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P.ERLINDER JAILED BY ONE OF THE MAJOR GENOCIDAIRES OF OUR ERA

by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson1 – Monthly Review

The May 28 arrest of the U.S. attorney Peter Erlinder by the Paul Kagame dictatorship in Rwanda reveals much about this regime that is routinely sanitized in establishment U.S. and Western intellectual life and media coverage. But if we use Erlinder's arrest to call attention to some less well-known facts, a much grimmer scenario about Kagame than as a "man of the hour in modern Africa," who "offers such encouraging hope for the continent's future" (Stephen Kinzer),2 comes to light.

For one thing, Kagame does not like free elections, and he has avoided or emasculated them assiduously. Erlinder arrived in Kigali on May 23 to take up the legal representation of Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu expatriate who had spent the past 16 years in the Netherlands, but who immediately upon her return to Rwanda in January was regarded as the leading opposition figure, though her United Democratic Forces hadn't been able to register as an official party. The Kagame regime arrested her on April 21, and charged her with "association with a terrorist group; propagating genocide ideology; negationism and ethnic divisionism."3 As 2010 is an election year in Rwanda (now scheduled for August 9), this should help Kagame once again to avoid any meaningful electoral contest.

In 2003, Rwanda's last election year, opposition parties, candidates, and media not only weren't welcomed, they wound up harassed, shut-down, arrested, exiled, and disappeared. In 2002, Kagame's main rival at the time, a Hutu and former President Pasteur Bizimungu, was arrested and charged with "divisionism," a kind of Kagame-speak that means to provide political choices other than the one-party Kagame dictatorship. In 2003, the Hutu former Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu was permitted onto the presidential ballot but prevented from campaigning, and his Democratic Republic Movement (MDR) banned altogether; he and his MDR were also accused of "divisionism."

The official August 25 presidential vote that year reported 94% for Kagame. In a country whose population then, as now, as at the start of 1994, was majority Hutu by roughly a 6-to-1 margin over the Tutsi, only Kagame's intimidation and repression of Rwanda's civil society, and his election-rigging, could have produced a result like this. Thus when Peter Erlinder spoke in late April about the arrest of Victoire Ingabire as a "carbon-copy of Kagame's tactics in 2003, when all serious political challengers were jailed or driven from the country," and when he likened the charges against her (and now against himself as well) to "trumped-up political thought-crimes . . . arising from the 'crime' of publicly objecting to the Kagame military dictatorship and Kagame's version of Rwandan civil war history,"4 this was what he meant.

The Arusha Accords of August 1993 had stipulated that national elections be held in Rwanda by no later than 1995, but this was precluded by the military takeover of Rwanda by Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in April-July 1994, which allowed the minority Tutsi faction (less than 15 percent) to seize power by force.

The allegation of "genocide denial" has been an important instrument of Kagame's rule, with potentially rival politicians, or in fact any Kagame target, so accused and pushed out of the way. According to news accounts during the first 24 hours after his arrest, Erlinder, a lead defense counsel before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild in New York, "is being charged with denying the Rwandan genocide and was being interrogated . . . at police headquarters in the capital, Kigali. . . . A police spokesman, Eric Kayingare, said that Mr. Erlinder was accused of 'denying the genocide' and 'negationism' from statements he had made at the tribunal in Arusha, as well as 'in his books, in publications'."5 Martin Ngoga, the Prosecutor General of the Kagame regime, told Agence France Presse that Erlinder "denies the genocide in his writings and his speeches. Worse than that, he has become an organizer of genocide deniers. If negating [the Tutsi genocide] is not punished in [the United States,] it is punished in Rwanda. And when he came here he knew that."6

Under Rwanda's 2003 Constitution,7 the "State of Rwanda commits itself to conform to the following fundamental principles and to promote and enforce the respect thereof," foremost of which is "fighting the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations" (Article 9). "Revisionism, negationism and trivialisation of genocide are punishable by the law" (Article 13). The Rwandan State is so conscious of the political usefulness of "genocide" that its Constitution even creates a National Commission For the Fight Against Genocide (Article 179).

Of course, this is straight out of Kafka, as a compelling case can be made that Kagame and his RPF were the major genocidaires in Rwanda and, in alliance with Uganda's Yoweri Museveni dictatorship, both under U.S. and U.K. protection, have extended and enlarged their genocidal operations to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Peter Erlinder has never denied the fact that mass-atrocity crimes and even genocide were committed in Rwanda, much less that a large number of Tutsi were slaughtered. But he has shown, with carefully gathered documentary evidence, that an even larger number of Hutu were also slaughtered there, and that Kagame and the RPF were the initiators and main perpetrators of these mass killings. This, ultimately, is what the charge of "denying the genocide" really means: Like a growing body of researchers, Erlinder rejects the version of the "Rwandan genocide" long since institutionalized within U.S.-, Western-, and RPF-establishment circles.

