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Extracts from the Rapporteur Report, The Hague June 1-3, 2014 International Decision-Making in the Age of Genocide: Rwanda 1990-1994

Extracts from the Rapporteur Report, The Hague June 1-3, 2014  International Decision-Making in the Age of Genocide: Rwanda 1990-1994

Source : Rwanda Rapporteur Report - 4-3-15 FINAL.pdf

Page 7

Ambassador Jean-Marie Ndagijimana :

"According to Jean-Marie Ndagijimana, who served as Rwandan ambassador to France during the pre-genocide period, French support for Habyarimana was counter-balanced by Ugandan support for the RPF. “People say that his [Habyarimana’s] regime would have collapsed without the support of France, but you can say the same thing about the RPF. Without support from abroad, the RPF would not have managed to come back after October 1990.” [Ndagijimana, T1-33]."

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Pages 8 & 9

Roméo Dallaire, Ami Mpungwe, a senior Tanzanian diplomat, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, Nigeria’s representative on the UN Security Council,

Peacemakers vs Peacekeepers
"One of the starkest policy disconnects over Rwanda became apparent right at the start of our conference when the former UNAMIR Force Commander was asked to describe the challenges of implementing the August 1993 Arusha accords. General Dallaire told us that he was immediately confronted with a series of “impossible milestones” negotiated by the warring parties with little or no input from the UN. According to Dallaire, the unrealistic timetable for the implementation of the Arusha agreements (notably a 37-day deadline for the creation of a “Broad-Based Transitional Government” and a two-year deadline for “democratic elections”) had the effect of exacerbating tensions on the ground.
It is one thing to negotiate [a peace agreement], another to end up with something you can actually implement. I gather that the diplomats felt they had to conclude a peace agreement in order to stabilize the situation in the country. One of the tools they created to ensure this would happen was to create these incredible milestones, including having [international peacekeeping] forces on the ground and the Broad-Based Transitional Government set up by September 10, and so on…There was no way we could meet these deadlines. To me, this is a major dysfunctional situation which I expect diplomats to try to figure out, rather than simply write something down and hope for the best. [Dallaire, T1-26, 27].
Dallaire’s comments drew an immediate response from Ami Mpungwe, a senior Tanzanian diplomat who served as facilitator for the Arusha-based peace negotiations between 1992 and 1993. According to Mpungwe, the negotiators of the Arusha accords were “worried that the UN bureaucratic processes might not be in sync with the timelines we had established.” [Mpungwe, T1-11]. Realizing that this could be a problem,
 the peacemakers sent messages to the UN Secretary-General urging him to send a reconnaissance mission to Rwanda while the negotiations were still going on. But the UN “refused to start the implementation process until we got a full agreement.” [Mpungwe, T1-35].

Nigeria’s representative on the UN Security Council, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, said “it was a huge mistake…to ask the UN to implement an agreement with which it was not closely associated.” [Gambari, T1-42]."

James Gasana

An uninvolved public
Several participants in our conference highlighted a disconnect between the diplomatic process in Tanzania and the political process back home in Rwanda. As they shuttled back and forth between Arusha, Kigali and Mulindi [headquarters of the RPF], the diplomats and politicians inhabited three very different worlds. The diplomatic negotiations were frequently out of sync with events unfolding on the ground. At other times, according to James Gasana, Rwandan defense minister from 1992 to 1993, the peace negotiations became a substitute for a political dialogue that should have taken place inside Rwanda itself. “The internal dialogue that should
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have taken place in Rwanda even before the diplomatic process, or at the same time as the process, did not take place. It was shifted to Arusha.” [Gasana, T1-16, 17].

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Page 15

Hubert Védrine

Internal turf battles also made it difficult for national governments to develop coherent policies on Rwanda, both before and after the onset of the genocide. General Dallaire said he was often confused about who was “running the show in France,” citing differences between the French defense ministry and foreign ministry. [Dallaire, T1-76]. Hubert Védrine reminded conference participants that French parliamentary elections of March 1993 resulted in a political arrangement known as “cohabitation” that divided power between a left-wing president [Mitterrand] and a right-wing Prime Minister [Edouard Balladur] and foreign minister [Alain Juppé]. [Védrine, T1-63]. According to other French insiders, cohabitation made it difficult to react quickly when the massacres began. In a memorandum dated May 5, 1994, Dominique Pin, a Mitterrand advisor on Africa, complained that the conservative government was “culpably apathetic” on Rwanda. “The speeches were: we retreat back home,” Pin noted. “I am personally convinced that if there had been no cohabitation, we would have acted otherwise and avoided the massacres.” [BB 4-13].

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Pages 15 & 16

Prudence Bushnell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department

Similar political and bureaucratic divisions were visible in the United States, where the Pentagon resisted even modest State Department attempts to get more closely involved in Rwanda. “The DoD [Department of Defense] did not want to spend money,” recalled Prudence Bushnell, who was in charge of day-to-day policy on Rwanda as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. According to Bushnell, the State Department had to rely on the efforts of a foreign government in order to prevail in the bureaucratic turf battle with the Pentagon over authorization of a peace mission for Rwanda.
I used to call them the “no-where, no-how, no-way, and not with our toys, boys” ….The only reason that we got into Rwanda was because the French twisted our arm in Somalia…We in the Africa Bureau were thrilled that the French were more successful in our interagency process than the Department of State or USAID.

Roméo Dallaire :
In a subsequent communication to the organizers, Dallaire referenced a February 25, 1994 Belgian foreign ministry cable to New York that stated that “Booh-Booh seems to have lost his local credibility.” [BB 2-90]. He also cited a 1997 report by the Belgian Senate, which concluded that the SRSG did not meet his responsibilities. According to the Senate report, the SRSG was “totally passive after April 6. As a consequence, General Dallaire, the Force Commander was obliged to also occupy himself with the political aspects of the UNAMIR mission, the military aspect having being relegated to second place.” A former foreign minister of Cameroon, Booh-Booh wrote a 2006 book titled Le Patron de Dallaire Parle: revelations sur les dérives d'un général de l'ONU au Rwanda, that was sharply critical of the Force Commander.
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[Opponents of US involvement in Rwanda] found every excuse whatsoever to make the mandate as limited in time and in manpower as possible. Boy oh boy, did the shooting down of the [Habyarimana] plane on April 6 and the withdrawal of the Belgians give us the excuse we needed to pull the plug. It was an unfortunate period in my government’s history. [Bushnell, T2-29].

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Pages 18 &19

Ambassador Jean-Marie Ndagijimana :

"In the event, just about everything that could go wrong with the smooth implementation of the peace plan did go wrong. Melchior Ndadaye, the first democratically-elected president of Burundi, and country’s first Hutu president, was assassinated on October 21, 1993, the day before General Dallaire arrived in Kigali to take up his post as commander of UNAMIR. The Ndadaye murder by officers from Burundi’s Tutsi-dominated army triggered attacks by Hutu militias against Tutsi civilians and retaliatory attacks against Hutu civilians by the armed forces. More than 100,000 people were killed during these massacres and counter-massacres, and 700,000 Burundians fled the country. The arrival of half a million Burundian refugees in southern Rwanda was profoundly destabilizing. In the opinion of former Rwandan ambassador to Paris Ndagijimana, the two countries function “like connecting vases. When something important happens in Burundi, it reproduces itself almost automatically a few months later in Rwanda…the Ndadaye assassination was more or less the destruction of the Arusha Accords.” [Ndagijimana, T1-32]."

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Page 23 

Professor Filip Reyntjens :

Controversy also surrounded the role played by the RPF, and whether the rebel movement was ever willing to agree to free elections in Rwanda, given its identification with the minority Tutsi population. Filip Reyntjens, a former Belgian human rights activist and author of several books on Rwanda, said it was a “major mistake” to see the Rwandan conflict “in terms of good guys and bad guys. This is a story of bad guys, period.” [Reyntjens, T2-76]. 

Ambassador Yohan Swinnen :

"One of the major unresolved mysteries from the genocide period concerns the shootdown of the Habyarimana plane, the incident that provided the immediate trigger for the genocide. Ambassador Swinnen noted that there had been several investigations into the incident, including two French inquiries and a Rwandan government inquiry, but no widely accepted conclusions. “I think we should be indignant about the fact that the international community, twenty years later, has still not commissioned an official international inquiry to answer the question: who was responsible for this attack?”[Swinnen, T2-93].

Ibrahim Gambari, Johan Swinnen and Joyce Leader :

There was general agreement that the withdrawal of most UN peacekeepers from Rwanda at the very start of the genocide was “a disastrous decision [with] horrendous consequences,” in the phrase of Nigeria’s UN envoy, Ibrahim Gambari. [Gambari, T2-18]. The departure of the most capable UNAMIR units, led by the Belgians, gave extremist Hutu militia a free rein in the capital Kigali. An estimated 500,000 to one million Rwandans, predominantly Tutsis, were murdered over the next three months in organized killing sprees that spread from Kigali to other parts of Rwanda. Johan Swinnen and Joyce Leader both described desperate appeals from moderate Hutu military officers, calling for international intervention to end the killing. [Swinnen, T2-46; Leader T2-50]. In an April 12, 1994 cable, Leader quoted a senior Rwandan army officer, Colonel Leonidas Rusatira, as saying that the “killing surpassed all imagination, with whole families being decimated” but that it “would not be difficult for French and Belgian troops to gain control of the situation.”[BB 2-142].

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Page 24 

Ambassador Charles Murigande :

"Several participants mentioned RPF opposition to a strengthening in the UNAMIR mandate to allow the force to engage “in a combat role.” An RPF statement dated April 30, 1994 insisted that the “time for UN intervention is long past” since the genocide was “almost completed” and a “UN intervention at this stage can no longer serve any useful purpose.”14 According to former State Department official David Scheffer, the RPF position bolstered the arguments of Pentagon officials who were opposed to military intervention of any kind in Rwanda. “It provided the basis for cynical remarks at the policy table, which do not always come through in the published documents.” [Scheffer, T2-88].
A former RPF representative in the United States, Ambassador Charles Murigande, said the April 30 letter reflected frustration over the passivity of the international community. “When the genocide started, instead of reinforcing UNAMIR, the international community decided to withdraw almost all of UNAMIR. We felt abandoned. Almost a whole month goes by, people are dying daily by the thousands, and then we see a proposal for the reinforcement of UNAMIR. We interpreted this proposal as a desire to do everything possible to save a government that had just committed genocide.” [Murigande, T2-86]."

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Page 25

Czech UN Ambassador Karel Kovanda : "There was a difference of opinion among participants over the importance of using the term “genocide” to describe the ethnically-based mass killing that took place in Rwanda. Czech UN Ambassador Karel Kovanda noted that “if you identify something as genocide, you have to do something about it. If you do not do anything about it, you are violating the Genocide Convention as well.” [Kovanda, T2-27].15 The UN Security Council first used the term in an official document in a draft resolution introduced by Kovanda on April 28, but the word was dropped in the final resolution, at the insistence of non-aligned countries (including Rwanda). [Riza, T2-102].

Former State Department official David Scheffer expressed concern that debates over the “genocide” expression could delay an effective response. “Why? Because of the legal analysis it invites, which delays and obfuscates what actually needs to be done by policy makers.” Scheffer said he preferred the term “atrocity crimes” which was a way of signaling policy makers that they needed “to respond very effectively to what we know are crimes of high magnitude…What begins as a crime against humanity may ultimately be determined to be a genocide. Who knows? But we have to have a response.” [Scheffer, T2-88]."

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Page 28

Doctor Jean-Hervé Bradol of Médecins Sans Frontières"After witnessing the early atrocities in Kigali, Doctor Jean-Hervé Bradol of Médecins Sans Frontières also lobbied the French and US governments to intervene to halt the genocide. Bradol said that MSF noticed a “change in the rhetoric of French officials” by the beginning of June, almost two months into the genocide. At a private meeting with MSF officials on June 14, President Mitterrand described the interim Rwandan government as “a gang of assassins”. Bradol also traveled to Washington to try to persuade the Clinton administration “to give some of their armored personnel carriers from Somalia to UNAMIR, to make it possible to evacuate the wounded across the front lines.” Because of bureaucratic obstacles, the APCs did not arrive in time to be useful. [Bradol, T2-73]."

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Page 30

Monique Mujawamariya : "I no longer believe in the international community. It is like a mythical dragon which everyone fears but which does not actually exist. No one knows what it does. However, I do believe in great powers. They certainly exist. I believe it was the great powers who abandoned Rwanda. Why did the great powers abandon Rwanda? Because the officials who could have done something to make sure that great powers would be involved did not do anything. There is a kind of professionalism without soul, without sensibility. People sitting in offices cease to be human. These officials did not transmit the information to all those important offices in the United Nations, and therefore the information did not circulate. Because the information did not circulate, no decision could be taken. Everybody thought that each person in his own corner had the power to draw conclusions without consulting others. I think this is what sentenced Rwanda. [Mujawamariya, T2-65]."

 

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