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Last year the African Union resisted Western pressure to intervene militarily in Burundi. On Oct. 26, Burundi officially completed its withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) without being indicted. Western powers, NGOs and press have accused Burundi of human rights abuse within its own borders but not of invading another country. I asked Canadian lawyer David Paul Jacobs, an expert in international law, to contextualize this distinction.
In October 2016, the tiny East African nation of Burundi made history by raising an independent head against U.S. empire. Its legislature voted to withdraw from membership in the International Criminal Court, a tool that the U.S. and its Western allies use to discipline unruly African leaders – especially those who sign resource extraction contracts with Russia or China and/or those who try to do anything for their own people. The Burundian government fits both descriptions.
The Canadian Globe and Mail reports that the United States has warned former Rwandan military officer Robert Higiro that his life is in danger because of evidence he gave to The Globe and Mail, to the BBC and to a U.S. House Subcommittee about the Rwandan government’s alleged efforts to assassinate dissidents who had fled abroad. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
Potentially catastrophic military operations, authorized by the U.N. Security Council, may lie ahead soon for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.N. Security Council has urged the Congolese army to join U.N. combat troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi in hunting down the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Rwandan refugee militia commonly known as the FDLR.
In a blatant violation of the Congolese Constitution and of the rules and regulations governing the DRC health care system, Congolese President Joseph Kabila ordered the seizing of the bank account of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the hospital founded and run by Dr. Denis Mukwege. Joseph Kabila is persecuting Panzi and Dr. Mukwege in a way that no legitimate president of the citizens of a country should.
President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is organizing what he calls Rwanda Day in the city of Atlanta. The United States, which takes pride in its democratic history, and the City of Atlanta, which played such a proud role in the American Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, cannot want to appear to the world as supporters of dictatorship and mass murder, but allowing Paul Kagame to organize “Rwanda Day” in Atlanta tells the world that they are.
The widows of the assassinated presidents of Rwanda and Burundi have petitioned the Supreme Court in Habyarimana v. Kagame to reject Obama administration claims of unreviewable executive power to strip federal courts of jurisdiction for money damages for “extra-judicial” murders and other violations of international law committed by Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame will speak at the University of Hartford, Connecticut’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies to mark the launch of its “Genocide and Holocaust Education Initiative,” despite scholars, journalists and protestors all over the world, and nearly 20 years of U.N. reports accusing Kagame himself of genocide and mass atrocities in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ingabire returned to her native Rwanda from the Netherlands in January 2010 to stand for the presidency against incumbent President Paul Kagame, but she was not allowed to run and was imprisoned on charges of terrorism and genocide ideology. A court sentenced her to eight years, and her lawyers have filed an appeal with the Rwandan Supreme Court.
The Obama administration was on the defensive about the U.S. relationship with Rwanda and its U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice at the Dec. 11, 2012, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Two days after the hearing, Rice withdrew her name from consideration to become secretary of state. In President Obama’s statement on Susan Rice, issued the same day, he praised her work but did not mention Rwanda, Uganda or Congo.
The Kagame regime arrested opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza 15 days after the release of the U.N. report documenting the regime’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocidal massacres of Hutu civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and she has remained behind bars ever since.
Rwanda Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga warned leading opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire that she might be jailed once again if she continues speaking to the press. He also said that "some defense lawyers at the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda) have badly deviated from their professional duties and turned into activists and advocates of genocide denial.”
Rwanda arrested presidential candidate Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza on Wednesday, April 21, at her home in Kigali, and her Rwandan support team thank pressure from the international community for her surprise release on bail the next day. Supporters should be ready, should Rwanda Greens candidate Frank Habineza be arrested, to post the news and call for his release.