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On the U.N. report on Congo genocide

September 22, 2010

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza spoke to Women’s International News Gathering Service about the “the ‘Pucinella’ secret that many knew but pretended not to know” in July 2010, a month before the Aug. 26 leak of the U.N. report confirmed it. – Ann Garrison

Listen to the interview:

by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza was widely considered the leading opposition candidate in this year’s presidential election, likely to win had the election been fair, but instead of being free to run, she was jailed briefly and is still not permitted to leave Kigali.
The U.N. report on human rights abuse, including genocide, in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been explosive in the international community, but it simply confirms what has long been a “Pucinella” secret that many knew but pretended not to know. So many atrocities were committed, some during broad daylight, in both Rwanda and Congo, during this time that they could not be concealed forever.

What happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the subject of the report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), was just a continuation of a pattern of atrocities that Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) committed after seizing power in Rwanda, encouraged by the silence and complacency of the international community.

In October 1994, a U.S. consultant hired by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Mr. Robert Gersony, accused the new RPF regime of having killed at least 30,000 Hutus in Rwanda since coming to power.

As soon as the report was released, the regime in Kigali threatened to terminate the operations of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) if the report was validated. The U.N. then succumbed to the combined pressures of Kigali and its international lobbies and demanded that the UNHCHR put the Gersony Report under embargo while promising a counter investigation.

A joint committee composed of representatives of UNAMIR and the Rwandan Ministry of the Interior handed in a flimsy report after a one day visit to Rwamagana. Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General (UNSRSG) Shaharyar Khan refused thereafter to confirm the existence of the Gersony Report to the UNHCR. The report has simply disappeared from the archives of the United Nations, according to a communication made to defense counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR).

In October 1994, in the wake of the controversy around the Gersony Report, the Irishwoman Karen Kenny, whom the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had appointed to head the U.N.’s Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda (HRFOR), resigned. She said that in four months without a car, without a budget and, most importantly, without observers to be deployed, she had simply served as an alibi. This should have been an eye opener at the time, but the international press failed to pick up the story.

On April 22, 1995, under the eyes of Australian and Zambian peacekeepers from UNAMIR, the Rwandan Patriotic Army massacred displaced Hutu people in Kibeho. The U.N. did nothing to make sure that the mastermind of these massacres be brought to court and punished. Instead, they simply asked the Rwandan government to follow up on the matter.

Now to the core period of the U.N. Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 1993-2003. Once again the evidence has been available, in this case since 1996, but not shared with the world:

In 1997, the special rapporteur of the U.N. commission in charge of human rights in the DRC, Chilean Roberto Garreton, released a chilling report on crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army against the Hutu refugees there. The Kigali regime immediately launched an intense effort to suppress the report and block a U.N. mission requested by President Laurent Kabila that was aimed at confirming the results of the U.N.’s Garreton Mission. The Garreton Mission had to give up.

Moreover, many NGOs, human rights organizations and survivors gave very detailed accounts of atrocities that were committed.

I simply hope that this time around, the U.N. will not again succumb to pressure and blackmail. The report should be released without alteration from the leaked version, and the U.N. should feel duty bound to make sure that a judicial mechanism is put in place to charge and try those responsible for the atrocities. If they do not, it will be another defeat for U.N. efforts to end impunity in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is the leader of Rwanda’s FDU/UDF-Inkingi Coalition of Parties and would have been its presidential candidate in this year’s August 2009 election if she had been allowed to register her party instead of being arrested for “genocide ideology,” Rwanda’s statutory law against disagreeing with the official history of massacres known as the Rwanda Genocide of 1994.

6 thoughts on “On the U.N. report on Congo genocide

  1. therisingcontinent

    The more I get aware of the scale of atrocities that US and British administrations have enabled to happen in the Great Lakes region of Africa (Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda) during the last 25 years, the more I find it shameful for them to claim any humanity they pretend to bring to the rest of the world, whatever package they use to present it, be it as aid to development, concessionary financial conditions to poor countries from World Bank and International Monetary Fund, or multilateral trade arrangements. They help kill your 10 milliond of people during the considered period of time using their local warlods (Paul Kagame, Joweri Museveni and others) to access strategic minerals for their industries, they then compensate you with gimmicks for them to feel good about themselves and make you feel special and different from those they help you to kill because you both have much to gain from such situation.

  2. Meza

    Lies! Lies!….If UN covered it up then why is that is publishing the so called Congo report?. There were at least 4-5 countries all involved in that war, why singling out Rwanda?- In addition to that, how are you supposed to trust the UN now if you didn't trust it before?…The bottom line is, you can run but you can't hide your intentions.

    1. Saad Koshan

      This is not lies. Neither is it fiction although Mr Kagame might still get away with mass murder again. It is not true to say the report singles out Rwanda. In case you have not read it it mentions over 600 key episodes of mass atrocities out of which about 200 touch on Rwanda. The rest are shared by Uganda, Kagame's allies in the former Zaire, Joseph Kabila's army and its militia allies.
      It also documents atrocities committed by Angolan and Zimbabwean militaries.
      If we go by your logic when you argue that no past UN report was suppressed just because this one has not then one should argue that because the 1959 genocide in Rwanda was neither publicised nor investigated there was no need for action on the 1994 one? Or that 1994 did not happen because we do not hear about 1959.
      Besides the UN current report is yet to be released. It has only been leaked out of fear there was a conspiracy to suppress it once again.
      And again it might not see the light of day if Kagame and his patrons prevail.
      Why is the UN covering the report if it suppressed past ones? Times have changed, even the US has elected a black president. International appeasement of Kagame and Museveni initiated by Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan was bound to dissipate sooner as new information arose about his real designs in the African Great Lakes.
      The mass media has pulled Kagame's bluff and demonstrated the bankruptcy of his extravagant claims about how he stopped the genocide.
      Kagame now realises that he will no longer hold the world hostage to the genocide card and revise history to sanitise his megalomania without question. Like Hitler Kagame will soon have no army to command or captive audience to mesmerise with twisted logic and phantom truths.
      Again if we go by your logic that we should not trust the UN because we doubted it before one would then urge the RPF to withdraw its forces from Darfur because the UN abandoned Rwanda in 1994.

  3. Saad Koshan

    I agree with you to an extent. We can blame the UN and West only to the extent that we as Africans are totally powerless over Kagame or really blameless for similar atrocities in our own countries.
    It is true Kagame is supported by the West although opinion even in these parts appears to be changing about the tin pot despot but it also true that his real patrons are in Africa, in the form of Museveni who created the genie and losed it on the people of Central Africa and the new mongrel called the Africa Union.
    For the US to bring in military supplies won't it need the aid of nations like Kenya and Tanzania to ship them into Uganda and Rwanda and Burundi?
    It is a well known fact that African leaders turn a blind eye on Kagame out of the combination of fear, self preservation, but mostly because their human rights records are almost, similarly or equally atrocitious. So when he goes to the AU in Addis or when Kagame comes to visit Kenya on the inauguration of its ne charter he finds himself in good company besides Omar Hassan al Bashir, Mwai kibaki, Museveni etc who share a proclivity to steal elections, interfere in other countries and even preside over mass murder in their own countries.
    Kagame will only be stopped by African. If he cannot be stopped by force how come no Africans have the courage to isolate him, diplomatically. Instead the rogue is welcomed wherever he goes, given new titles and a red carpet thrown out for the self styled experts on MDGs, genocide and anything under the sun that idle middle class think tanks like to talk about in the West.

  4. Saad Koshan

    Yesterday Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmednijad described Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu as a "skilled killer."
    It id tempting to use the same words on Kagame given the similarity and dexterity with which the leaders of the
    Jewish entity and the RPF clique use the tragedy of the WW2 holocaust and 1994 genocide, respectively to claim higher moral authority and carte blanche to murder en masse.
    Kagame is no skilled killer for kills en masse using matchetes, hoes, starvation, rape, deportation and pillage. He lacks the sophistication of being skilled for lack of early education besides the atavism that goes with the primordial urge for revenge for real and imagined crimes in the past.
    And he lacks the legitimacy of democracy or pretence to acquire any unlike Israel's leaders. And the West on whom, unlike Israel, he depends on for everything including guns etc, seems to be tired for his ancestral bloodlust.

  5. Theo



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