In December 2008, a very special occurrence happened that led Kagame into scrambling to do major damage control, distract the world at large from the occurrence, while simultaneously salvaging his progressively deteriorating reputation in “the international community.”
What occurrence is that you might ask? It’s none other than the conviction of the top three major suspects in the Rwandan Genocide. You know, the masterminds of the genocide that Kagame supposedly saved everyone from. You know, this:
The three other defendants were convicted of responsibility for particular acts that the Chambers found were committed by members of the Rwandan military. Col. Theoneste Bagsosora and Col. Anatole Nsengiumva were found guilty of war crimes, acts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Rwandan troops under their command. Major Aloys Ntabakuze, whose command was limited to the Para-Commando Battalion was held responsible for three incidents out of more than 40 that the Chamber found were not proved. Many of the crimes of which all three were convicted do not appear in the indictments under which they were prosecuted. All three were sentenced to life in prison and have announced plans to appeal.
Yet here is Kagame today desperately scrambling to do major damage control to salvage his growing reputation in the Congo by making shady deals with his former foe, Kabila instead of simply celebrating. Why would the arrest of the three genocide planners and perpetrators cause Kagame to behave in such a manner?And what exactly did he do in the Congo that reeks of desperation and reputation recovery?
It’s not so much that the three were convicted, but what they were not charged with. It turns out that,
judgments in the Military-I trial completely rejected the Prosecution theory of long-term planning and conspiracy to commit genocide by members of the former Rwandan military leadership. All four defendants were found “not guilty” of all counts charging conspiracy to commit genocide, based on the Chambers ruling that their actions prior to April 6, 1994 were based on war-time conditions, not planning to kill civilians or to carry out a genocide against Tutsi Rwandans.
I have bolded, italicized, and underlined that which was found, and which has ripped Kagame from his comfy dictatorial throne in Rwanda and thrown him into the war torn Congo scrambling, where he is desperately trying to influence some positive coverage on his behalf as the cushy world he built around himself with pervasive propaganda slowly but progressively falls to dust and pieces on the ground.
Because if no one planned the genocide, or the people originally believed to have planned the genocide are found innocent of such a plan, then where does that leave Kagame? It leaves him in a pickle I would say,
This raises the more profound question: if there was no conspiracy and no planning to kill ethnic civilians, can the tragedy that engulfed Rwanda properly be called “a genocide” at all? Or, was it closer to a case of civilians being caught up in war-time violence, like the Eastern Front in WWII, rather than the planned behind-the-lines killings in Nazi death camps? The ICTR judgment found the former.
The Court specifically found that the actions of Rwandan military leaders, both before any after the April 6, 1994 assassination of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarima, were consistent with war-time conditions and the massive chaos brought about by the four-year war of invasion from Uganda by Gen. Paul Kagame’s RPF army, which seized power in July 1994.
Although the Chamber did not specifically mention more recent events, it is worth noting that this is the same government that was named in a UN Security Council commissioned report on December 12, 2008 as having invaded the eastern Congo (with Uganda) in 1996 and again in 1998 and have occupied an area 15-times the size of Rwanda since that time. Similar UN Security Council reports in 2001, 2002 and 2003, make clear that Rwanda and Uganda’s economic rape of the eastern Congo, and the resulting 6 million-plus civilian deaths, have long been an “open secret.”
It’s no secret that in recent times Kagame was having trouble with some of his former supporters, such as Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forge, as she sought to hold him accountable for the atrocities he was committing in the Congo. Instead of just.stopping., Kagame BANNED Alison Des Forge from Rwanda. Yeah…he did. Not just for crimes in the Congo, but Human Rights Watch was also demanding that the ICTR start prosecuting the RPF and their involvement in the Rwandan Genocide; an act so radical it took 14 years to accomplish.
So what would happen if the ICTR investigated the RPF and prosecuted them for their involvement in the Genocide? What would the world learn from this? If they saved everyone from Genocide, wouldn’t that mean that they would get minimal prosecution for the supposed “reprisal killings” they carried out? Or is there something more awaiting them?
Well simply put, if Kagame were to be investigated, indicted, and prosecuted, the world would learn that he initiated a major war crime and crime against humanity towards Rwanda; attacking a peaceful country and throwing it into a war. It would also be discovered that during that whole period, Kagame and the RPF committed massacre after massacre, and multiple crimes against humanity. The RPF shot down Rwanda’s former president Habyarimana’s plane, an act believed to have sparked the carnage that occurred in 1994. And remember this carnage was not planned since many were responding to war time conditions and defenses as was found by the ICTR. It would be discovered that Kagame and the RPF chased Rwandan citizens from their country and into the Congo. Kagame and the RPF continued their aggression thereby committing another crime against humanity by attacking the Congo, another peaceful country. It would be discovered that in the RPF’s attempts to exterminate the Refugees, about six million Congolese citizens were caught in the crossfire. (And this list is hardly exhaustive!)
Because it was found that genocide was not planned from inside Rwanda itself, Kagame and the RPF’s insistence that they are after “planners” of the Rwandan genocide by going into the Congo is problematic. In fact it allows Kagame and the RPF to continue committing massacres and killing millions of people with impunity. IF these people did not plan a genocide, and the ICTR prosecutions say they did not, and there was a war initiated and carried out by the RPF against them going on, then what grounds does Kagame have to go after them? Either by removing them or by exterminating them?
True, RPF propaganda is pervasive, and major western media outlets support this propaganda. Which is why many people believe that the FDLR is composed of savage killers who terrorize Congolese citizens. But now, the world must question why these people who fled from a war they were defending themselves against, are now believed to be random and senseless killers for no reason. It does not match. What would lead them to commit massacres against the Congolese people, if they were fleeing from an enemy that ousted them from their homes? They wouldn’t, unless they were blood thirsty murderers who commit murder just to see blood shed. And while Kagame and the RPF would like to you to believe that, it is not completely true.
Kagame can no longer comfortably hold his immunity. Nor can the RPF. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the RPF is responsible for the murders in the Congo, even with the help of western media that insists Kagame is a hero. People still know and see through the painted veils through which he is presented. Kagame’s major lackey, Laurent Nkunda started receiving unprecedented negative media attention, and compounded with everything else that was happening, he needed to be beheaded, figuratively speaking. So, he was arrested. Try as they might, Kagame will have a very difficult time distancing himself from Nkunda.
As his world crumbles, and as the world learns, and increasingly pressure involved parties to hold Kagame and the RPF accountable for their crimes in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Kagame strikes a very shady deal with Kabila, to once again, oust the FDLR. These are people who are part of the same refugees that Kagame ousted when he invaded Rwanda and killed its president. They desire nothing more than to go back to their own formerly peaceful country.
Does it strike anyone in “the international community” as odd that Kagame and the RPF, indicted by two countries, France and Spain, whose top aid was arrest per the said arrest warrants in Germany, is the peace keeping force in the Congo? How does, Rwanda’s 10+,- years occupation in the Congo resulting in 6 million deaths, conveniently blamed on the FDLR who are part of refugees from Rwanda, qualify Rwanda to REMOVE that which they have not managed in 10 years? Does it make sense?
Put all the pieces together and you will see, that Kagame and the RPF, war criminals, genocide perpetrators are attempting to distract the world away from their bloodshed, while simultaneously continuing the same dirty, and criminal bloodshed.
This has got to stop!