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Implicated in Congo crimes, Rwanda’s Gen. Kagame has bigger headache than silencing Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, opposition chief

October 30, 2012

 

Because of Rwanda’s support of M23 terrorists in Congo, the U.S. cut some aid to Rwanda as have some European countries

Editorial by Milton Allimadi, Black Star News

The sham treason trial of Rwanda’s top opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, has finally ended with her expected conviction.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, unbowed by tyranny, looks regal despite her pink prison garb and shaved head.
The U.S., which recently cut aid to Rwanda for its role in Congo atrocities, must call for Umuhoza’s release. She has been sentenced to eight years in prison by a kangaroo court.

Her conviction by the kangaroo court must be set aside.

And what was her real crime? Umuhoza, an ethnic Hutu, had declared that genuine reconciliation in Rwanda can’t occur until the authorities acknowledge that in addition to Tutsis, Hutus were also massacred during the 1994 ethnic killings.

For taking this honest position, Umuhoza was arrested and charged with historical revisionism, inciting ethnic hatred and also “genocide denial.” She never had a chance at a fair trial. Her chief counsel, Peter Erlinder, an American law professor, was arrested earlier during the trial, imprisoned and also threatened with charges of “genocide denial” before being expelled from the country after an international outcry.

In truth, the charges against Umuhoza and the trial were convenient ways to prevent her from participating in Rwanda’s last presidential elections, which many observers believe she would have won. Rwanda’s dictator, Gen. Paul Kagame, was declared the winner with unheard of margins – the kind of election results that used to be associated with leaders of the Soviet Union.

Umuhoza was convicted for being brave and daring to challenge the Gen. Kagame regime.

In truth, the charges against Umuhoza and the trial were convenient ways to prevent her from participating in Rwanda’s last presidential elections, which many observers believe she would have won.

But Gen. Kagame himself has a much bigger headache. For years Kagame was granted a blank check by Western countries that credited him with halting the ethnic killings of 1994. That conventional narrative of Gen. Kagame as Rwanda’s savior has been under increasing scrutiny lately.

On Nov. 17, 2006, a French investigative judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, indicted several senior Rwanda military officers for the assassination of Rwanda’s then President Juvenal Habyarimana and for sparking Rwanda’s 1994 massacres. The judge said Kagame should stand trial for ordering the April 6, 1994, downing with missiles of the plane that carried Habyarimana; he perished with Burundi’s President Cyprien Ntaryamira, who was traveling with him.

According to the French judge, Gen. Kagame’s plan was to cynically use the chaos and mass killings that he knew would follow the assassination to seize power and be hailed as a liberator.

At the time of Habyarimana’s assassination, Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), which had launched a war of aggression in October 1990 from Uganda, backed by Yoweri Museveni, was inking a peace deal to stop four years of warfare.

For years Kagame had dismissed the charges by the French judge as a cover-up by France to mask that country’s own role in backing Habyarimana’s regime for years.

Yet Gen. Kagame’s alleged involvement in subsequent atrocities now make it harder to maintain the conventional narrative’s fantasies. In 2010 the United Nations so-called “Mapping Report” documented the massacres of Hutu refugees inside the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by Kagame’s army.

More recently, in June, Gen. Kagame’s army was implicated in a new United Nations Group of Experts’ report in the on-going massacres of civilians in Congo by a Rwanda backed group called M23.

Rwanda’s Gen. James Kaberebe, Rwanda’s defense minister who is implicated in the June U.N. report, was also indicted by Judge Bruguière in 2006 for the assassination of Habyarimana.

It’s possible the regime may have announced Umuhoza’s conviction – after several delays – to deflect attention from Gen. Kagame’s own crisis and as a negotiating carrot with his Western sponsors.

As a result of the United Nations’ findings, the United States has cut some aid to Rwanda as have some European countries. Congo’s government has called on the United Nations Security Council action against Rwanda; meanwhile Congolese and Rwandan activists want war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Gen. Kagame, a prospect that doesn’t seem totally unlikely anymore.

Given this backdrop, it’s possible the regime may have announced Umuhoza’s conviction – after several delays – to deflect attention from Gen. Kagame’s own crisis and as a negotiating carrot with his Western sponsors.

Nevertheless, a sham trial is a sham trial. Umuhoza must be released unconditionally or granted an impartial fully-monitored trial, with counsel of her choice.

Her conviction by the kangaroo court must be set aside.

Milton Allimadi, publisher and editor in chief of The Black Star News, New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, where this story first appeared, can be reached at Milton@blackstarnews.com. Allimadi has also worked for The Journal of Commerce, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The City Sun.

 

9 thoughts on “Implicated in Congo crimes, Rwanda’s Gen. Kagame has bigger headache than silencing Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, opposition chief

  1. James

    it is obvious and doesn't need big think to prove that the author has a corrupted mind and is ignorant of the facts on the ground just depending on heresy; plse come to Rwanda and witness the social, economic, reconciliation and democratic achievements under HE President Kagame. Stop your false, assumed supremacy tendencies where you think that yu have to determine our destin. Your ultra motive allegations are not news and will only end in abyss. We are tired of your arrogancy and lies.

    Reply
    1. therisingcontinent

      @James. Maybe you are not at the receiving end of the oppression of Rwandans by president Paul Kagame and his inner circle. It's not however a very ethically enviable place because you involuntary get associated with the oppressing group. The author of the article maybe foreign but he knows more about Rwanda than your leaders want you to know, because they don't want the general public to be aware of all these things. Ask yourself objectively why there isn't in Rwanda any independent press not linked to RPF? Is it because Rwanda is a paradise?

      Reply
  2. Ann_Garrison

    Thanks for writing that so quickly, Milton. Most outlets repeated the very history Victoire challenged as though it were written in stone, without a trace of irony. They might as well have convicted Victoire themselves.

    Edmund Kagire, one of Kagame's former state newspaper scribes, now with the East African, wrote the AP wire most are regurgitating.

    Reply
  3. Gakondo

    Milton Allimadi is a shame to journalism! Where in today's world do you think people will eat up your so despicable and Genocide denial rhetoric? You called twice in this article and i quote " Ethnic killings" what was a GENOCIDE! Why should I believe anything you write? May God of Rwanda and continue enlighten the people of the world!

    Reply
    1. therisingcontinent

      @Gakondo. I am going to find out with you some logical thinking around the Rwandan genocide of 1994, though I feel it might be difficult seeing where you stand. My family which is Hutu lost many members who were killed by both Interahamwe and RPF elements during the 100 days of 1994 covering what the UN termed as the Rwandan genocide. I know RPF has recuperated the terminology and simply named it the genocide of the Tutsi. If I say that during the genocide I lost many members of my family, am I wrong according to you, or do I become a genocide denial, because in your logic there can only be one genocide in Rwanda, the one that targeted Tutsi?

      Reply
  4. Ambrose Nzeyimana

    A great article, Milton. It sets straight the facts on what is going on in Rwanda with Paul Kagame’s dictatorship, and particularly his involvement in DRC. On the sentencing of Victoire Ingabire, members of her political party on the ground are saying that the Rwandan president by sentencing her so unfairly, had signed his departure from power.

    Reply
  5. Chuck Culpepper

    Eight years for exposing the lies, eight years for telling the truth – is there a newer less severe form of “justice” evolving in Rwanda? Ever since the RPF came to power thousands have either “disappeared” or been killed for daring to challenge President Kagame’s blatantly false propaganda regarding his real intentions before, during and since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

    What’s been the true cost of Rwanda’s and Uganda’s subsequent and ongoing control of the very substantial mineral and other resources in neighboring DR Congo?

    I pray that Ms. Ingabire’s courage will inspire others in Rwanda and around the world to stand up and challenge those who rule by fear and intimidation. Only when the liars are driven from power and Ms. Ingabire and other jailed opposition leaders trade places with those promoting the “false justice” demonstrated today will any “true justice” be accomplished.

    Those of us who refuse to be intimidated shall eventually prevail.

    Reply
  6. miguell

    @chuck culpepper ,these are people who were celebrating at time of genocide ,now they feel jealous of what our president is doing for rwandan,i think you should cool down other wise you are going to hang yourself.

    Reply
    1. therisingcontinent

      @Gakondo. I am going to find out with you some logical thinking around the Rwandan genocide of 1994, though I feel it might be difficult seeing where you stand. My family which is Hutu lost many members who were killed by both Interahamwe and RPF elements during the 100 days of 1994 covering what the UN termed as the Rwandan genocide. I know RPF has recuperated the terminology and simply named it the genocide of the Tutsi. If I say that during the genocide I lost many members of my family, am I wrong according to you, or do I become a genocide denial, because in your logic there can only be one genocide in Rwanda, the one that targeted Tutsi?

      Reply

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