IMPUNITY IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION – A BLIND EYE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

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A human society faces continuously ups and downs in its existence. There will not be a perfect society. To keep things in order, rules and laws are applied. When the rules and laws of a given human society bite there is a big chance to succeed to get rid of unpleasant behaviour of some members who want to bring disunity, instability, fear and endless suffering to others. Rules and laws can achieve these if there are democratic institutions in this society/country/region.

In the great lakes region, it can be stated that the rule of law has become a taboo and it remains number one the cause of the prevailing instability and endless conflicts. I can start with the launch of RPF-Inkotanyi attack on Rwanda in October 1990. RPF members committed atrocities in the areas they were controlling before 1994, Byumba and Ruhengeri. Many Rwandans fled their homes and close to one million internal displaced people were around Kigali before 1994 Rwandan massacres. During this period, the international community was looking at the then government and ignoring how RPF soldiers were using “Agafuni” (an old hoe with a short handle) and indiscriminate shooting at people to kill all Rwandans who were in their path (especially hutu population). This blind eye of the international community was the result of the lobbying of the RPF and its allies (many super power countries were behind this move of RPF to grab unshared power in Rwanda, some names cited many times include Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Rick Warren and Romeo Dallaire) (http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-was-behind-the-1994-rwanda-genocide/5406344).

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Figure 1. RPF soldiers

In 1991, Rwandans were given opportunity to form their parties and challenge the ruling party for a possible genuine democracy that was taking place in Rwanda. What was good and should be remembered is the political space which allowed anybody to express his/her political views without any intimidation. It will take a lot of energy to get again a political space like this one. Rwandans decided to end the conflict, which was started by RPF, by engaging RPF members through a dialogue.  Different parties participated in this process. Most of Rwandans were believing that the reason of picking up weapons was to return home as they were refugees. The process of returning refugees peacefully was under way, but RPF members chose to return by force using guns and ammunitions. What surprised many people was the heinous act of RPF of shooting down the presidential jet carrying two hutu presidents from Rwanda and Burundi, Juvenal Habyalimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira on the 6th April 1994 and avoiding the Arusha accord which was to bring a transitional government before a general election. Then, the 1994 Rwandan massacres started. RPF had engineered the killings by infiltrating the Rwandan youth and making sure that no external intervention to come to stop the killings (http://intabaza.com/?p=759&lang=en), close to one million of people lost their lives in these massacres that took almost three months to stop. Hutu were the most to be killed as RPF soldiers overpowered the then Rwandan regular army and no external intervention was present. Most of RPF soldiers (>90%) were tutsi and had in mind of reducing hutu population, 700 000 hutu are believed to have died in these three months alone in 1994. It is true that all ethnic groups lost their beloved ones, but the truth remains, this carnage was brought in Rwanda by RPF-Inkotanyi. Every human life is expensive, it is still unbelievable how RPF refused any troops from outside to come to rescue Rwandans who were being killed.

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Figure 2 The crash of the presidential jet that was carrying two heads of state from Rwanda and Burundi, Juvenal Habyalimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, respectively.

ICTR drama

RPF-Inkotanyi grabbed the unshared power as it was planned, its western allies used media to demonise the “Abatabazi government”. This was to justify why the power could not be shared. Other “bad guys “were labelled genocidaires. But, these victims who were forced to be killers are not the ones who triggered the massacres, who infiltrated the youth to create chaos in the country and who refused any troops to come to Rwanda to stop the killings. The blind eye of the international community brought in the region another law “the law of jungle”, the mighty is right. RPF-Inkotanyi attacked a peaceful country on the 1st October 1990. They massacred many people in Byumba and Ruhengeri, Arusha accord was violated, the massacres were triggered and the killings were supervised to last three months. Now, the media of the powerful dictate what people should believe and accept. The victims should be killers and the killers should become the victims (http://www.theproxylake.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Jean_Kambanda_Statement_engl.pdf). The UN put in place an international court to investigate all crimes committed in three months only. Truly speaking, I do not understand why some crimes were better than others when it is known that lives were lost before 1994 and in 1994 (http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/9448#.V0B_FpxS3IU). If this was done for the naming of 1994 Rwandan massacres as “Rwandan genocide” then one could have expected another court to deal with other crimes that were committed before 1994. It is now 22 years without hearing any investigation of the crimes committed against Hutu who were killed in Byumba and Ruhengeri by RPF soldiers and the same ICTR never investigated the RPF crimes in 1994.

A closer look at the way ICTR operated reveals that only hutu were tried in this court. This is a pure racism, one cannot say that there is no single tutsi who killed people in 1994. Was there any investigation against RPF soldiers? If not why these people are not touchable? How can a respectful institution like UN accept to support a partial justice which increases polarity between our ethnic groups? Is dividing nations a good route to go in solving conflicts? 700 000 hutus were killed in 1994 and it does not mean anything to some lawyers, human rights and democrats in this world (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-rwanda-war-crimes-coverup/15037). When you increase an injustice in any society you become a catalyseur of any eventual conflict.

The UN prosecutor Mme Carla Del Ponte was employed by the ICTR and when she tried to start an investigation on the crimes committed by RPF soldiers she was removed there immediately.

In 1995, close to 100 000 internally displaced people were at Kibeho. These people were running from their villages as RPF soldiers were massacring all hutu in their path and other tutsi suspected not to have supported them. RPF soldiers used machine guns and mortars to destroy this camp in the eyes of Australian and Zambian peacekeepers. This operation of shooting indiscriminately vulnerable children, pregnant women, elderly people and the sick killed 8000 people (http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2015/04/27/kibeho-a-story-of-flesh-and-blood/). It is now 21 years without hearing any convictions of the murderers who killed their brothers and sisters mercilessly. 

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Figure 3 Kibeho massacre in 1995

The invasion of DRC in 1996 by RPA/RPF, FAB/Burundi and UPDF/Uganda will never be forgotten in the history of the great lakes region. This invasion started the real hell people in Congo have been living in. RPA/RPF destroyed Rwandan Hutu refugees in DRC in 1996-7. They wanted to repatriate all refugees forcefully in the eyes of the UNHCR. In the process, more than 300 000 hutu refugees were massacred indiscriminately and the international community was watching if there might be survivors or not (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/RDCProjetMapping.aspx).

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Figure 4. Moving hutu refugees in DRC like goods from one place to another in the forceful repatriation process.

The survivors run into deep forests in the eastern DRC and they have been abandoned since then till now by the international community. Recently more than 245 000 were counted to be remaining in this jungle without school, shelter and health facilities. The killings of refugees took place anywhere in DRC, the other horrifying massacres happened in Tingi Tingi. RPF shot in a camp of between 100 000 and 150 000 and many thousands of hutu refugees lost their lives. From that time onwards RPF forces have been crossing the border to hunt and kill these refugees. The international community has been aware of this heinous act without any intervention to stop the ongoing killings. This impunity of RPF is the source of its behaviour, the killers are praised worldwide and get sometimes awards of having the cleanest city in the region while people do not have their basic fundamental human rights.

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Figure 5. Hutu refugees being massacred in Tingi Tingi, DRC.

RPF-inkotanyi were thought in 1990 as returning refugees but later on it was found that it was nothing else than a group of individuals who wanted to control the great lakes region together with their western masters. They were ready to fight the proxy wars in the region on behalf of the western corporations who want to loot natural resources in the region. Many armed groups were formed, RCD, CNDP, M23 and others to destabilise the eastern part of the DRC. This allowed the looting of minerals like Coltan which is abundant in this region. Rwanda was once the first world producer of this mineral. You can ask yourself the fate of Generals   Nkunda, Ntaganda and Makenga. All these generals were fully supported by Kigali regime. This impunity cost lives of more than 6 million Congolese and other millions of girls and women were raped (http://www.globalresearch.ca/kagames-mass-atrocities-in-rwanda-and-the-congo/5346739). How do we call these massacres? Is not a real super genocide committed by the ever hungry people of natural resources in the great lakes region?

In November 2013, M23 was smoked out of the mountains of Tchanzu (eastern DRC) in their last strong hold by a UN intervention force under MONUSCO. These men and women from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi said that enough was enough. Rwanda and Uganda had to pull out and give a break to Congolese for a short period. But now we are hearing that insecurity continues and killings are high for hutu refugees and Congolese by infiltrated elements from Rwanda and Uganda who work together with FARDC accomplices. The international community keeps its blind eye and does not want to hurt the people who take care of their cities with a horrible human rights record. What we continue to hear in the news is the military training of Burundian refugees in Rwanda. Rwanda was accused by its neighbour Burundi of creating instability and supporting the rebels (http://cndd-fdd.org/2016/03/29/communique-n-0062016-of-the-cndd-fdd-party-of-march-26th-2016/). Some Rwandan soldiers were captured on Burundian territory (e.g. attack of Kayanza from Rwanda in 2015).

2010 Rwandan elections drama – Mme Ingabire Victoire imprisoned

Mme Victoire Ingabire from FDU-Inkingi wanted to participate in the presidential elections of 2010. She was living in Netherlands with her family and decided to go to Rwanda to give her contribution to bring a genuine democracy in Rwanda. She was frank in her rhetoric about the 1994 Rwandan massacres. She said that if there are memorial sites for Tutsi who died in 1994 there must be other memorial sites for Hutu as well. It is clear to everyone that Hutu and Tutsi died in 1994 and after many hutu were killed in Kibeho and DRC. And her point was right if you want a reconciled nation you cannot deny rights to one group of people and recognise them to another. This creates tension and hatred between them. Mme Victoire Ingabire was aware of the renaming of “Rwandan genocide” in “genocide against Tutsi”. But still she believed that Hutu also were killed in 1994 Rwandan massacres. Many researchers in this 1994 carnage have shown that hutu were the most who were killed this time. And many continue to question the renaming of these killings where the culprits of hutu killings are running away of their crimes committed against humanity. Because of the prevailing impunity, Mme Victoire Ingabire was charged with various fabricated allegations and put in jail. These days she has wanted to challenge the verdict in regional courts but the Rwandan government run away. All measures are in place not to allow her defence lawyers in Rwanda (http://abovethelaw.com/2010/06/genocide-denying-law-professor-peter-erlinder-imprisoned-in-rwanda/http://africanarguments.org/2013/12/19/injustice-and-indifference-victoire-ingabire-is-sentenced-to-15-years-on-appeal-in-rwanda-by-kris-berwouts/).

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Rweru drama and people disappearances in Rwanda

Rweru is a lake between Rwanda and Burundi. The river Akagera from Rwanda goes through this lake. In 2014, more than 40 human bodies were found floating in this lake. There were many discussions where these bodies were coming from and many journalists were pointing Rwanda as the source. The bodies were in the bags, arms tighten at the back and the chest projected in front. This kind of killings was attributed to RPF members as it is well known under a name “Akandoyi”. People in the region are still waiting if those behind this heinous act can be brought to court of justice. In this year of 2014 many Rwandans inside the country were reported missing, more than 40 000 were reported missing. The Rwandan government did accept this terrifying phenomenon of missing people. Nobody knows where the missing people went and what happened to them. The government cannot be held accountable by anybody. This is another impunity, it is not known whether the government played any role in these disappearances or not https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/05/16/rwanda-spate-enforced-disappearances).

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Figure 6. Rwandan bodies found floating in Rweru.

Conclusion

We can like it or not the problem we have in our region is bigger than just Rwandan politics and hutu tutsi past and present relations. The intruder from outside has complicated the equation of achieving the peace and unity we need to live in our region without fear and intimidation. It is only a few individuals who are empowered by external ever hungry people of natural resources in the great lakes region. These few people can be labelled as puppets. The puppets have a full support of their masters and use tricks to destroy any organisation that tries to oppose them. There are many examples to illustrate this point, you can check who is putting millions of dollars on the heads of some individuals who happened not to work with RPF-Inkotanyi. They just silence them by labelling them as terrorists or wanted people. On other hand, 40 high ranking officers in RPF were put on list of wanted individuals who committed crimes against humanity and the same super powers keep on pushing the dossier under the carpet. It is the same when the ICTR was put in place, the UN prosecutor Mme Carla Del Ponte wanted to investigate the crimes committed by RPF soldiers and she was removed immediately by the same super powers who have been covering the atrocities committed by RPF-Inkotanyi. In other words, if justice can really take place, peace and stability can immediately return in the region. Who is against this impartial justice? It is the culprits. This is a tough equation to be solved if we need peace and stability in the great lakes region.

It is observed that some opposition members are still saying believing that some western masters of RPF might change the team. And what this change would be for inhabitants of the great lakes region? I can assure you unless you accept to do the same dirty work like the one performed by their puppets in the region it will be hard to see them acting to stop the ongoing killings, the other team must be forced to carry on the dirty work. It remains a big challenge to live in the world where the mighty is right but we need also to know the facts. It is not only pleasing our minds for a short period and cry for the rest of our lives. Strong minds are needed to figure out how this challenging problem can be solved and still keep an acceptable relationship with the donors. It is no use to receive an aid to save one million hungry people after killing other two millions using bullets.

If the international community continues to close their eyes while the puppets are slaughtering our brothers and sisters, the solution is to sharpen our minds how to have a stiff resistance against these people who are busy fighting proxy wars. It will be needed to mobilise our people and identify clearly those who are used to fight against themselves (I dare to say against themselves because later on they suffer from the chaos they create). We need to teach them through local media, social media and other avenues can be used. The biggest problem is the propaganda of the killers which is still dominating in our society. Once this small group of evildoers is identified, the problem will be half solved. If they cannot find those who fight for them how are they going to take even an inch in any area to destabilise the community? Their move will be revealed before they commit any unacceptable act. All well mentored people should become vigilant and report any suspicious movement in advance.

To sum up, the impunity in the great lakes region is maintained by the international community that continues to have a blind eye. We should not be discouraged and should work together to resist the slaughter by mobilising our people and reporting the move of these wrong doers. Love of our people, brothers and sisters should come first before love of our short time benefits. Solidarity among all people living in the great lakes region is a must. Together we shall defeat the evil.

Intabaza Reader,

David Rudatinya

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4 Responses to IMPUNITY IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION – A BLIND EYE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

  1. john says:

    Ku buyobozi bw’ikinyamakuru Intabaza,turabasaba ko mwajya mugaragaza itariki inkuru yandikiweho kugirango tubike izi nyandiko tuzazifashishe n’aho imyaka 200 yashira.

    Ibi bizadufasha gukomeza kwerekana ubugome bwa Kagame n’agatsiko bafatanije kurimbura abanyarwanda bababeshya ngo baje kubatabara.

    Ntabwo bizasaba imyaka 200 yose ngo ukuri kumenyekane.Kurazwi ni uko gukomeje kwirengagizwa.

  2. Kabatsi Tukibaho says:

    Very insightful to green readers of this history, very painful to those who lived and survived the horror and ordeal. Time will tell.

  3. Gisela, Cynthia says:

    This video can help to understand all about in Congo (DRC) between 1996 – 2002 only.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YPldzhAKgk

    Thank you for watching

  4. Gahunda George says:

    Thanks brother ! You are one of few people who understand the rotten trucks of these evildoers race. God is watching and ready to help us if we act!

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