NRA officers, including the Ugandan Defense Minister Fred Gisa Rwigema and the head of Ugandan military intelligence (and current president of Rwanda) Paul Kagame. In the month of October 1990 alone, 30,000 Rwandan civilians were killed as a result of this unprovoked foreign aggression, this crime against peace. And it was France, along with Mobutu's Zaire, that came to the aid of the badly out-gunned Rwandan military and helped push back the invading Western-backed Ugandan forces.

But this was just the beginning of a four-year reign of terror that claimed the lives of tens, even hundreds of thousands, and displaced perhaps a million more, and culminated in the double assassination of the democratically elected (Hutu*) presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on 6 April 1994, which, it is universally agreed, then triggered the so-called Rwanda genocide of 100 days (6 April to 16 July 1994), and eventuated led to the Rwandan/Ugandan invasions of eastern Zaire (now Congo) that, to date, have cost upward of 8 million African souls.

And all this bloody chaos is justified as a defense against and punishment of ‘genocide’: which perfectly demonstrates the ‘disinforming trope’ of a Western military aggression being blamed on its victims by recontorting desperate efforts on the part of the aggressed at self-defense, at national defense into that very ‘genocide’. And this, in turn, is an example of the toxic irrationality (e.g., celebrating, during UN Peace Week in NYC, the blood-drenched, admitted terrorist and war criminal Paul Kagame, while protesting the much-maligned, much misinterpreted, but singularly unwarlike Mahmoud Ahmadenijad) that is fundamental to the criminal insanity that currently grips our world

Throughout the Rwandan drama, France assisted its Francophone partner. Until the terrible victory of Paul Kagame's RPF 'rebels' successfully tore that small, densely populated and strategically located nation from the French ‘Pré Carré’ (the Square Meadow) and forced it into the Anglo-Saxon Commonwealth, France supported the majoritarian interests of its Rwandan client against the minoritarian terrorism of its aggressors. This is what has earned France the—all too often self-applied—handle of ‘genocidaire’.

So, today, when the truth about this sordid, bloody and duplicitous Western imperialist adventure into ‘the heart of darkness’, this malignant mass investment of Western militarism into a defenseless Africa, is more and more being discovered through judicial inquiries, as with many of the cases before the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, or the investigations of Spanish judge Fernando Andreu Merelles or French anti-terrorist magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière, or even the current public defamation and incitement to racial hatred trial in Paris of French journalist Pierre Péan (His expansive 'Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs' is one of my faves on Rwanda, and I had floor-seats yesterday (23/9/08) for opening day of this trial—more on that anon), the real villains, the marauding waste-makers, who have banked so heavily on the military liquidation of Central Africa for easier access to the riches of Congo, have now recourse only to disinformation, to irrelevant and immaterial accusations against the French nation, its government and military, in their fey and feckless attempt to divert a demented public's sclerotic and skittish attention from the craven and venal crimes they have committed in service of the anti-Culture of Western financial Philistinism.

While including the work of another dear, departed friend and fellow 'theatre fag', Vladimir Volkoff, whom I got to know while working for Louis Dalmas over at Balkans Infos, Col. Hogard presents a clear and cogent description of how disinformation has been used—and continues to be used—in the heightening and intensification of the irrationality that seems to be threatening a worldwide psychotic break with Reality. And at this end-stage of human history (but maybe it just seems that way to me because of my advanced age), who knows what horrors this latest bull-goose lunacy will bring. —mc

*We often use the tribal names ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’ to stand for the socio-political concepts of ‘majoritarian’ and ‘minoritarian’, respectively.—nb ]



By Jacques Hogard, Colonel in the French Foreign Legion (retired), former commander of the southern group of Operation Turquoise in Rwanda (1994), CEO of E.P.E.E. (, author of ‘Les larmes de l’honneur’ (Tears of Honor’), his eye-witness account of Operation Turquoise (editions Hugo&Cie, Paris, 2005)

‘What is important is not the reality of life but what people believe.’ Roger Mucchielli

As an officer in The Legion during the summer of 1994, I was a commander in the southern group of Operation Turquoise (21 June – 21 August 1994), set up in the southwest of Rwanda with the authorization of the UN (resolution 924) in order to establish a Humanitarian Security Zone for a limited period of 2 months . . .
I had never before served in Rwanda, neither under the auspices of military cooperation (under the military cooperation agreements signed by France and Rwanda in 1975), nor under the auspices of any of the military operations launched by France between October 1990 and December 1993 (dates marking the beginning and end of Operation Noroît), then in April 1994 (for the evacuation of French nationals and foreigners from Kigali at the onset of the massacres which would become the genocide of 1994).

Right away, this operation struck me as singular and, at the very least, sensitive and ‘controversial’. . .
In fact, just after arriving in Rwanda, I remember immediately being interviewed by the Anglo-American media, and being taken aback by the question, which seemed to me disingenuously posed, asking if I wasn’t ashamed to come to Rwanda ‘after what France had done or had let happen here!’

Since then, with all the charges that have been made against our country and its army, throughout the world, but also here in France, and this includes even in the major media, I have come to believe that the dramatic events in Rwanda have become the objects of a campaign of disinformation, perfectly executed and highly successful up to the present day . . .

If one can believe an expert, Vladimir Volkoff , disinformation is the ‘manipulation of public opinion, for political ends, with information treated in an indirect way’.
Volkoff says that ‘generally, when disinformation is presented simply using lies, eventually it will be discovered, without its discovery necessarily changing the effect of the campaign’! To support this idea he cites a few examples from recent history:

- ‘the mass grave at Timisoara was, in reality, a morgue, but Ceaucescu was still overthrown’;
- ‘the weapons of mass destruction used as a pretext for the Allied invasion of Iraq did not exist, but Saddam Hussein was still overthrown’;
- ‘the 100,000 dead Albanians in Kosovo were, in reality, ‘only’ less than 4,000, but Serbia was still driven out of its southern province’. . .
- etc.,

One could also add:

- ‘France had nothing to do with the outbreak of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, but its position as an influence in Africa is today lower than ever’!

It is, in fact, very interesting to analyze the campaign of disinformation about Rwanda, because it has had two conjoined effects, indisputable and impossible to discount:

Because of its self-proclaimed guilt in the Rwanda genocide,
- France has, in the last 14 years, lost its essential influence in Africa, to the point of today being little more than a spectator to the struggle between the Chinese and the Americans for strategic control of the ‘Dark Continent’ and for its hugely important reserves of raw materials; this includes Francophone Africa;
- Because of this situation, France has developed a terrible sense of guilt, unto remorse, about no longer having an Africa policy worthy of the name, and seems unprepared to develop any such clear and determined policy. The example of Ivory Coast is significant here.

The Volkoff Approach

According to Volkoff, a disinformation campaign always presents itself as an information campaign, but four characteristics allow us to make distinctions and become more aware of the reality of things.

Thus it seems very interesting to me to apply this ‘set of symptoms’ to the case of Rwanda:

1. ‘Everybody says the same thing. But it seldom occurs in human nature that people think the same thing.’

In the Rwandan case, read the international and French press, listen to the radio and watch TV: everybody (or almost) is completely convinced of the same truth: ‘there was a terrible genocide in Rwanda in 1994’ (which is true) ‘and France, whether it recognizes it or not, bears a large part of the responsibility for the development of this tragedy’ (which is false).

2. ‘Public opinion is over-loaded with information on one aspect of the question, to the detriment of other aspects.’ And, ‘poor is the man who’s read but one book’ or ‘you have to listen to the tolling of all the bells’. If we think we’ve read all there is to read, and if we think we’ve heard all the bells, and that all this has led us to only one view of the problem, it is because this is what someone has wanted us to think and we have, thus, been tricked’ . . .

The entirety of the media, all the book that are published—with very few exceptions, which are very quickly made suspect and demonized (one must remember the example of the work of journalist Pierre Péan [Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs: Rwanda 1990-1994 – Mille et une nuits, Paris, 2005 {Black Fury, White Liars}], first praised, then written off as being that of ‘a racist, negationist, trickster in the service of the French Army and the memory of his friend François Mitterand)—have signed on to the narrative of the genocide of the Tutsis (and, let’s not forget the innumerable moderate Hutus!) being solely the responsibility of the Hutu majority (which is true, though incomplete without much further explanation), tirelessly supported by France (which is false).

3. ‘All the good guys are on one side, all the bad guys on the other. But, the real situation is rarely so Manichean. Doubtlessly, there are just causes and unjust causes, but it never happens that all the do-rights are on one side, and all the bastards on the other. Any information that is presented to make us believe in something so unnatural is suspect because it is based on the ideology of the Cowboy Western, where the color of your Stetson—white or black—tells us whether you’re the hero or the villain. These simplistic extremes are pleasing to our inner-child, and we are always ready to kid ourselves in this way, as much from mental laziness as from innocence.’

The good-guys: these are obviously the victims, the martyrs of the genocide: the Tutsis (one willfully forgets the Hutus who were exterminated by their fellow Hutus, or, either earlier or later, by the Tutsis!), but also their liberators: The RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), Uganda, and world opinion, the best friend of the Tutsis and the RPF, and this includes Bernard Kouchner, as well as, today, such organizations as the Reseau Voltaire, Golias, Survie, Ibuka, and all those that willy-nilly denounce ‘colonialism’, ‘The Church’, ‘François Mitterand’, ‘FrançAfrica’, ‘The French Army’. . .
The bad-guys: the Hutus and France, which unflinchingly aided them (but not without conditions: like a forced democratization of the regime!) from 1990 to 1993 . . .

Clearly, all Hutus are bastards, as is the government of France, and all the Tutsis are unassailable because they are martyrs.

4. ‘The acquiescence of public opinion develops into a mass psychosis. This is the objective of all campaigns of disinformation. The information consumer must ask for more, must abandon his critical sense, and must demand a permanent confirmation of the disinformation which is administered to him as dope to a junkie who always begs for more, until he succumbs to the ‘vampirism’ of disinformation: all who are bitten become biters, all who are disinformed become disinformers’.

As an example, one need only look at the film ‘Operation Turquoise’, directed by Alain Tasma and Gilles Taurand, and shown on Canal+ in November 2007, to understand the relevance of these four symptoms. All the clichés are found here, the accusations, latent or not, against French policies in Rwanda, the more or less direct allusions to the partiality of the French military’s comportment in this tragedy. . . . Thus, Tasma and Taurand, they, themselves, disinformed, take their turn at disinforming others, all in good faith, of course. . . .

The Tofflers’ interpretation

According to the American researchers Alvin and Heidi Toffler , cited by Volkoff, a campaign of disinformation is characterized by the use of:

1. The accusation of atrocities

This is much easier with Rwanda where there were innumerable atrocities, notably constitutive of a genocide. But they are not obviously charged to or chargeable to only the Hutus and to those who armed them, that is, the French. In any case, the Tutsi ‘rebels’ were reputed to have been possessed of an ironclad discipline—though there are numerous reports, and important ones at that, available today, on large-scale massacres perpetrated against Hutu peasants by the RPF in the course of the four years before the genocide, and even after that, in the years following the Front’s seizure of power (see the Human Rights Watch report on the massacres of hundreds of thousands of Hutus committed in 1994, 1995 and 1996, by the Tutsi army in exercise of its ‘right of pursuit of genocidaires’ into neighboring Zaire, see also the testimony of Abdul Ruzibiza, ‘Rwanda, l’histsoire secrète’ {‘Rwanda, the secret history} put out by Editons Panama in 2005).

2. The extreme exaggeration of the stakes

In the case of Rwanda, if one fuzzes out the hundreds of thousands of dead before and after the genocide, most of whom were Hutus, one falls upon the generally recognized figure of 1,200,000 victims, understood all to be Tutsis, while only the research into the truth that tends more toward precision and moderation in this macabre accounting comes up with a figure closer to 800,000 dead. As if it had to reach, or even better!, to exceed this fateful figure of one million dead, in order to better shock the minds of the public and convince them of the abomination of this ‘New Holocaust’. Because, here again, it is vital to make the parallel between the genocides of the Tutsis and that of the Jews. . . . As if they were one and the same thing . . .
Forget not only the respective representations of the Tutsi and Hutu communities in this tragedy, but also their real responsibilities.

3. The demonization or dehumanization of the enemy

The regime of the late president Juvénal Habyarimana (assassinated 6 April 1994), more authoritarian and paternalistic than totalitarian (unlike that of his successor), was converted in 1990 by François Mitterand from a single party state into a multiparty system with inter-communitarian dialogue, and ended with his death. But today it is described, without the slightest hint of the ridiculous, as being a sort of ‘Tropical Naziism’. Might always makes right, as La Fontaine would say.
Today it is just one people, the Hutu (80% of the Rwandan population) who have been black-listed by the entire world. It’s not good to be a Hutu today, even if you are a saint! Demonization played, and continues to play, its full role in allowing the regime of President Paul Kagame all its excesses and Human Rights violations without anyone anywhere in the international community raising a voice against it.

4. Polarization

This consists in suppressing all nuance. It is necessary that disinformation be total. If you are not today a partisan of Kagame and his regime, then you must—obviously—have been an accomplice in the genocide! If you give any credence to the conclusions drawn by anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière (who, in closing-out his investigation on the assassination of President Habyarimana on 6 April 1994, issued, in the name of the French judiciary, 9 international arrest warrants against individuals close to Kagame), then you are guilty of complicity in the genocide and crimes against humanity!

5. Calling upon the Devine for sanction

Even if we live in a secular world, calling upon The Devine for sanction—even if not explicitly—gives us a sense of being morally interesting:
If the Hutus are in Rwanda today (that is, if they currently suffer under the boot of the Kagame regime), it is because they deserve it. Get outta here, the mass is over!

6. Mega-propaganda, or the art of discrediting information coming from your enemy by treating it as ‘propaganda’, a subtle but effective method.

Accusations of ‘revisionism’, of ‘negationsim’, against academics, researchers, journalists, writers, witnesses whose opinions diverge from, or are only different from the consensus thinking, point up this evidence. The imposed version of history, where ‘the genocide was the work of the Hutus supported by the French’, is information. While the fact of placing this genocide in its historical context, that is, in the context of a civil war begun four years earlier, marked by horrible massacres on a massive scale (particularly those in which hundreds of thousands of Hutu were slaughtered by the Tutsi army in the forests of eastern Zaire in the winter of 1995-96), immediately hangs a revisionist or negationist jacket on you. Talk about double standards! Mega-propaganda has had its effect.

So the test of the Rwandan affair against the writings of the Tofflers or Vladimir Volkoff, is, as we have just seen, especially rich in reflection and very educational. There is no doubt that Rwanda is a wonderful lesson in disinformation.

It is not, however, a disinformation campaign without a strategic motive and a direct instigator with a keen interest in its success.

Considering Rwanda and Central Africa, it is important to remember that this little country today plays an essential role at the heart of the Great Lakes region of Africa, center stage, with an importance that is disproportionate to its slight demographic, its area or its natural assets. It would be appropriate in this regard to read the latest work of the British novelist and former MI6 agent, John Le Carré, ‘The Mission Song’. Here you will learn about all the important long-term strategies that have brought the Great Powers into this part of the Congo (the eastern provinces of the ex-Zaire, Kivu and Katanga, that are often described as a ‘geological scandal’!) in order to control the extraordinary variety of rare mineral resources, especially Coltan. The Rwanda of Paul Kagame, the ex-chief of the Tutsi ‘rebels’, trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who was also head of the Ugandan Special Services, is a faithful allie of the US. The country is a ‘product’ of the labors of Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda. He is the biggest player today in the game of military expropriation of the fabulous riches of the region.

Yes, the campaign of disinformation led against France for its role in Rwanda should not be minimized. Yes, it has achieved its objectives, on the one hand tactical: to take France out of the Great Lakes region; and strategic on the other: greatly and lastingly to weaken France’s influence, not just in the region, but in all of Africa. The results are there.

Paris 15 May 2008

TELL OBAMA series: Congo-Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth (part I) - by Col. Luc Marchal - And why CM/P is endorsing OBAMA/BIDEN for Prexy/V

TELL OBAMA series: Congo-Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth (part I) - by Col. Luc Marchal - And why CM/P is endorsing OBAMA/BIDEN for Prexy/Veep of the USA

[Here is our translation of the first part of the Luc Marchal article on Rwanda and Congo.

What seems to us important here is to note the seamless segue from the war against Soviet and Chinese Communism (long-since inseminated with its mutant offspring of the global War on Terrorism) into the militaristic and propagandistic campaigns to surround the world’s greatest repositories of natural treasure (esp Human and Energy resources), Russia (including its near abroad), China and Central Africa (esp. Congo), with bloody, militarized chaos accounting, just in the latter, for upward of 9 million victims throughout the region, including Sudan and the Horn of Africa, just since 1990.

These aggressions, which were all carried out against civilian populations—whether one considers the RPF’s unprovoked invasion of Rwanda from Uganda on 1 October 1990, or its subsequent second unprovoked, peacetime aggression, launched from its bases in Mulindi, inside northern Rwanda, after it had assassinated the two duly-elected (Hutu) presidents of Rwanda (Juvénal Habyarimana) and Burundi (Cyprien Ntaryamira) on 6 April 1994; or the EU/US/UK mercenary invasion of Yugoslavia at Borovo Selo, on the outskirts of Vukovar, in late 1991(to kick-off what is, perhaps, the first fully-privatized war); or the US/NATO/Israeli escalation of its long-running war in the Middle East with its internationally shunned and factually unjustified ‘shock and awe’ of Iraq in March 2003; or the Western-sponsored riots in Lhasa (western China) that saw ‘non-violent’ Tibetan monks staving in the heads of several young bicyclists, as well as cremating many other innocent bystanders, in the name of ‘Stopping the Chinese Communist Cultural (i.e., Neo-feudalist nostalgic) Genocide' of a would-be ‘Free Tibet’; or the US/NATO/Israeli-backed (even, perhaps, the McCain campaign-instigated) assault by its Georgian proxy, fresh from a truncated tour as the third largest national contingent in Iraq, on opening day of the Chinese Olympics (8/8/08—so much for Chinese good fortune cookies or the traditional Olympic truce) against the autonomous (but Russo-symp) region of South Ossetia, an area that has, according to my research, NEVER legally been a part of Georgia, killing 16 UN-authorized Russian peacekeepers and destroying much of the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali (and then, in keeping with the new media-militarism’s reverse-victimating mechanism, quickly miscaptioning images of this Ossetian destruction to describe Russian aggression against Georgia-proper): all these military aggressions were naked acts of terrorism again innocent women, children, men and the agèd, coming, as they did, in times of mutually-negotiated peace, and were all propagandistically inverted to blame the victim’s, usually, as with Marchal's Rwanda, by trivializing the real responsibility for these invasions.

The mass-media mantra was 'Regardless of who started it'--meaning 'let's not look at who the real aggressors were. Even our mainest candidate, Barack Obama, was heard to say on CNN with regard to the situation in Georgia, ‘No matter who started this . . . .’

So Col Marchal’s contribution to our series, Tell Obama, has much to teach us about the forces that are currently driving our cultures—have driven us all to the very edge of the abyss, and are seriously promising to push us over into the putrid swamp of perdition. We, here at CM/P, believe that as dim and as reeking of the residual bad faith of American party politics as his campaign within the Democratic machine might be, Barack Hussein Obama offers the last best hope for a whip-lashing change of course for our terminally intoxicated nation, a sharp virage toward a truer history and a clearer, cleaner, and saner sense of ourselves.

I strongly urge all my fellow ex-pats, especially those whom the comforts of exile may have lulled into a false sense of remove from the maraudings of Waste Capitalism that are currently threatening to extinguish all human life on the planet (even what we laughingly like to call ‘lower Republican life forms’), to take part in the coming elections and to vote, as stomach-wrenching as that may seem, for the Obama/Biden ticket.

Because not to vote—and to encourage others not to vote—is really not an effective way of criticizing or refusing dignity to this exercise in fausse-democracy. It is merely a self-deluded collaboration with the forces of those ancient war criminals and mystified cultish perverts who front for the murderous and self-devouring financial speculations that are currently doing the laddling at America's quadrennial Kool-Aid orgy. –mc]


Congo-Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth

At the very beginning of the 1990s, the US was facing an existential question that it had not had to confront since the end of WWII: What is the nature of the threat? In fact, following the implosion of the USSR, the global chessboard was fundamentally changed. The East-West confrontation had become a situation from which the strategies of all sides could take comfort.

Sunday 25 May 2008

The enemy had been precisely identified, its possibilities were known, as were its zones of interest and influence. Within such a well-defined geostrategic context, it was not very difficult to develop a global strategy.

On the other hand, the disappearance of the USSR, at this time, called for a fresh deck and a new strategic analysis. This new evaluation was developed, as predicted, at the very beginning of the 1990s. Altogether, the conclusion of this analysis was that until 2017 the US had nothing to fear from any rival anywhere on the globe. The logical outcome of this conclusion was that several vital zones were identified as indispensable to the maintenance of American hegemony. The Great Lakes region of Africa, with the immeasurable potential of its underground assets (as well as its geographic position in the center of the continent), took a prominent place on the Americans’ shopping list of strategic real estate. This reality became the starting point for the long and grueling trek this region of the world would embark on in the early 1990s.

This April 6 (2008) marks the 14th anniversary of the attack that claimed the lives of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, as well as several of their entourage and the flight crew of the presidential jet. While this attack was the spark that ignited the by-now well-known apocalypse, many have noted that not a single international organization (UN, OAU, even the EU) has yet seen fit to set up a process by which to identify those who ordered this terrorist act. Even though this double-assassination, and the succession of event issuing from it, have cost the lives of several million people (from 6 to 8 million, according to estimates). This attack also knocked the Great Lakes region from the French sphere of influence, where it had resided for almost a century, into the Anglo-Saxon sphere of influence. In further comparison, it is notable that merely a month and a half after the February 2005 attack in Beirut that killed the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, along with about 20 others, the UN Security Council authorized the establishment of an international investigative commission to gather evidence as to who was responsible for this killing. But for Rwanda and Burundi nothing has yet been done—and in the case of Burundi, this was the second democratically elected president to be assassinated in 6 months!

A veritable omerta, a code of silence, seems to have descended over the attack of 6 April 1994. And such an attitude is even less justifiable considering that no one today denies that it was the most important factor in triggering a long period of wars, massacres, of grief and suffering for the peoples of Rwanda and of the provinces of eastern Congo.

This enforced silence is also de rigueur in our own country. However, Belgium paid a heavy price after this attack. Ten Belgian [UN] Blue-Helmets were murdered in a most cowardly fashion, as were a dozen other of our compatriots in Rwanda. If the circumstances surrounding the killings of our nationals are not well known by all, the same cannot be said about our UN troops. If, in fact, the army thugs present at Camp Kigali rushed on our men to lynch them, it was because a Rwandan soldier, well known since 1994, fingered them as being responsible for the death of President Habyarimana. The terrorist attack of 6 April 1994 is thus the direct cause for the murders of our countrymen. Curiously, no Belgian politician has as yet proposed any kind of action that would demand answers to these two basic questions: Who ordered these killings, and who carried them out? Last year’s conviction and sentencing of Major Bernard Ntuyahaga to 20 years in prison by a Belgian jury has not answered any of the real questions about who was behind this attack.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) should not be expected to break this silence. Though it possesses all the elements needed to shed light on these questions. In 1997 the head of a team of investigators for the ICTR working in Kigali, Michael Hourigan, put together a file that clearly laid the blame for the assassinations of presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira on the current Rwandan government. It is interesting to note that in reality the initial aim of his investigation was to implicate Hutu extremists in this attack, but all the evidence Hourigan collected put the responsibility on the RPF. The ICTR Prosecutor at the time, Canadian Louise Arbour, put the ‘Hourigan Dossier’ into a drawer, but not before ordering Hourigan to cease immediately, and until further notice, his investigation and to destroy all documentation he had compiled, including his notes. A few years later, the Swiss jurist, Carla Del Ponte, who had succeeded Arbour as ICTR Prosecutor, took a look at the dossier (after a good deal of stalling, it is true) and expressed her intention to follow-up on it. She would live to regret this declaration, because the Kagame regime did not stop pressuring the UN and the Tribunal until finally in 2003, with the strong support of the US, it got Carla Del Ponte quite simply canned from her ICTR Prosecutor’s job and replaced by the Gambian, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, whose position with regard to the code of silence is doubtlessly more in conformity with Kigali’s than even Kagame could have hoped. Yet a number of international experts connected to the ICTR (Alison Des Forges, Filip Reyntjens, André Guichaoua, Elmut Strizek, Bernard Lugan, Robin Philpot) have persisted in their beliefs that the unilateral approach of the Tribunal is totally out of touch with the current state of knowledge. Their repeated appeals for more objectivity and justice remain unrequited, but for the constant response of the Prosecutor: We’re studying the question!

At present, things seem to be understood. The days of the Rwandan Tribunal are numbered, and at the end of this year [2008] all the trials currently in progress must be concluded [The UN has extended this deadline until the end of 2009—nb]. The purpose of this is clear: the ICTR will not have to take any action against the members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). This International Tribunal has always limited its proceedings to just one of the two sides in the 1994 conflict, and done so despite the growing body of evidence on the very significant role played by the RPF in the tragedy that struck (an continues to afflict) Rwanda and the provinces of eastern Congo. The ICTR was totally incapable of dealing with the challenge it was given. Carla Del Ponte, herself, has expressed some of this incapacity. In a book soon to be released, she directly accuses the US of reluctance to allow the legal pursuit of the RPF in power in Rwanda today. Another reaction to this failure of the ICTR is the research being done into the very spirit of the Tribunal. Its raison d’être is neither to render justice nor to work toward the discovery of the truth. It has been all about permitting the International Community, which permitted the horrors of 1994 to take place, to suave its bad conscience by condemning the losers as the only ones responsible for all the evil that took place in the armed conflict that led to Paul Kagame’s seizure of power in July 1994, despite his being a signatory to the Arusha Peace Accords of 1993.

The lack of a will to know on the part of the International Community is a further sad confirmation of the continuing degradation of the public mind through a system of enforced consensus dictated by those who have no interest in the truth’s being known. Yet, over the years, and like pieces of a puzzle, the testimonies of real boots-on-the-ground players have allowed us to gain a much more focused view of events, not only on the attack of 6 April 1994, but also on the war crimes, massacres and other exactions committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) since 1990. Let’s take a look at, among others, the testimonies of officers of the RPA like Jean-Pierre Mugabe, Aloys Ruyenzi and Abdul Ruzibiza. Let’s talk about those many Hutus and Tutsis who, for a certain period of time, believed that the RPF could represent the future of Rwanda, who, like good citizens, used their skills in the service of their country and who, due to their being disappointed (or, more exactly, sickened, revolted and threatened), had to flee into exile. All this exists and cannot be explained away by the cynical reasoning that they are renegades or deserters and, thus, men of low credibility. Anyway, that would be a pretty weak and slick invalidation of their testimonies

Let’s call it a conspiracy of silence. In this context, what would you think of the current legal proceedings against certain leaders of the RPF? Like those of French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière and his Spanish counterpart Fernando Andreu Merelles? Without getting into the details of these actions, for which there already exists an abundance of documentation, let’s look specifically at their findings, and at the reactions they have brought about. And let’s pay particular attention, at the onset, to the fact that Spain and France are states ruled by laws, where an independent judiciary can be considered a reality. Consequently, you must conclude that the findings of these courts resulted from criteria which conformed to the judicial ethics of these countries, members, like Belgium, of the European Union.

The findings of Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière

The investigation began in 1998 after a complaint against an unnamed party was filed by the daughter of one of the flight crew of the presidential Falcon 50, a complaint that other members of the victims’ families later joined. At the end of November 2006, Judge Bruguière, Chief Justice of the Appellate Court in Paris in charge of Anti-Terrorism, issued an order for 9 international arrest warrants in the names of close associates of Paul Kagame’s. As for the current president of Rwanda, himself, who is, of course, protected by executive immunity as a sitting head of state, he turned to the Secretary General of the UN demanding that the ICTR take over the execution of these warrants. This investigation went on over a period of eight years. No one could say that this was a rush to judgment. The Rwandan governmental authorities were well aware of what was going on with the case and reacted to it long before the warrants were ordered. In 2005 they threatened several times to pursue France legally for complicity in the genocide. Rwandan survivors filed complaints to this effect in Paris against the French Army. Then, in April 2006, a commission was set up to look into ‘the role of France before, during and after the genocide.’

Extending to nearly 70 pages, Judge Bruguière’s order is somewhat unusual in that it was not all about just issuing the international arrest warrants. The essential moment of the investigation in this case allowed him to merge his inquest with those being carried out by the National Anti-Terrorist Division (DNAT). And his conclusion is categorical: Paul Kagame was directly involved in the attack of 6 April 1994.

The reactions from Kigali were diverse, describing the report as being made up of ‘totally unfounded allegations’, being based on ‘gossip and rumors’, and reproaching French justice for being ‘politically, more than judicially, motivated in this case.’ Other reactions bordered on the surreal, as those of certain officials who contended that President Habyarimana and General Nsabimana, the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army [who also perished in the attack—nb], were legitimate targets in the context of an armed conflict. Forgetting, obviously, that the RPF had signed a peace agreement, and that the President of Burundi and other officials from both countries found themselves on board the Falcon 50. More concretely, Rwanda also broke off diplomatic relations with France, and, in March 2007, two Rwandan generals, charged by Judge Bruguière, filed complaints against him in the Belgian courts, which is the same as filing charges against the Belgian state. And last but not least, three months earlier, Judge Erik Møse, President of the ICTR at the time, and presiding judge in the ‘Military I’ trial, accepted the demand of defense attorneys to allow the Bruguière report, in its entirety, to be entered into the record as evidence for the four Rwandan officers charged in that case.

The findings of Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles

It was from a complaint from the International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, a complaint filed in February 2005, and to which different people and institutions were later joined, that Judge Merelles of the National Court of Madrid, the main criminal jurisdiction in Spain, began his investigation. It looked primarily into the murders of nine Spanish citizens committed in Rwanda between 1994 and 2000. These included six Catholic missionaries, a nurse, a doctor and a journalist. Based on the law of universal competence, the Spanish judge declared his authority to investigate these crimes. He also specified that if it turned out that these crimes were committed in a larger context (e.g., genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity), he would include these facts and their appropriate descriptions in his investigation. Remember that it was on the basis of this same universal competence that, in 1998, Spanish Judge Balthasar Garzon obtained the arrest in London of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

On 6 February 2008, the Spanish Judge issued 40 international arrest warrants for officers of the RPA. In the 181-page order, Merelles charges that the persons named in these warrants committed acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of terrorism on orders from President Paul Kagame. Because of his immunity from prosecution as a sitting head of state, Kagame, himself, was not the subject of a warrant.

In his conclusions, Judge Merelles charges the RPF with having put in place a veritable criminal system of government. He said that since it took power in Kigali in July 1994, the party has instituted an virtual reign of terror, not only by the structures of its dictatorial regime, but especially by the establishment of parallel structures responsible for committing heinous crimes against the civilian population, both Rwandans and foreigners. He went on to state that the goal of this policy was (and continues to be) the invasion and conquest of Congo, carried out under the cover of national security concerns, and permitting the RPF, among other things, to pillage the precious natural resources of its neighbor and, thus, maintain itself in power and enable itself to exercise a geopolitical domination over the whole region. Furthermore, Judge Merelles found that the crimes committed in 1994 were within the authority of the ICTR.

In reaction, the Rwandan government described these accusations as ‘ridiculous’. The Members of Parliament demanded that the government file a complaint against the Spanish judge for ‘genocide denial’. This time President Kagame, himself, leapt to the defense. He knows, for a fact, that the Spanish investigation is much more dangerous to him than the French one. Unlike France, Spain is not politically involved in the Rwandan situation. It would, thus, be much more difficult to discredit its judicial action. And what is more, eight of the murdered Spanish nationals were clergymen and humanitarians. None could be taken for a ‘legitimate target’! In various speeches, Paul Kagame has denounced the ‘arrogance’ of the Spanish judge, condemned the idea that anyone in the West ‘could try and play God’, and insisted that the Rwandan people would never accept ‘being trampled on’ and that those being accused ‘are the very ones who put a stop to the genocide’.

The judicial actions with regard to the responsibility of the RPA for war crimes and crimes against humanity are likely to continue. The families of two Canadian clergymen, Fathers Claude Simard and Guy Pinard, murdered in Rwanda in 1994 and 1997, have demanded that legal authorities in their country establish the means to search for those who killed their loved ones. On this subject, one can only be confounded by the large number of clergymen and women (Rwandan and foreign) murdered by the RPA after the beginning of the war in 1994. Recall, among others, the deliberate killings of four bishops and more than ten priests and nuns in Gakurazo (the diocese of Kabgayi) on 5 June 1994.


If the reality of the events had conformed to the official version we were given fourteen years ago, it would be reasonable to think that, despite the unusual dimensions of the events that shook the Great Lakes region after 1990, the situation would, after all this time, have stabilized. It is obvious that this is far from being the case. So, rather than continuing in this iniquitous uncertainty, would it not be more responsible to try and answer all these many and persistent questions? That someone wants to know what really happened is no reason automatically to label him or her a revisionist or negationist. It is not about trying to exonerate those who took part in the genocide of 1994, at whatever level. It is, however, appropriate to admit that we find ourselves in a situation that is, to say the least, paradoxical. On the one hand, for more than ten years the ICTR has been in session and despite the millions of dollars spent on trying to demonstrate that there was planning for the genocide, one can not help but notice (whether one agrees or not) that the Tribunal in Arusha has not been able to produce any evidence of such planning. It is not a matter here of mere point of view or of some gratuitous affirmation, but of an undeniable fact.

On the other hand, a passel of convergent testimony from every corner of the earth casts serious doubt on the actual role of those who pretend to have stopped the genocide. So, isn’t it time to take a closer look at these things? Just imagine the height of a pile of 6 to 8 million corpses. Isn’t it time finally to deliver justice for these millions of victims of the thirst for power in some and the reprehensible indifference in many others? Isn’t it time that those who plunged the African Great Lakes and their populations into chaos (and also those who keep them in it) finally answered for their acts directly to their victims, but also to History? How much longer will we tolerate those who assume the right to teach the whole world, while everything demonstrates (until proven otherwise) that they are among the most responsible for this holocaust that has degraded all of humanity?

[by Luc MARCHAL is a Colonel in the Belgian Army and a former Commander in the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Rwanda (UNAMIR)

Luc Marchal
Former Commander
Kigali Sector-UNAMIR
April 2008


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Congo-Rwanda : la difficile recherche de la vérité. (partie I) - par Col Luc Marchal

Congo-Rwanda : la difficile recherche de la vérité. (partie I) - par Col Luc Marchal

[Voici le premier volet de l'article par le Col. Luc Marchal, ancien commandant de la force de maintien de la paix au Rwanda (Minuar). Ce que m'étonne ici c'est comment un grand nombre des intellos franco-belges continuent d'éviter les faits criants d'une histoire que leur impliqués plus en plus dans une occultation d’un crime la plus énorme d'histoire moderne—l’extermination de presque 9 millions d’âmes. Surtout le camp libéral anti-impérialiste (‘Arrêtez la putain génocide’) se brise le dos en portant le fardeau des mensonges dictés par leurs propres ennemis les impérialistes eux-mêmes. Pourquoi le Réseau Voltaire de Thierry Meyssan, ou Survie de Jean Carbonare puis François-Xavier Verschave, ou la taupe de FPR dans le CNRS Jean-Pierre Chrétien, ou l'Atlas alternatif de Frédéric Delorca, ou même mon très cher ami belge Michel Collon persistent de faire semblant d'être totalement ignorant de cet ouragan d’information innocentant le gouvernement Habyarimana et inculpant dans ces meurtres le FPR de Paul Kagamé—car négliger cette vraie histoire convertie toute leur analyse sur l'Afrique Centrale en désinformation. Et leurs services deviennent directement pour les intérêts géopolitiques des EU (le sujet du prochain livre de Pierre Péan) –mc]

Congo-Rwanda : la difficile recherche de la vérité.

Tout début des années 90, les États-Unis sont confrontés à une question existentielle qu'ils n'avaient plus eu l'occasion de se poser depuis la fin de la II GM : quelle est la nature de la menace ? En effet, suite à l'implosion de l'ex-URSS, l'échiquier mondial se trouve fondamentalement modifié. La confrontation Est-Ouest constituait pour les stratèges de tous bords une situation finalement confortable.

Le dimanche 25 mai 2008

L'ennemi était parfaitement identifié, ses possibilités étaient connues, il en était de même pour ses zones d'intérêt et d'influence. Dès lors, à partir d'un contexte géostratégique assez bien défini, il n'y avait guère de difficulté de développer une stratégie globale.

Par contre l'effacement de l'ex-URSS, à l'époque, brouillait les cartes et nécessitait une nouvelle évaluation stratégique. Celle-ci se déroula, comme signalé, au tout début des années '90. En synthèse, la conclusion de cette évaluation fut que jusqu'en 2017, les USA n'avaient à craindre aucune rivalité à la surface du globe. Conséquence logique de cette conclusion, plusieurs zones à caractère vital furent identifiées comme indispensables pour assurer le maintien de cette hégémonie américaine. La région des Grands Lacs, avec les potentialités inestimables de son sous-sol (mais aussi vu sa position centrale sur le continent africain), figurait en bonne place dans la shopping list des stratèges américains. Cette réalité constitue le point de départ du long calvaire que connaît cette région du globe depuis le début des années 90.

Ce 6 avril 2008 nous en étions au 14me anniversaire de l'attentat qui coûta la vie aux présidents du Rwanda et du Burundi, ainsi qu'à plusieurs de leurs collaborateurs et des membres de l'équipage de l'avion présidentiel. Alors que cet attentat fut l'étincelle qui déclencha l'apocalypse que nous connaissons, force nous est de constater qu'aucune instance internationale (ONU, OUA, voire UE) n'a jugé bon, depuis, de mettre en œuvre les moyens nécessaires afin de pouvoir identifier les commanditaires de cet acte terroriste. Celui-ci est cependant à l'origine d'une succession d'événements qui coûtèrent la vie à plusieurs millions de personnes (de 6 à 8 millions selon les estimations). Cet attentat a permis, aussi, de faire basculer la région des Grands Lacs dans la zone d'influence de pays anglo-saxons, alors que depuis pratiquement un siècle l'influence prédominante y était francophone. Par comparaison, remarquons qu'un mois et demi à peine après l'attentat de février 2005 qui coûta la vie à l'ex-Premier ministre libanais, Rafic Hariri, ainsi qu'à une vingtaine d'autres personnes, le Conseil de Sécurité de l'ONU autorisa la mise sur pied d'une commission d'enquête internationale afin de mettre en évidence les responsabilités en la matière. Pour le Rwanda et le Burundi toujours rien, alors que pour ce dernier pays ce n'était que le second président démocratiquement élu qui était assassiné en l'espace de 6 mois !

Une véritable omerta semble frapper l'attentat du 6 avril 1994. Pareille attitude est d'autant moins justifiable que plus personne ne nie aujourd'hui qu'il fut bien le facteur déclenchant d'une longue période de guerres, de massacres, de souffrances et de deuil pour les populations du Rwanda et des provinces orientales du Congo.

Cette loi du silence est également de rigueur dans notre pays. Pourtant la Belgique a payé un lourd tribut suite à cet attentat. Dix casques bleus belges furent lâchement assassinés, de même que douze compatriotes qui vivaient au Rwanda. Si les circonstances de l'assassinat de nos expatriés ne sont pas connues pour tous, il n'en va pas de même pour nos casques bleus. En effet, si la soldatesque présente au camp Kigali s'est précipitée sur eux pour les lyncher, c'est parce qu'un militaire rwandais, parfaitement identifié depuis 1994, les a désignés comme étant les responsables de la mort du président Habyarimana. L'attentat du 6 avril 1994 est donc bien la cause directe du massacre de nos compatriotes. Paradoxalement aucun responsable politique belge n'a initié, jusqu'à ce jour, une quelconque action afin d'exiger que réponse soit enfin donnée à ces deux questions élémentaires : quels sont les commanditaires et qui sont les exécuteurs ? Et ce n'est pas la condamnation, l'an dernier, du Major Bernard Ntuyahaga à vingt ans de réclusion par un jury populaire qui apporte le moindre élément de réponse aux véritables interrogations sur les rouages de cet attentat.

Ce n'est pas non plus le Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda (TPIR) qui va briser cette loi du silence. Pourtant il dispose de tous les éléments qui lui permettraient de faire la clarté sur la question. Dès 1997 le chef d'une équipe d'enquêteurs du TPIR travaillant à Kigali, Michael Hourigan, avait constitué un dossier dont les éléments mettaient l'actuel régime de Kigali en cause dans l'assassinat des présidents Habyarimana et Ntaryamira. Il est intéressant de savoir qu'en réalité son enquête visait à établir l'implication des extrémistes hutus dans cet attentat, mais que les éléments recueillis pointèrent la responsabilité du Front patriotique. Le "dossier Hourigan" fut mis dans un tiroir par la Procureur du TPIR, la canadienne Louise Arbour , non sans avoir au préalable intimé l'ordre à Michael Hourigan d'arrêter, sine die, ses investigations et de détruire tous les documents s'y rapportant. Quelques années plus tard, la suissesse Carla Del Ponte, nouvelle Procureur du TPIR, ressortit le dossier (après pas mal de tergiversations il est vrai) et exprima son intention d'y donner suite. Mal lui en pris car le régime du président Kagame ne cessa d'exercer des pressions, tant et si bien qu'il obtint en 2003, avec l'appui des USA, l'éviction pure et simple de Carla Del Ponte comme Procureur du TPIR et son remplacement par le gambien Hassan Bubacar Jallow dont la position par rapport à l'omerta est sans doute plus conforme à ce que certains souhaitent qu'elle soit. Pourtant de nombreux experts internationaux auprès du TPIR (Alison Des Forges, Filip Reyntjens , André Guichaoua , Elmut Strizek, Bernard Lugan , Robin Philpot ) expriment avec insistance leur sentiment que l'approche unilatérale du Tribunal est en total déphasage par rapport à l'état des connaissances actuelles. Leurs appels répétés à plus d'objectivité et de justice restent sans écho, si ce n'est l'invariable réponse du Procureur : nous étudions la question !

Les choses semblent, à présent, entendues. Les jours du TPIR sont comptés et fin de cette année les procès en première instance doivent être terminés. La conclusion est claire : le TPIR ne mènera aucune poursuite contre des membres du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR). Ce Tribunal international aura donc limité son action à une seule des deux parties impliquées dans le conflit de 1994 et ce, malgré la multiplication des indices concrets au sujet du rôle déterminant joué par le FPR dans la tragédie qui frappa (et frappe toujours du reste) le Rwanda et les provinces orientales du Congo. Le TPIR a bel et bien été incapable de relever le défi historique qui était le sien. Un élément de réponse à cette incapacité vient d'être donné par Carla Del Ponte, elle-même. Dans un livre qui doit paraître incessamment, elle met directement en cause les États-Unis pour leurs réticences à laisser poursuivre le FPR au pouvoir au Rwanda. Un autre élément de réponse à cet échec du TPIR est à rechercher dans l'esprit même de ce Tribunal. Sa raison d'être n'est ni de rendre la justice ni d'œuvrer pour la manifestation de la vérité. Il s'agit surtout de permettre à cette communauté internationale, qui a laissé se produire l'innommable en 1994, de se donner à présent moins mauvaise conscience en laissant condamner, comme seuls responsables de tous les maux, les vaincus du conflit armé par lequel Paul Kagame s'est emparé du pouvoir en juillet 1994 et ce, malgré les accords de paix d'Arusha auxquels il avait lui-même souscrit.

Cette absence de volonté de savoir de la communauté internationale n'est que la triste confirmation qu'elle se trouve toujours sous l'emprise d'un système de pensée unique que tentent d'imposer ceux qui n'ont aucun intérêt à ce que la vérité soit connue. Pourtant, au fil des années et tels les pièces d'un puzzle, les témoignages de nombreux acteurs de terrain nous ont permis d'acquérir une vision beaucoup plus pertinente, non seulement concernant l'attentat du 6 avril 1994, mais également sur les crimes de guerre, les massacres et autres exactions commises par l'armée patriotique rwandaise (APR) depuis 1990. Citons, entre autres, les témoignages faits par des militaires de l'APR tels que Jean-Pierre Mugabe, Aloys Ruyenzi et Abdul Ruzibiza. Mentionnons aussi ceux de nombreux Hutus et Tutsis qui ont cru pendant un certain temps que le FPR pouvait représenter un avenir pour le Rwanda, qui ont de façon citoyenne mis leurs aptitudes au service de leur pays et qui déçus (ou plus exactement : écoeurés, révoltés ou menacés) ont dû reprendre le chemin de l'exil. Tout ceci existe et ne peut pas être chassé d'un simple revers de la main sous prétexte qu'il s'agit de transfuges ou de déserteurs, donc par définition des gens peu crédibles. Un peu court quand même comme seule argumentation pour évacuer leurs témoignages.

Conspiration du silence, disions-nous. Que pensez, dans ce contexte, des procédures judiciaires en cours à l'égard de plusieurs responsables du FPR ? Celle du juge français Jean-Louis Bruguière et celle de son collègue espagnol Fernando Andreu Merelles.. Sans entrer dans le détail de ces deux procédures, au sujet desquelles il existe une abondante documentation, voyons succinctement leurs spécificités et les réactions qu'elles ont entraînées. Soulignons, en guise de remarque liminaire, que l'Espagne comme la France sont des États de droit dans lesquels l'indépendance des pouvoirs peut être considérée comme une réalité. Par conséquent on doit intellectuellement admettre que les instructions qui ont été menées l'ont été en fonction de critères conformes à l'éthique judiciaire de ces pays, membres comme la Belgique de l'Union Européenne.

L'instruction du juge Jean-Louis Bruguière

L'enquête fut initiée en 1998 suite à une plainte contre X déposée initialement par la fille d'un des membres de l'équipage du Falcon présidentiel, plainte à laquelle se sont jointes également d'autres membres des familles. Fin novembre 2006, le juge Bruguière, Premier vice-président du Tribunal de grande instance de Paris en charge de la coordination antiterroriste, rend une ordonnance par laquelle il demande que 9 mandats d'arrêt internationaux soient décernés à l'encontre de proches collaborateurs de Paul Kagame. Quant au président en exercice du Rwanda, couvert par son immunité de chef d'Etat, il se tourne vers le Secrétaire Général de l'ONU préconisant que le TPIR prenne le relais des poursuites. L'instruction couvre donc une période de huit ans. On peut, à tout le moins, reconnaître qu'il n'y a pas eu précipitation dans la méthode de travail. Les autorités gouvernementales rwandaises se rendirent parfaitement compte de la portée réelle de la procédure en cours et réagirent bien avant que l'ordonnance ne soit rendue. En 2005 elles menacèrent à différentes reprises la France de poursuites judiciaires pour complicité de génocide. Effectivement des plaintes furent déposées en ce sens à Paris, par des rescapés rwandais, contre l'armée française. Ensuite, en avril 2006, une commission fut mise sur pied pour enquêter sur "le rôle de la France avant, pendant et après le génocide".

Longue de près de 70 pages, l'ordonnance signée par le juge Bruguière est plutôt inhabituelle en ce sens qu'il n'était pas tenu de motiver l'émission de mandats d'arrêt internationaux. Mais ce moment essentiel dans l'instruction du dossier lui permet de faire une synthèse des investigations conduites avec la division nationale antiterroriste (DNAT). Sa conclusion est catégorique : l'implication de Paul Kagame dans l'attentat du 6 avril 1994 est directe.

Les réactions de Kigali vont en sens divers, qualifiant l'ordonnance "d'allégations totalement infondées", basée sur "des ragots et des rumeurs" et reprochant à la justice française d'être "plus motivée politiquement que judiciairement dans cette affaire". D'autres réactions frisent le surréalisme, certains officiels affirmant que le président Habyarimana et le général Nsabimana, le chef d'état-major des forces armées rwandaises, étaient des cibles légitimes dans le cadre d'un conflit armé. Oubliant sans doute que le FPR avait signé des accords de paix et que le président du Burundi et d'autres officiels des deux pays se trouvaient à bord du Falcon 50. Plus concrètement le Rwanda rompt également ses relations diplomatiques avec la France et en mars 2007 deux généraux rwandais, inculpés par le juge Bruguière, déposent plainte contre lui devant la justice belge, de même que contre l'Etat belge. Last but not least, trois mois auparavant le Juge Møse, président du TPIR à l'époque et président de la Chambre compétente dans le procès dit "Militaires I", accepte à la demande des avocats de la défense de verser l'ordonnance du juge Bruguière, dans son intégralité, comme pièce au dossier des quatre officiers rwandais inculpés dans ce procès.

L'instruction du juge Fernando Andreu Merelles. C'est sur plainte du Forum international pour la vérité et la justice dans l'Afrique des Grands Lacs, plainte déposée en février 2005 et à laquelle se sont jointes également diverses personnes et institutions, que le juge Merelles de l'Audience nationale de Madrid, la principale juridiction pénale espagnole, a débuté ses investigations. Celles-ci font suite, notamment, aux assassinats de neuf ressortissants espagnols perpétrés au Rwanda entre 1994 et 2000. Il s'agit de six missionnaires catholiques, d'une infirmière, d'un médecin et d'un journaliste. C'est sur base de la loi de compétence universelle que la justice espagnole s'est déclarée compétente pour enquêter sur ces crimes. Le juge précise aussi que s'il s'avère que ces crimes ont été commis dans un contexte plus large (génocide, crimes de guerre, crimes contre l'humanité) il englobera alors ces faits et la qualification appropriée dans son enquête. Rappelons que c'est sur base de cette même loi de compétence universelle que le juge espagnol Balthasar Garzon avait obtenu, en 1998, l 'arrestation à Londres de l'ancien dictateur chilien Augusto Pinochet.

Le 6 février de cette année, le juge espagnol délivre 40 mandats d'arrêt internationaux à l'encontre d'officiers de l'APR. Dans un arrêt circonstancié de 181 pages, il estime que les personnes visées ont commis des actes de génocide, crimes contre l'humanité, crimes de guerre et terrorisme sur ordre du président Kagame. Ce dernier bénéficie de l'immunité que lui confère sa fonction et n'est donc pas l'objet d'un mandat d'arrêt.

Dans ses conclusions, le juge accuse le FPR d'avoir mis en place une véritable méthode criminelle. Il estime que depuis sa prise du pouvoir à Kigali, en juillet 1994, le parti a créé un véritable règne de la terreur, non seulement par la structure même de son régime dictatorial, mais surtout par la mise en place de structures parallèles responsables de crimes odieux commis contre la population civile, tant nationale qu'étrangère. Le point culminant de cette politique, poursuit-il, est la politique d'invasion et de conquête du Congo qui, sous couvert de motif sécuritaire, devait permettre, entre autres, la réalisation du pillage des ressources naturelles précieuses, de sorte à se maintenir au pouvoir et exercer une domination géostratégique sur la région. Le juge relève par ailleurs que les crimes commis en 1994 sont du ressort du TPIR.

En réaction, le gouvernement rwandais qualifie de "ridicules" ces mises en accusation. Quant aux Députés ils demandent au gouvernement de poursuivre le juge espagnol en justice "pour négation du génocide". Cette fois le président Kagame en personne monte au créneau. En effet, il sait que l'enquête espagnole est beaucoup plus dangereuse pour lui que l'enquête française. A l'inverse de la France, l'Espagne n'est pas impliquée politiquement dans la problématique rwandaise. Il sera dès lors plus difficile de jeter le discrédit sur sa démarche. En outre, huit des ressortissants espagnols assassinés étaient des religieux et des humanitaires. Rien à voir avec des "cibles légitimes" ! A l'occasion de diverses interventions, Paul Kagame fustige "l'arrogance" du juge espagnol, stigmatise le fait que d'aucuns en Occident "se mettent à la place de Dieu", que le peuple rwandais n'acceptera jamais "d'être mis à terre et piétiné" et que ceux qui sont accusés "sont ceux-là même qui ont arrêté le génocide".

Les actions en justice à l'égard de responsables de l'APR, pour crime de guerre et crime contre l'humanité risquent de se poursuivre. Les familles de deux religieux canadiens, les pères Claude Simard et Guy Pinard, assassinés au Rwanda en 1994 et 1997, demandent à présent aussi aux autorités de leur pays de mettre en œuvre les moyens pour rechercher les auteurs du meurtre de leurs proches. A ce sujet, on ne peut qu'être interpellé par le nombre élevé de religieux (Rwandais et étrangers) assassinés par l'APR depuis le début de la guerre en 1994. Rappelons, entre autres, les assassinats délibérés de quatre évêques et de plus de dix prêtres et religieux à Gakurazo (diocèse de Kabgayi) le 5 juin 1994.


Si la réalité des choses avait été conforme à la version officielle qui nous est présentée depuis plus de quatorze années, il y a fort à penser que malgré la dimension hors normes des événements qui secouent la région des Grands Lacs depuis 1990, la situation se serait malgré tout stabilisée au fil du temps. Force nous est de constater que c'est loin d'être le cas. Alors plutôt que d'entretenir cette incertitude inique, ne serait-il pas plus responsable de tenter de répondre aux nombreuses interrogations qui persistent ? Ce n'est pas parce que l'on souhaite savoir ce qui s'est réellement passé que l'on doit être automatiquement taxé de révisionnisme ou de négationnisme. Il n'est pas question d'exonérer de leurs responsabilités ceux qui ont été les acteurs du génocide de 1994, à quelque niveau que ce soit. Il y a cependant lieu de pouvoir admettre que nous nous trouvons face à une situation pour le moins paradoxale. D'une part, depuis plus de dix ans que le TPIR fonctionne et malgré les millions de dollars dépensés pour tenter de démontrer qu'il y a bien eu planification du génocide, on ne peut que constater (que l'on soit d'accord ou pas) que le Tribunal d'Arusha n'a pas été en mesure de produire la moindre preuve de cette planification. Il ne s'agit pas ici d'un point de vue ou d'une affirmation gratuite, mais d'un fait incontestable.

D'autre part, un faisceau convergent de témoignages provenant de tous horizons jette un doute sérieux sur le véritable rôle de celui qui prétend avoir arrêté le génocide. Dès lors, ne serait-il pas temps de regarder les choses en face ? Imaginons seulement la hauteur d'un tas de 6 à 8 millions de cadavres. Ne serait-il pas temps de rendre enfin justice à ces millions de victimes de la soif de pouvoir de certains et de l'indifférence coupable de beaucoup d'autres ? Ne serait-il pas temps que ceux qui ont délibérément précipité l'Afrique des Grands Lacs et ses populations dans le chaos (et aussi ceux qui les y maintiennent) répondent enfin de leurs actes vis-à-vis de leurs victimes, mais aussi vis-à-vis de l'Histoire ? Jusques à quand va-t-on tolérer que d'aucuns s'arrogent le droit de faire la leçon au monde entier alors que tout démontre (jusqu'à preuve du contraire) qu'ils sont parmi les principaux responsables de cet holocauste qui jette le discrédit sur l'ensemble de l'humanité ?

(Par Luc MARCHAL, Colonel des forces armées belges, ancien commandant de la force de maintien de la paix au Rwanda (Minuar))
Luc Marchal
Ancien commandant
Secteur Kigali-MINUAR
Avril 2008

Congo-Rwanda: The difficult search for the Truth (part II) -- by Col Luc Marchal (translated from the French by CM/P)

Congo-Rwanda: The difficult search for the Truth (part II) -- by Col Luc Marchal (translated from the French by CM/P)

[Here is our English translation of Belgian Col. Luc Marchal’s piece (posted here below) about the current state of Truth and Justice in Central Africa, and its relationship to the so-called ‘civilized’ world. Much of this information will not be new to CM/Pers—Chris Black, Peter Erlinder, David Barouski, and Keith Harmon Snow, have all contributed articles about the current Rwandan regime’s belligerence in obstructing a full disclosure of the real history of the troubled African Great Lakes region. With all that I've read and posted here—Maitre Black's pulling the covers off the murder of PM Agathe and the phony Dallaire genocide fax on which many dim scribblers like Phillip Gourevitch, Linda Melvern, and even my mainest pulpist, Elmore Leonard, have based their analyses of the Rwandan genocide; Professor Erlinder’s work, much cited below by Col Marchal, on the cover-up of the real causes of the Rwandan troubles, has recently been posted here; David Barouski’s interview with a Rwandan genocide survivor is invaluable to any understanding of these hideous events; and Mr. Snow’s accounts of the financial and commercial machinations behind both the industrialized carnage in Rwanda/Congo and the big studio spectacles it has generated, are important sources for the CM/P seminar on ‘Movies and the (un)Making of History’ (to be presented in Berlin at the end of October 2008)—it is difficult to imagine how most of the world continues listlessly to subscribe to the mawkishly, absurdly racist melodrama, a grotesquerie of neighbors senselessly hacking 8000-per-day of their fellows to death with farm implements, driven by nothing more nor less than pure, aboriginal tribal venom, that the wanton polluters of Human consciousness have so unscrupulously, yet methodically and persistently, foisted on us.

But this animosity toward Real History is far from unique to Rwanda or Central Africa. In fact, it is one of many parallels to the development of the Capitalist wars against Russia and China, and, for that matter, against all other popular, rational and decent governments throughout the world. Congo, like Russia and its near abroad, or China, is an unimaginably huge and rich storehouse of natural (including human, but especially energy) resources, and has for a long time been the target of Waste Capitalist (Imperialist) conquest.

In saner days, all the goals espoused by Western waste culture would have been pursued through political and diplomatic negotiations—just as in the 1930s the USSR sought through innumerable treaties to outlaw armed aggression as a means of settling international disputes. But since WWII, the world has found itself locked in a struggle for nothing less than the continued existence of Human Life. The death wish of advanced waste Capitalism, as expressed in its irrevocable economic dependence on arms production—production for destruction—has superceded all other socio-economic considerations. Just as it will be impossible for the next US president, whoever he may be, to put an end to any of the by now fully privatized imperialist crusades (nb—If Obama were to withdraw the complete US military contingent from Iraq, what would become of the even more numerous Private Military Contractors who are the chief stokers of that desert fire?), nothing can or will be achieved geopolitically lest it result from—and result in—the further expansion and intensification of military violence. No matter how strenuously Russia or China might advocate outlawing international war, the Western wasting forces will continue to attack them, both militarily and informationally (as in the cases of South Ossetia and Tibet), to kill their citizens and servicepeople, and to seize their territory—not so much for the seizure, domination and exploitation of their resources, but really for the advancement of their own militarism, the advanced placement of their military bases and weapons systems—and then they will reverse the charges for these aggressions onto their victims.

Rwanda has become a kind of micro-history for this deadly dynamic that has blazed a bloody path through the 20 century: Only the millions of victims of the on going anti-fascist struggles in the USSR (Russia) and China could dwarf the death tolls in Rwanda/Burundi/Congo—something like 9 million since 1990.

And the Belgian Officer Luc Marchal has singularly valuable first hand, boots-on-the-ground, experience with the real horrors of Western wastage. His insights as to the political utilization by the US/UK/EU and Israel of a flaccid unto lifeless system of international law as a cover for their continuing military aggressions, and their further institutionalization of a reverse-victimating gambit in their promotion of the vapid legal notions of 'Victims Rights' and 'Victims Justice', give his presentation here a very special pertinence today. —mc]


Congo-Rwanda: The difficult search for the Truth (part II)

In a recent article, we discussed how much more laborious has become the search for the truth of the tragedy that, for so many years, has befallen the peoples of Rwanda and the east of Congo. Briefly, here are the areas we discussed:

1. The involvement of the US in the events that effected this region since the early 1990s;

2. The total lack of will on the part of the international community to shed light on the attack of 6 April 1994 in which presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira perished, the attack that marked the beginning of a holocaust of 6 to 8 million African souls;

3. The disaster produced by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which, contrary to the mandate conferred on it by the UN Security Council, has contented itself with rendering a biased and costly form of justice;

4. The independent investigations carried out by French and Spanish judges.

As if echoing the concerns expressed in that article, several unique events have occurred since its writing. These events confirm the pertinence of our analysis and preoccupations. So it seems a good time to comment on certain of these and, in that way, to update this information.

The manifesto of Professor Peter Erlinder

Peter Erlinder is a professor at Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is also president of ADAD, the Association of Defense Attorneys, at the ICTR and lead counsel to Major Ntabakuze in the Military I case. He has recently published a document containing the results of several years of his experience arguing before this court of International Justice. In reality, it is more of an indictment laying out the missteps of this institution that has strayed from its prescribed role by adopting a thoroughly partisan attitude. This work contains no real surprises for those who have closely followed the work of the ICTR. However, the truly shocking testimony does not seem to have much concerned the world, except those who remain irrevocably committed to the universal principles of Peace and Justice. Which is certainly the case with the RPP.

1. The one-way vision of the Prosecutor

With regard to the knowledge gained since 1994 as to the importance and pertince of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), it is undeniable that the Prosecutor, by pursuing only one of the protagonists in the Rwandan conflict, has not fulfilled the mandate conferred by the UN Security Council. This mandate authorized the prosecution of all crimes committed in Rwanda during 1994. This is what led professor Erlinder to the following conclusion: either the Rwandan war was the only war in human history during which only one side was guilty of international crimes, or the ICTR has been manipulated for political reasons. Let’s just let the former ICTR Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, respond to these two assertions: It is not right that our work should be undercut by politics. It is painful to realize how we have trivialized the principles of international justice because Kagame signed an agreement with the US. We can no longer be certain as to why the work of the Tribunal was corrupted and who cut short the work that was to be done here.

However, in August 1994, the ’Gersony Report’ (the only independent investigation to be conducted in Rwanda after the seizure of power by the Rwandan Patriotic Front—RPF) informed the highest UN authorities that mass killings of the Hutu population had been committed by the RPA. No follow-up to this report was ever initiated, and it remained out of circulation for several years. On the other hand, in October 1994, Kofi Annan (at the time head of the UN Office of Peacekeeping) and Brian Atwood of the US administration directly intervened with Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana (Foreign Minister under the RPF government) to cover up the crimes committed by the RPA. Former Minister Ndagijimana testified to this fact before the ICTR.

There are also other facts, all verifiable, presented in Professor Erlinder’s treatise demonstrating that while a large number of important political and military figures from the previous Rwandan government were locked up in Arusha, the Prosecutor was in possession of all the elements necessary to bring similar charges against several leading figures in the RPF and its military arm, the RPA.

2. The US, the UK and Paul Kagame or the Cosa Nostra

The unconditional protection offered, principally by the US, to Paul Kagame has created a total impunity at the heart of the ICTR that has well served the political and military authorities of the Kigali regime for the last thirteen years. So it should not be surprising that in July 2003 Carla Del Ponte announced her office was in possession of sufficient evidence to bring charges against members of the Kagame government, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Kofi Annan (by then Secretary General of the UN), both of whom were mouthpieces for Kagame’s demands and had openly expressed their beliefs that Carla Del Ponte should be relieved of her duties as ICTR Prosecutor.

Still in this context, President Bush put himself into the game by rushing Pierre Prosper, his ambassador-at-large for war crimes, off to Arusha. His mission was to order Carla Del Ponte to cease all legal actions against the RPF. As to what the deeper purpose of this move was, the answer could not have been clearer: to serve the strategic interests of the US in Central Africa.

We know what happened to Carla Del Ponte. As to the current ICTR Prosecutor, Assan Bubacar Jallow, his position on the case is quite simple: his office has studied the question, and in his judgment, the double-presidential assassination of 6 April 1994 does not fall within the legal mandate of the ICTR. Such clairvoyance will doubtless keep him from a fate like that of Carla Del Ponte’s.

3. The despoiling of the riches of Congo

Another subject treated by Peter Erlinder is the Rwandan-Ugandan looting of the riches of eastern Congo and, as a direct result, causing millions of Congolese deaths during the years of war there. This aspect of the problem is illuminated by a report from UN experts who, in 2003, clearly identified Paul Kagame as one of the kingpins of the chaos that is still being visited on this part of Congo.

And he concludes that the image of ‘democratic liberators’ that prevailed in 1994, has absolutely nothing to do with the true character of the government in place in Kigali.

4. The attack on 6 April 1994

As the lead counsel for one of the main defendants in the Military I trial, Peter Erliner has had direct access to important documentation of the events that took place in the Great Lakes region of Africa after 1990. Having dedicated a good deal of time to the study of this information, his conclusions are categorical: not only is there a deliberate will to cover up the truth of this pretended crusade of liberation by the RPF forces in 1994, but, moreover, the ICTR is also in possession of evidence that puts the responsibility for the double-assassination of presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira directly on Paul Kagame.

One of the consequences of this revelation by the ICTR is that charging solely those who were vanquished in 1994 makes any possibility of reconciliation among the Rwandan people pure illusion. And furthermore, this attitude makes the recurrence of such a tragedy highly possible. It is just a little ironic that this institution, that is supposed to bring about justice, would, through its actions, engender and exacerbate deep feelings of injustice in the hearts of the majority of Rwandan people.

In concluding his dissertation, Professor Erlinder stresses that though the ICTR was originally conceived as an independent institution, it will remain historically a Tribunal that has come to be a weapon of retaliation in the hands of the victors in the war of 1994, who, at all costs and by any means, have assured the total impunity of a leader who, in the Rwandan bi-monthly ‘UMUCO’ (actually published in Rwanda!), recently was compared to Adolf Hitler.

The massacre at Gakurazo or the enormous incoherence of the ICTR Prosecutor

In our previous article we discussed the killing of several Rwandan priests by the RPA at Gakurazo on 5 June 1994. A few days after the publication of the article, the authorities in Kigali announced the arrests of four suspects in the massacre. In a surprising fashion and without really taking the time to reflect, the ICTR Prosecutor withdrew from the case and ceded all authority to the Rwandan judiciary. Shocking on more than one account. On the one hand, the Arusha Tribunal has precedence over national judiciaries as to incriminating evidence. On the other, this way of proceeding is totally contrary to the Prosecutor’s own charging strategy against the accused. In fact, in the Military II trial, the former Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces, Augustin Bizimungu, and the former Chief of the Rwandan Gendarmerie, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, are charged with the exactions and crimes committed by their subordinates. How do you explain that, on one side, certain commanders are to be held responsible for the misdeeds of their subordinates, but not on the other?

And last but not least, the ICTR’s transferring of its authority to adjudicate the crimes committed by the troops of the RPA to the Rwandan justice system is a bit like having let the Nazis determine who was responsible for the massacres at Oradour-sur-Glane in France or at Bande in Belgium. In any case, true justice does not permit the judge to be a party in the litigation. By this transfer, the Prosecutor has called into serious doubt something he has always affirmed: the certain knowledge that the political and military leaders of the ancien regime are the only ones responsible for all the crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994.

However, no one is fooled. By meekly allowing the Kigali regime the possibility of judging the ‘bit players’, the Prosecutor has permitted those who really ordered the massacre at Gakurazo never to have to answer to anyone. For that matter, everyone should appreciate the Prosecutor’s professional ethics for what they really are. The Prosecutor has, in fact, known the exact circumstances of these killings since 2003. They are by now so detailed as to erase all doubt: the priests were murdered on the orders of a high authority. The conditions under which they were killed resulted from a deliberate decision and not from spontaneous acts of revenge on the part of some soldiers driven to madness by the pain of having their families wiped out, which might have rendered them guilty.

This misstep by the Prosecutor, which came after the publication of Professor Erlinder’s manifesto, only served to further confirm Erlinder’s conclusion: the Arusha Tribunal is nothing more than a clearing house for certain partisan interests aimed at assuring all power to a totalitarian minority in the service of a capitalist oligarchy.

The case of General Karenzi Karake

You can reasonably surmise that the brilliant career of this RPA officer is the direct result of the service he has rendered to the cause of the RPF. In 1994, we knew very well what that involved. He served as the liaison officer to Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, commander of the military contingent of MINUAR. This assignment gave him total freedom of movement and allowed him to be completely on top of everything that was discussed inside this peacekeeping mission. We also knew that he worked for the intelligence services of the RPA. More than anything else, this liaison officer ‘cover’ permitted him to carry out the general coordination of the actions of all the underground cells of infiltrators deployed to Kigali by the RPF. Some of these cells were charged with the physical elimination of people who were thought to be either too critical of the Front, or just simply destabilizing influences on the situation inside the country. He thus fell directly under suspicion for the assassinations of two Rwandan politicians: Emmanuel Gapyisi and Félicien Gatabazi.

In August 2007, he was tapped to be the second in command of the African peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID). After this assignment, the Human Rights organization‘Human Rights Watch’ expressed its total disapproval to the Secretary General of the UN, as well as to the African Union, because of this officer’s direct responsibility in the many deaths of Congolese civilians during the June 2000 invasion of the region around Kisangani by Rwandan/Ugandan forces.

With Karenzi Karake’s mandate to lead the UNAMID set for only 12 months, the question has recently been just how to extend his term. And, let’s remember, at the beginning of this year, the Spanish judge, [Fernando Andre] Merelles, charged Karenzi with direct responsibility in several massacres, war crimes and crimes perpetrated against Rwanda. After that, many voices were raised to stop the renewal of his mandate. But then there was the unconditional support from the US, which, by sending its under-Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, as well as its UN ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, directly intervened on Karenzi’s behalf with Ban Ki-Moon to effectively renew the officer’s mandate. As for the government in Kigali, sticking with its well-tried and tested tactic of opposing those who put an end to the genocide to those who were responsible for it, President Kagame simply threatened to remove the significant Rwandan contingent from the peacekeeping force if Karenzi’s mandate was not renewed.

How is General Karenzi Karake’s case special? In fact, he is a perfect illustration of that international justice that holds to a double standard, one for the winning side and another for the losers. A specific example that is incontestable is that of General Léonidas Rusatira, a former officer in the Rwandan government’s armed forces, who also served with the RPA, before going into exile in Belgium. At the height of the torment in 1994, this man helped save numerous lives, and I can attest to this, having been a direct witness. However, a few years later, here he is on a list of genocidaires (a list established by the Kagame government and that varies with the needs of that regime). Without much reflection, Carla Del Ponte signed an arrest warrant that the Belgian authorities then executed. General Rusatira spent three months in a Belgian prison. Enough time for two experts recognized by the ICTR (professors Filip Reyntjens and André Guichaoua) to get Carla Del Ponte to admit that there was no basis whatsoever for the charges against Rusatira. After that she could only withdraw the arrest warrant. It’s troubling though, isn’t it, that this kind of justice can give a blank check to the ‘liberators’, allowing them to neutralize anyone who might represent an obstacle to their plans? Sad to say, this particular example is not the only one of its kind—far from it.

What makes the Karenzi case different from that of Radovan Karadzic, of Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir or even of Jean-Pierre Bemba or Paul Kagame? They are all the subjects of serious criminal charges at the international level. However, they are far from all being treated in the same way. When the international community has figured out how to correct this iniquitous situation, then, perhaps, we can write ‘international justice’ with a capital ‘J’. This is our wish, anyway.

Rwanda: an Anglo-Saxon protectorate?

Decidedly, these last few months, this magnet, Rwanda, has become a must-stop in the itineraries of many important American and British personalities.

The first visitor of note in 2008 was none other than George W. Bush, himself. The moment of his visit most reported in the press was his speech at the genocide memorial in Gisozi, near Kigali. In reality, the purpose of this brief stopover was to finalize the terms of an agreement to make Rwanda the hub of the US presence in Africa. The electronic equipment that is going to be deployed in this the land of the volcanoes will enable the US and its friends to listen in on all communications, by radio, telephone and any other means, over the entire African continent. What’s more, a vast military zone will be granted to the Americans in the region of Bugesera. The exact final state of this ‘reserved zone’ remains unclear. The interest of the US in Rwanda, in this particular area, is nothing new. The same demand was presented to President Habyarimana, who did not sign on to it as had been hoped.

If the current Republican candidate for the White House, John McCain, has not, himself, yet shown up in Rwanda, his wife [Cindy] just paid a quick, clean and almost secret call. She might have run into Chery and Tony Blair, who are by now regular denizens of the place. In fact, since leaving 10 Downing Street to his successor, Tony Blair has become a special advisor to Paul Kagame.

A little while ago, it was Bill Clinton whose tour of Africa led him once again to Rwanda. We remember the apologies he presented to the Rwandan people at the time of his previous visit. But these people will never forget that he was President of the United States in 1994, and that for several weeks his representatives led a pugnacious foot-dragging campaign to keep the word ‘genocide’ from being uttered in the semi-circle of the UN Security Council.

Just as the repeated visits of Anglophone personalities to Kigali are not the result of mere chance, neither do the kinds of expeditions by those who have preyed on Central Africa for so many years have anything to do with fate. Both are the direct consequence of covetousness for the immense underground wealth of this region. The Rwandan and Congolese peoples are doubtlessly growing little by little into a full awareness of their total abandonment by the so-called ‘civilized’ world, which, from one side of its neck, preaches ‘good governance’, while from the other it unstintingly sows chaos, all the better to loot and pillage the natural resources that do not belong to them.

The Rwandan Commission on the role of France

At the beginning of 2008, a Rwandan Investigatory Commission published its report on the role of France before, during and after the genocide. Remember that the creation of this commission in 2006 was a direct response to the almost personal insult and injury caused by the results of the investigation led by French [anti-terrorist] judge, [Jean-Louis] Bruguière, on the attack [against the Rwandan presidential jet] of 6 April 1994.

Let’s leave the analysis of the work of this commission to experts. But we should take note of one point that seems strange, to say the least. While Judge Bruguière’s investigation sets forth in the minutest detail the machinations behind this attack on the president’s plane, the investigation of the Rwandan government commission, overseen by Jean de Dieu Mucyo, does not utter a single word about this terrorist act. This should have been the perfect opportunity for the Kigali regime not only to put forth all the elements necessary to counter the charges of the French Judge, but especially to lift the veil of suspicion that hangs over the RPF with regard to this act's triggering the Rwandan apocalypse.

It’s useless merely to stir the pot. If no explanation is forthcoming from the commission, it is because this terrain is much too slippery. In reality, this silence is the highest form of acknowledging the solid basis for the Bruguière report’s [English translation on this blog—mc] conclusions as to the direct responsibility of Paul Kagame in this terrorist attack.

The commission is another example of the technique of ‘reversed-accusations’, a practice the Kagali authorities have excelled in for many years. It is doubtlessly one more step in Rwanda’s willful attempts to surmount all international resistance to its self-proclaimed ‘universal competence’. To this end, the ground has been prepared for some time. The Rwandan president has taken advantage of every one of his trips abroad to denounce the arrogance of Western justice in reserving for itself the right to accuse the citizens of ‘weaker nations’, and directly citing the charges made by French and Spanish courts. Even though it is difficult to see Rwanda as a ‘weak nation’ with its abundant workforce and its impressively equipped military.

But this insistence that it be granted the judicial implements of universal competence really hides another purpose than just getting back at those countries that presumptuously demand an explanation from the liberator of Rwanda. In fact, more than 14 years after the events, it has become more and more difficult, as was the case in the past, to add endlessly to the list of genocidaires those of whom you want to be rid. This technique is a thing of the past and should be replaced. Universal competence gives the regime in Kigali an excellent and permanent opportunity to pursue, anywhere and everywhere, people who might be considered potential obstacles to the hegemony of the current Rwandan nomenclature. And this is not all, because this same universal competence could also be used against those who search for the truth, those who oppose the intellectual tyranny imposed by those who deliberately chose the force of arms to take power in Rwanda. In other words, many of those who are being classify, in an opportunistic and simplistic fashion, as revisionists and negationists.

The danger is real. But, basically, it is expressions of Truth and Justice that will suffer. All the experts on Central Africa presently agree on one point: the true history of the region, from 1990 until today, is still to be written. Carla Del Ponte, herself, recognized that if the RPF was found to be responsible for the attack of 6 April 1994, the history of the Rwandan genocide must be completely rewritten.

Here is what is really at stake in all the hubbub behind this opposition to the cocked notion of a ‘Western Justice’. It is, above all, about the perpetuation, by any and all means, of the ‘official version’ of the events.


The UN Security Council, in its Resolution 1824, has extended by one year the mandate of the judges at the ICTR. In the current state of affairs, this extension will doubtlessly do little to change the way this Tribunal functions. I think that it is mainly a question of getting rid of the backlog of cases and of finding an acceptable solution to the problem of transferring certain cases to national jurisdictions, but not to that of Rwanda, which continues to express its opposition to the ICTR judges themselves.

However, when you consider that more than a year and a half after the conclusion of the Military I trial, the presiding judges have yet to render a decision (it is difficult to imagine such a situation anywhere else!), the ICTR appears far from being able to call it a day. Especially in view of all the affairs that still need to be concluded.

Let’s also consider that this extension is perhaps a much wished for opportunity to change the direction of things. But it is still mandatory that those who are in a position to act mobilize for the cause of Truth and Justice.

The major difference between 1994 and 2008 is that if it was difficult to determine who was responsible for crimes at the time, or just after, they were committed, today no one can say that he doesn’t know or that he can’t know. One thing is certain: if Western political leaders won’t unequivocally declare their determination to find out the whole truth about the real nature of the events that continue to bathe the Great Lakes region in blood, then we must insist they admit to their being accomplices in the next genocide which will surely be inflicted on this tortured part of Africa. Because if, in the West, they don’t want to know, the Rwandans and Congolese, most certainly, know all too well who is responsible for their terrible suffering. Today, it is most unseemly to continue to use the phrase:

‘Oh! I didn’t know.’

Luc Marchal
Former Commander
Kigali Section of UNAMIR
August 2008