Below is a letter that was written on behalf of Munyakazi the Rwandan Professor of French at Goucher College, who was dismissed for allegations of having taken part in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. It is addressed to the college’s president, and has very useful information for anyone interested in learning more about the discrepancies in this case, and the handling of the Congolese situation. It raises extremely interesting points for those examining this case. Writers of the letter are encouraging everyone to send this letter to the president of Goucher college (president at goucher dot edu) including name and city/state/country of sender in solidarity.
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing this note to express my disappointment with your removal/suspension of Mr. Munyakazi as French professor at Goucher College. Especially disheartening is the fact that Mr. Munyakazi was removed from his professorship based on unsubstantiated allegations. At the same time, I would like to commend your perspicacious views that were expressed in the New York Times article, On Trail of War Criminals, NBC News Is Criticized, regarding the independence and objectivity being applied to this case (1). It is increasingly clear that anyone who expresses any dissenting opinion from that of the Rwandan Government is accused of being a Genocidaire. According to the same New York Times article, allegations against Mr. Munyakazi were written after he made a speech contradictory to that of the Rwandan Government’s version on the genocide of 1994 (1).
In a country that prides itself on freedom of speech especially in erudite institutions, it is surprising that an unsubstantiated accusation leads to the suspension of a professional. This is to an extent, a contradiction to the first Amendment of the American Constitution. Once the truth about this case comes to light, one could effectively avoid a major disaster for involved parties. Like other cases before Mr. Munyakazi, this instance may simply be a matter of the Rwandan Government looking to silence one of its critics.
For instance, in 2005, a former Rwandan Minister, Juvenal Uwilingiyimana experienced a series of disturbing occurrences related to his role in the Rwandan Genocide. While he was not directly accused of having perpetrated genocide crimes, Uwilingiyimana was coerced into providing false testimony against his former colleagues. When he refused, his body was found after a mysterious death (2). Furthermore, in 2006, Dr. Vincent Bajinya was also falsely accused of partaking in genocide crimes in 1994 by a reporter working for the BBC. He was fired from his job, and his life practically ruined. An independent investigation into his indictment discovered a Rwandan Government’s network of people whose purpose is to scout any dissenting opinions abroad and silence them (3). Could Mr. Munyakazi also be a victim of these networks?
More troubling is that even Americans who dare to contradict the Rwandan Government’s storyline are labeled genocidaires. Case in point, Dr. Peter Erlinder an outspoken critic of the Rwandan Government, has been accused by president Kagame of being a Genocidaire (4). Consider also the case of former US Ambassador to Burundi. Mr Krueger has been accused of providing weapons to Rwanda’s opposition rebels. These preposterous claims have never been substantiated (5). Such silencing tactics are employed to prevent the world from learning about the Rwandan Government’s continuing atrocities against Rwandan and Congolese people. It is regrettable that your college has inadvertently become complicit with the Rwandan Government’s punitive quest to suffocate, silence, kill, and torture anyone who may denounce their crimes against humanity.
It is extremely important to note that through two independent investigations, the Rwandan Government was indicted for war crimes, and crimes against humanity by anti terrorist French Judge Bruguière in 2006 (6), as well as Spanish judge Andreu Merelles in 2008 (7). Also in 2008, when Human Rights Watch called for the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda to end the culture of impunity, and prosecute Rwandan Government officials’ involvement in the Rwandan Genocide, Human Rights Watch’s top official Alison Des Forge was banned from entering Rwanda (8). Curiously enough, additional testimonies from former Rwandan Patriotic Army officers have surfaced detailing high ranking Rwandan officials’ war crimes during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 (9), (10).
Everyday numerous reports from the likes of the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other independent journalists are surfacing detailing the Rwandan Government’s involvement in the on-going genocide against the Congolese people. So far, an estimated six million lives have been lost. Among violent crimes being detailed by UN reports at the hands of Rwandan officials and their proxies are rape as a weapon against countless women, sodomizing teenage boys by forcing them to have sex with their own mothers before they are hacked to death, the use of child soldiers (11), amputations, displacement of millions of Congolese people (12), the destruction of Rwandan refugee camps claiming over 300,000 lives in a matter of several months (13), and committing massacres such as the ones in Kibeho in 1995 (14), just to name a few. Perpetrators of such crimes should not be allowed by the civilized world the moral high ground to judge anyone.
It is disheartening and frankly discouraging to learn that such a government has succeeded in making Goucher College take an action that may be unnecessary and could potentially ruin one’s professional life. Please consider looking into the actual facts surrounding Mr. Munyakazi’s suspension. I strongly believe that you will find him to be a victim of the Rwandan Government’s punitive actions against those whose opinions deviate from their official story line. This government is determined to fight, suppress and better yet, eliminate anyone or anything that would provide light to the world into its own crimes in the Great Lakes region of Africa. It is deplorable that the Rwandan Government has found a way of making your institution a victim in their global attempts to remove any dissenting opinions. However, I am confident that this case will be an opportunity for your institution to understand some additional elements of the Rwandan tragedy. Your reaction to the way this case was handled is commendable and I encourage you to remain impartial in this matter.
Should anyone in your college be interested in learning more, the following links will provide references to a rich documentation from reputable organizations and agencies about the topic.
1. February 10, 2009; New York Times, NBC’S On Trail of War Criminals; by Brian Stelter
4. The Real Authors of the Congo Crimes. Nkunda has been arrested but who will arrest Kagame? By Dr Peter Erlinder
6. French Warrant seeks associates of Rwanda’s Kagame; by Reuters
7. Spain indicts 40 Rwandan officers, Los Angeles Times
10. Major General Paul Kagame behind the shooting down of late Habyarimana’s plane: an eye witness testimony, 2nd Lt. Aloys Ruyenzi, Press release, 18 January 2005
Other references to consider are under the following links from Amnesty International: