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Rwanda: Who’s denying genocide?

May 9, 2011

by the International Humanitarian Law Institute (IHLI)

The 2010 U.N. Mapping Exercise Report, U.N. Prosecutor Del Ponte’s 2009 exposé of Rwandan Patriotic Front crimes, and the 2008 Spanish genocide indictment of President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front tell the real story

Rwandan Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga – Photo: AFP
St. Paul, Minn. – In a May 2 statement reported by the Associated Press, Rwandan Prosecutor Martin Ngoga renewed the false “genocide denial” charges against International Humanitarian Law Institute Director and William Mitchell College of Law Professor Peter Erlinder for his U.S.-authored academic writings, reporting evidence and documents in the record at the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, or ICTR.

Rwanda declared Erlinder “suicidal” while he was incarcerated in Rwanda, in May and June 2010, after he traveled there to consult with opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, facing “genocide ideology” charges brought against her for challenging the official history of the Rwanda Genocide, which has been re-characterized as a “Tutsi genocide.” Upon her return to Rwanda in January 2010, Ingabire had gone to the genocide memorial in Kigali and asked why the Hutu people who died during the genocide were not commemorated as well as the Tutsis.

Erlinder was released for medical reasons after an international campaign to free him and intervention by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The International Humanitarian Law Institute (IHLI) is authorized to issue the following statement on Professor Erlinder’s behalf:

Professor Erlinder has publicly stated, on numerous occasions, that he does not deny that tens of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis perished between April and July 1994, in circumstances that fit the definition of the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Nor does he deny U.N. reports that tens of thousands of Hutus were also victims, during and after April-July 1994. IHLI research notes this evidence in the public record:

• Former ICTR prosecution expert witnesses, Professor Allan Stam of the University of Michigan and Professor Christian Davenport of Notre Dame, analyzed all reports from the Rwandan government, NGOs and the U.N. and found twice as many Hutus were killed as Tutsis between April and July 1994,;

• The ICTR Military-1 Judgment (full version: Feb. 8, 2009) found insufficient evidence to convict the former military leadership of a long-planned conspiracy to commit genocide against the Tutsis or a long-planned conspiracy to commit any other crimes;

• The U.S. ambassador to Rwanda and declassified U.S. documents from 1994 establish that: (a) the assassination of the President of Burundi in October 1993 triggered a “genocide of 150,000 Burundian Hutus;” (b) hundreds of thousands of Burundian Hutu refugees then poured into Rwanda; (c) Rwandan Patriotic Front military aggression displaced 1.5 million Rwandans in early 1993; and (d) the Rwandan Patriotic Front assassinated the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in April 1994. And that these were the actual causes of the Rwanda Genocide. The U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda personally warned Kagame in November 1993 that, if he resumed the war, he would be responsible for mass violence in Rwanda in 1994 like that in Burundi in 1993. This was confirmed by cables from the State Department on April 7, 1994;

• U.N. documents show that the RPF was militarily dominant as of February 1993 and, according to U.N. Gen. Dallaire’s cables to the U.N. in April-June 1994, Kagame refused to stop the violence because he was winning;

• Former ICTR Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte’s 2009 memoirs document then-Gen. Kagame’s culpability for the assassination of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi of April 6, 1994, that began the Rwandan Genocide, as does the 2008 indictment issued by Spanish Judge Fernando Abreu Merelles and the 2006 indictment of French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière;

• The Spanish indictment also describes, prefecture-by-prefecture, 325,000 murders of Hutus and Tutsis for which Kagame and the RPF are responsible, not including the massive killing after 1994, in both Rwanda and neighboring Congo;

• Shortly after Erlinder’s release, the U.N. issued the 600-page “Mapping Report” documenting the Rwandan Patriotic Army’s genocidal massacres, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003. U.N. Security Council Reports document RPF resource rape of the Congo in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008 of at least $250 million per year, resulting in millions of deaths.

In October 2010, President Kagame issued orders to RPF leaders for Professor Erlinder’s return to Rwanda “dead or alive.” Given the hundreds if not thousands of assassinations and disappearances of his opponents, there is little doubt Kagame would add his name to that list if he could.

Professor Erlinder has been under medical treatment for post-traumatic stress syndrome since he returned from detention, and this is a matter of record in the ICTR, although the Appeal Chamber chose to ignore his medical condition. His doctors and lawyers will determine the proper response, should he be summoned to return as Ngoga threatened.

Click here to download Professor Peter Erlinder’s analysis and documentation published in the DePaul University Law School Journal of Justice: “The United Nations Ad Hoc Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR-TPIR): International justice or judicially-constructed victors’ impunity?


10 thoughts on “Rwanda: Who’s denying genocide?


    Ann you know this people are animal like any other animal their work is to continue hunting hutus after all this 20 year hunting and killing Hutus they are not tired I wonder where all Hutus are because if they wait upon the international community to rescue Hutus from the killing torutre and oppressions executed by Kagame then they will wait until they all die. I wanted to appeal to Hutus whereaver they are to stand up like Tunisians, and Egyptains..please wake up and stand up for your rights if you really want to live in peace otherwise you are finished

  2. indemarugamba

    it's funny to see a black newspaper hanging on the Old White men to tell the truth when all you need is to read or meet survivors to get the real story! Erlinder did never lived through what Rwandans lived through since 1959 and before, he is just another white men coming to "enlighten" the dark continent. But we have enough of such self-styled missionaires, the Belgium Colonialist and the French neo-colonialist caused us enough harm, we won't let anyone else define us.
    Erlinder is proven to be mentally ill, professionally lacking, would'nt be a poor african country nobody would dare to bring him into comparison with a head of State…you said black newspaper? take the shakles off!

    1. therisingcontinent

      I am Rwandan and Hutu. Before 1959, my parents and their Hutu ancestors had been slaves of Tutsi aristocrats who ruled over Rwanda for almost 4 centuries. Through a social revolution/uprising which started on November 1st of that year, Hutu overuled their all time Tutsi masters. Apparently 30,000 Tutsi were killed, others fled the country, but the majority of Tutsi remained. In 1990, descendants of Tutsi aristocracy who were eager to come back and rule over Hutus as their parents before, had organised themselves in Uganda under the Rwandan Patriotic Front. I lost friends both Hutu and Tutsi, family members including my mother, because of the civil war that RPF started from Uganda on October 1st, 1990. Some were killed by Hutu militias and others by Tutsi RPF. When people imply that there cannot be a Hutu genocide because there has been a Tutsi genocide which has been well promoted in the international general public, and overlook all the facts proving systematic killing of Hutus because they were simply Hutus, I can only consider them as racist against Hutus. By now, they should've reviewed their perception of Tutsi extremists, who are today leading Rwanda since July 1994. There is overwhelming evidence to prove their crimes against Hutus. RPF are not so the good guys people were made to believe they are. This does not necessarily make look good the bad guys from the Hutu side.

  3. objectiveobserver

    I saw Erlinder speak at Fordham Law School. When he was asked if he would be willing to use the word Genocide to describe what happened to the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 he did NOT say what you said he says. you say, "Professor Erlinder has publicly stated, on numerous occasions, that he does not deny that tens of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis perished between April and July 1994, in circumstances that fit the definition of the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." His public appearance at Fordham Law School firmly contradicts this statement of yours. Moreover, his presentation was clearly disorganized and unprofessional. When he said "The RPF is responsible for the deaths of three hundred thousand people in Rwanda between 1992 and 1994" his power point presentation flashed on the board in huge letters the figure : 300,000,000 — . Why is he so disorganized and unprofessional in both his presentation and also in his arguments. He should just say loud and clear "There was a genocide of the tutsi in Rwanda in 1994." And then, he should professionally present evidence and say whatever else he wants to say about other deaths and other entities who were involved. He says he has evidence against the USA in all of this for example. If he really has a case against the USA, then go ahead and put forth that evidence. If the evidence exists, it is not in contradiction to the fact that a Genocide against the Tutsi took place. Genocide is very specific, and it occurred in Rwanda in 1994 against the Tutsis. Please watch the video from the Fordham Presentation. He truly refuses to say that a Genocide of the Tutsi took place in Rwanda. If we are ever going to move forward in this world, then we need to expect more professionalism of our lawyers and of those people who support those lawyers such as the author's of this article.


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