Rwandans don’t need to claim genocide or else to feel or honour their losses
Discussions on how to call atrocities committed in Rwanda since October 1st, 1990 and in the whole Great Lakes region of Africa since 1996, this until today, appear ongoing. They may not even have an end at any time. As evidence, even survivors of the holocaust continue reminding the world that what happened to the Jews in Hitler’s Germany was genocide. It is their right to do so.
However, motives of those who fight nails and toes out to claim that mentioned atrocities were genocide or else seem often not genuine or disinterested. They come out as defending a brand name instead of a humanitarian cause. I lost lots of my family, friends and neighbours in the Rwandan atrocities. The Rwandan government even denies thousands of survivors the right to be called survivors, only because they are Hutus. Yet Tutsi survivors seem to have become magnets to attract external aid and enrich the Tutsi ruling elite. Those still alive among the two ethnic groups who have been marginalised are imprisoned or treated as citizens of second class.
Not acknowledging that the Rwandan government has abused the use of the genocide for political and financial gains would be an understatement. Insiders from the regime like Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa have confirmed that reality when he for example says that one of his responsibilities while still an RPF public servant was to blackmail the international community about its guilt in what happened.
We [Rwandans] don’t need to claim genocide or else to feel or honour our losses. But what we strongly need is to see justice done, and that all those who killed our people since 1990 or continue even today, don’t remain free forever. To get to that, facts as they stand have to be let tell their own story. And unfortunately, many like James Wizeye don’t seem to let this happening. I reproduced a long comment that Christopher Black gave him after reading his article which was published on 25 July 2011 in the Guardian where he characterises Edward Herman and David Peterson of revisionists.
Mr. Wizeye is wrong on all counts. Jean Kambanda did not confess to genocide, He was held incommunicado by ICTR Canadian police agents for 9 months while he was threatened to sign documents he did not understand. When he learned what they meant and tried to retract his “confession” and demanded a trial he was refused.
Secondly there is overwhelming evidence before the ICTR that the RPF shot down the plane and murdered the two Hutu presidents and then immediately after commenced their final offensive by slaughtering all the Hutus in Remera in Kigali an continued it up to today.
The 1991 census figures that show that there were only 596,000 Tutsis in Rwanda were not distorted as Wizeye claims because the government at the time was a coalition government composed of Hutus and Tutsis from various parties and the prime minister was an RPF sympathiser so that claim is absurd.
The evidence from the UN officers Wizeye refers to who testified at the ICTR trials proves him false on every aspect of his comments. Colonel Marchal, the UN force commander for Kigali stated that the RPF shot down the plane, that the RPF did not support the Arusha Accords and did everything it could to block them. Colonel Andre Vincent later deputy head of Belgian Army intelligence, the Belgian Ambassador Johan Swinnen, and many others testified to the same effect. It was always the Rwandan government and army that supported peace and the Accords and it was always the RPF that sabotaged peace and the Accords.
All agreed that the RPF attacked on April 6 because they knew they could never win power by elections and they did not want to share power with the Hutu majority even though the Hutus were willing to share power with them. Even General Dallaire stated in 1995 there was no genocide and that the killings were a spontaneous reaction to the massacres of the RPF forces.
It was the RPF that started the killing in October 1990 when they (a wing of Museveni’s Ugandan army) invaded Rwanda from Uganda and murdered thousands of Hutus in the north before the RPF forces were crushed and sent running back to Rwanda. Then the RPF engaged in four years of a terror campaign modeled on the contra campaign against the Sandanistas in Nicaragua. They were the ones that broke every ceasefire and in the attack on Ruhengeri in February 1993 murdered 40,000 Hutus in a few days and drove a million Hutus toward the capital. UN officers testified that they planted anti-tank mines on roads and lanes, booby-trapped markets and carried out numerous assassinations of Hutus in order to create chaos and they did all the killing in those four years.
When it became clear they could not manipulate the Accords to take sole power they launched their final offensive in April and it was they who did most of the killing.
Robert Gersony’s report to the UNHCR in October 1994, which is in evidence at the ICTR, states that beginning in April 1994 the RPF engaged in the systematic and sustained slaughter of Hutu civilians. This slaughter increased beginning on April 8/9th when the RPF used high explosive shells to attack the one million Hutu refugees at the refugee camp at Nyacyonga just north of Kigali forcing them to flee through the city. It was during this massacre and subsequent mayhem that many Tutsi civilians were killed by Hutus who suspected that the RPF was using the chaos to infiltrate their forces into the city to murder Hutus.
The RPF attacked the Presidential Guard barracks the night of the 6th (Belgian army intelligence reports of this are also in evidence) and on the 7th wiped out the Rwandan army military police camp -all 500 men were killed, wiped out the Gendarmerie brigade at Remera and attacked all Rwandan army and gendarme camps and positions with a massive artillery barrage (the UN had somehow not noticed that they had brought in heavy artillery and katyushas) and then in the next few days seized all the surrounding hills and began the indiscriminate machine gunning of the streets of Kigali with heavy machine guns killing countless numbers of civilians, both Hutu and Tutsi.
The Rwandan army, in order to try to stop this offered an unconditional surrender on April 12 but Kagame refused to accept it. He had won but did not want it. He wanted more death so he did not have to negotiate with Hutus. He wanted all power to himself. The ICTR has statements from RPF officers that Kagame ordered the massacre of all the Hutu and Tutsi refugees seeking shelter in the Byumba and Gitarama stadiums n May/June. When asked by his officers what to do with these people his reply was simply “Kill them all.”
But I am sure Mr. Wizeye knows all this. He is another of the RPF’s voices trying to prevent the world from knowing the truth about the war in Rwanda and who is really responsible for all the killings.
Christopher Black, Lead Counsel, General Ndindiliyimana (now released)