La Tribune Franco-Rwandaise
PO BOX 11001 March 8, 2017
To: Paul Andrew, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications
Dear Mr. Vice President,
On behalf of the Organisation Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, which I am the founder and the President, I would like to express my shock and exasperation that Harvard University has yet again invited Rwandan dictator, President Paul Kagame to speak.
My name is Paul Rusesabagina, and during the 1994 Rwandan tragedy, I managed to rescue 1268 lives who sought refuge in the Hotel des Mille Collines, where I was employed as General Manager (https://www.millecollines.rw). After the 1994 mass massacre, me and many other Rwandans, have eye witnessed unprecedented crimes by Kagame and his army and heard utterances of hatred against Hutu population, and encouragements of killings by Kagame himself who was both the Vice President of the country and Minister of Defense. Some of the crimes I have eye witnessed include tying up people’s arms and legs by the back, hit their chests with a hammer or used hoe, until they die. Others were tied up in the same manner, thrown into containers and taken to the forests to be burnt alive. It then became clear to me, and many other people in Rwanda, that what was hoped to be achieved in terms of reconciliation of Rwandan people, was actually a dream that would never come true. These atrocities -during and after the military campaign- have been systematically documented and reported by Robert Gersony (Gersony report), the UN envoy. Please refer to (www.whale.to/b/gersony_report.html).
Another report came from Michael Hourigan, an Australian lawyer, who was commissioned by the UN to investigate the cause of the shooting down of the former presidential jet, an event that triggered the genocide. When the investigation was pointing the finger to Kagame, Louise
Arbour, the then chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ordered the halt of the investigation. (www.globalresearch.ca/who-triggered-the-rwandan-genocide-the-key-testimony/5368238). However, in a dramatic twist, Louise Arbour, recently confirmed that the RPF threatened the operations of the tribunal, including the halt of investigating into the death of his predecessor, President Habyarimana.
In April 1995, for about five days (17-21), during the first commemoration of the genocide, Kagame and his army went on to dismantle the refugee camp of Kibeho (South West of Rwanda, killing more than 8000 people, including women and children (www.pbase.com/kleine/cuthbertbrown_kibeho&page=all)
Not satisfied with these massacres, in 1996, Kagame followed Rwandan refugees and destroyed their camps in eastern DRC, killing thousands and repatriating others by force. In the process, he committed genocide against Hutu people and his continued support to the rebellions in the DRC, has culminated in the death of more than seven million of Congolese people. Refer to the UN Mapping report made public on October 1, 2010 (www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countires/CD/DRC_MAPPING_REPORT_FINAL_EN.pdf). It is from all these crimes, that Filip Reyntjens, professor of law and political sciences at Anvers University, made the following pronouncement: “Kagame is probably the worst war criminal in office today”.
The role of leading human rights organization -Human rights watch, Amnesty international – has not been ambiguous: in their yearly reports, they have been specifically highlighting the human rights abuses and killings of Kagame against his people. Their constant reports corroborate the US State Department’ Human Rights Report on Rwanda, which depicted the situation in the country as follows: “The most important human rights problems in the country were disappearances, government harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control and social order; […..] citizens did not have the ability to change their government through free and fair elections (http://www.state.gov/j/dr/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper)
Mr. Vice President,
Please be also informed that political space is completely closed in Rwanda, and the recent example of Father Thomas Nahimana who was refused entry to Rwanda (his country) to conduct his political activities, speaks volumes. Furthermore, President Kagame (who is in power since 2000), has forced Rwandan people to vote for his stay in power until 2034 in a theatrical referendum. In the past so-called elections, Kagame has been winning at 98% of the votes. Is this the democracy President Kagame is going to lecture at Harvard? Is he going to speak about his killings and human rights abuse? Despite these severe crimes and human
rights abuses, and many more that I cannot list here, Harvard University has been inviting President Kagame within its vicinity, to speak, even about democracy. What a mockery!!!! President Kagame cannot teach democracy to anybody, as he cannot lecture anybody about rule of law. For further reference, many informed and concerned people have been expressing their concerns about Harvard’s association with Kagame in the following different writings:
1) How Harvard abdicates its morale responsibility by Sacha Yabili: www.thecrimmson.com/article/2016/2/26/kagame-hts-vist/
2) Dictator in disguise by Ari Berman: www.harvardpolitics.com/world/your-friendly-neighborhood-dictator/
3) Kagame goes to Harvard by Paul Street: www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/22/kagame-goes-to-harvard/
In light with all the above, I therefore call upon the leadership of Harvard, to take a reflection on how the history will judge you and your institution, for hosting a man who carries such a heavy burden of crimes on his shoulders. As I write this letter now, please stay assured that killings never stopped, tying up people continues, where ordinary people are put in bags, thrown into rivers and lakes. Recent examples of business people and government officials killed include Assinapol rwigara, Rwabukumba, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, and many more are on the list of Kagame’s death squad. (www.inyenyerinews.org/justice-and-reconciliation/the-untold-stories-rwigara-assinapol-murdered-by-rpf-whi-is-next
Dear Mr. Vice president, I conclude my letter by stressing to you that president Kagame is a criminal, dictator, and a serial killer; a man that a prestigious Institution such as Harvard, should not associate with. The history will retain him as such.
President and Founder of Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation.