Rwanda and Uganda are threatening to send troops across their borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo yet again to, they say, eliminate the Hutu refugee militia known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR. Going after the Hutu refugee militia has been Rwanda and Uganda’s excuse for crossing into Congo for the past 18 years, since the outset of the First Congo War in 1996.
International argument over “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” the BBC documentary that upends widely held belief about the Rwandan massacres of the 1990s and discredits the authoritarian regime of President Paul Kagame, continues in the European, African and U.S. press. Earlier this week, Belgium canceled 40 million Euro in development aid because “Rwanda continues to fail to make any progress in the areas of press freedom and good governance.”
The government of Rwanda has established a Commission of Inquiry to indict the BBC for the crime of genocide denial. In its recently aired documentary, “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” the government and its supporters have accused the BBC of bias and speaking only to one side. This week, however, when Belgian scholar Filip Reyntjens offered to speak to the commission in response to those attacking him for what he told the BBC, they refused to speak with him.
A Rwandan witness for a French court investigating the assassination of two African presidents, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, in 1994 has gone missing and is reported to have been kidnapped in Nairobi, Kenya. The witness, Emile Gafirita, is a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
In Louisiana, a federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that overturned the murder conviction of Albert Woodfox, the last member of the Angola 3 still in prison. The Angola 3 are internationally recognized as political prisoners and symbols of a racist system of mass incarceration and solitary confinement. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Robert King, the other surviving Angola 3 member. Here’s that interview.
Nov. 8, 2014, was the 20th anniversary of the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and the court celebrated itself with a new legacy website and video tribute. CIUT-Ontario radio host Phil Taylor, a former private investigator for ICTR defense attorneys, who became a prominent critic of the court, called the video contemptible self-promotion and endorsement of Paul Kagame’s military dictatorship in Rwanda.
After becoming the leader of the Rwandan Diaspora’s opposition to the authoritarian regime of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Victoire Ingabire returned to Rwanda to run against him in the 2010 election. She was instead placed under house arrest shortly after her return and is now serving a 15 year sentence. This week the African Court of Human and People’s Rights agreed to hear her case on appeal, in Arusha, Tanzania.
“Rwanda’s Untold Story,” a controversial BBC documentary first aired in the U.K. on Oct. 1, undermines the rationale for military action against the FDLR fighters in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu Provinces. The FDLR has been described as the militia that committed the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, but the documentary suggests that no one was more responsible than Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame himself.
The BBC documentary, “Rwanda: The Untold Story,” has become the subject of fierce argument including many open letters to the BBC both applauding and attacking it. Paul Kagame accused the BBC of “genocide denial” and his state newspaper, The New Times, even called on the International Criminal Court to indict the network and/or its producers. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to international criminal defense attorney Peter Erlinder.
A new BBC documentary titled “Rwanda: The Untold Story” upended the world’s basic beliefs about what really happened during the Rwandan war and genocide of the 1990s. The history that the documentary challenges is not legally enforced in the United States, as it is in Rwanda, but it is ideologically central to U.S. foreign policy. The bombing of both Libya and Syria were prefaced by U.S. officials’ urgent warnings that we must “stop the next Rwanda.”
Victoire Ingabire has become an icon of peace and democracy in the war ravaged Great Lakes Region of Africa. She returned to Rwanda in 2010, announcing her intention to run against sitting Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who responded by imprisoning her instead. Opponents in Rwanda are neutralized, and they try to do that with people abroad too. This is what is happening now with Victoire Ingabire’s husband Lin Muyizere.
The City of Atlanta hosted the fourth international Rwanda Day on September 20, 2014. Rwanda Day celebrations were held in Chicago in 2011, Boston and London in 2012, and Toronto in 2013. Rwandan and Congolese exiles and refugees have appeared to protest each time, as they did again in Atlanta. Bruce Dixon, Atlanta resident and managing editor of the Black Agenda Report, attended the protest.
An international argument between French and Rwandan officials broke out this week after Rwandan President Gen. Paul Kagame accused the French of playing a direct role in the political preparation of genocide in an interview with Jeune Afrique. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira canceled her plan to attend the genocide commemoration in Kigali, but then the Rwandan government announced that they had canceled her invitation anyway.
Twenty-four years after the Ugandan invasion of Rwanda in October 1990, both the history of the four-year war that followed and realities of life on the ground in Rwanda today are fiercely disputed. Claude Gatebuke survived the violence and founded the African Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN) to promote truth and reconciliation in Rwanda and the rest of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
WBAI AfrobeatRadio spoke to St. John’s University Law School Professor Charles Kambanda on April 9, 2011, during the first week of Rwanda’s 17-year commemoration of the 1994 genocide. Pacifica and AfrobeatRadio producer Ann Garrison and Professor Kambanda asked us to republish the audio archive and transcript as the 20th Anniversary Commemorations of the Rwandan Genocide begin.
Kagame denies responsibility for the assassination attempts even as he welcomes their success, as he did that of his former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya, who was strangled by multiple assassins. Shortly thereafter, Kagame told a Rwandan audience, mostly in their own language, Kinyarwanda, that you can’t betray Rwanda without being punished.
Supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire marched in Brussels, Belgium, today to denounce the Rwandan Supreme Court’s December ruling, which increased her sentence on appeal. British lawyer Iain Edwards said that he is still waiting for a translation of the ruling before saying whether or not they will appeal beyond Rwanda to a regional court or to the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan all share borders. Each of these three countries is now engulfed in tribal or religious sectarian violence, and Uganda, a longtime U.S. military partner, has troops in both the Central African Republic and South Sudan. U.S. Special Forces have been on the ground with Ugandan troops in both countries since 2011.
Supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire will hold an all day sit-in outside the Rwandan Embassy in Brussels on Friday, Nov. 1, the day that Rwanda’s Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on her appeal. Ingabire has been behind bars in Rwanda’s 1930 maximum security prison for three years, since October of 2010.
Yesterday the Southern Africa Development Community, a regional body, issued a statement of concern about the deployment of Rwandan troops along Rwanda’s common border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressing the hope that Rwanda will not invade and is not thinking about invading. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.