One of Erlinder's notable documentary discoveries is an internal memorandum drafted in September 1994 for the eyes of then-U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, in which it was reported that a UN team on the ground in Rwanda "concluded that a pattern of killing had emerged" there, the "[RPF] and Tutsi civilian surrogates [killing] 10,000 or more Hutu civilians per month, with the [RPF] accounting for 95% of the killing." This memorandum added that the UN team "speculated that the purpose of the killing was a campaign of ethnic cleansing intended to clear certain areas in the south of Rwanda for Tutsi habitation. The killings also served to reduce the population of Hutu males and discouraged refugees from returning to claim their lands."8

We may recall that the reported (but contested9) massacre of 8,000 military-aged men at Srebrenica in July 1995 led to genocide charges, imprisonment of many Serb officials and military personnel, and huge indignation in the West. Yet, here is an internal U.S. document alleging "10,000 or more Hutu civilians" butchered per month by Kagame's forces to cleanse the ground for Tutsi resettlement -- and not only is the leading butcher not imprisoned, but his regime continues to bathe in Western support and adulation, and can get away with charging the man who helped expose his crimes with "genocide denial"!

Consider also the five following material facts:

1.      The "triggering event" in the mass killings known as the "Rwandan genocide" was the shooting down of the Falcon-50 jet carrying then-Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, then-Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, and ten others on its approach to the Kanombe International Airport in Kigali on the evening of April 6, 1994. It is now conclusively established that these political assassinations were carried out by Kagame's forces. When ICTR investigator Michael Hourigan had assembled compelling evidence showing this, then-ICTR Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour quashed his investigation on orders from U.S. officials. This official line of inquiry has been suppressed ever since, though it was amplified and confirmed by the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière, whose own inquiry concluded in late 2006 that Kagame and the RPF, fully aware that they would lose the elections scheduled by the Arusha Accords due to the overwhelming majority enjoyed by the Hutu in the country, opted for the "physical elimination" of Habyarimana and reopening their assault on the Rwandan government to achieve their goal of an RPF-takeover of the country.10 Although three consecutive U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton's, Bush's, and Obama's) and the establishment U.S. media have been wonderfully cooperative in keeping crucial evidence such as this on the "genocide" out of public sight, the work of Peter Erlinder and his colleagues has been important in the struggle to counter the Western party-line.

2.      The important U.S. analysts Christian Davenport and Allan Stam also concluded that more Hutu than Tutsi were killed during the period of the "Rwandan genocide" (April-July, 1994), and that killings on the ground in Rwanda actually "surged" in each area attacked by Kagame's RPF.11

3.      Allan Stam, a former Special Forces soldier as well as an academician, has pointed out that the Kagame-RFP military offensive following the "triggering event" of the "Rwandan genocide" (i.e., the shootdown of the Falcon-50 jet) were closely modeled on the U.S. ground invasion of Iraq during the first Gulf War, and that Kagame's forces went into mass action within one hour of this event.12 (Kagame actually studied at Fort Leavenworth in the United States, and was apparently a quick learner.)

4.      Both before and during the "Rwandan genocide," the United States pressed for the reduction of UN troops in Rwanda. The Rwandan government urged more UN troops,13 but the presence of a larger contingent of UN troops on the ground clearly would have interfered with Kagame's well-planned and executed military operations. This points up the likelihood that any pre-planned, organized mass killings were dominated by Kagame's RPF, and that the U.S. government supported it.

5.      Kagame's forces established control of Rwanda within one hundred days of the triggering event. This is not consistent with the notion that his was an unplanned defensive reaction and that his ethnic group, the minority Tutsi, was the main victim.

6.      Paul Kagame has used the excuse of pursuing "genocidaires" to justify his regular invasions of the Congo. The casualties in these operations, coordinated with fellow dictator Yoweri Museveni, have run into the millions. We believe that Kagame has far outstripped Idi Amin as a mass killer (Amin's killings are estimated at 100,000-300,000, whereas Kagame's surely run well over a million civilians). But Kagame is servicing establishment U.S. and Western interests, and for the past 20 years has therefore received a free pass to rob and kill.

And all the while, Kagame has ridden the wave of fighting against "genocide denial"! Hopefully, he has gone too far in using that Kafkaesque gimmick against Peter Erlinder, a notable fighter against both actual genocide and genocide denial.

 

 

 

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Commenter cet article

Mayele Deogratias KAREGEYA 23/11/2011 18:57


                             A   MIRAGE IS
NOT A MIRACLE


                        ........ Nta murozi wabuze umukarabya


 After going through the comment of one " AmieDuRwanda " on the article  Paul K , one of the major genocidaires of our era , i was
not suprised as i know that every dictator  has  always had a few people claping hands for him  , just because they are part of the small clique surrounding him benefitting in many
ways from the regime , hence ready to advocate the dictator by portraying himr as the best thing the  country has ever had . We are not too short of memory to forget how we massively
participated in the MRND political propagandas , out of ignorance or just a social survival instinct.


When RPF invaded , in 1994  , Rwanda was relatively the most stable country in the great lakes region of africa . It boasted of the best transport facilities , the rwandan franc
was far  stronger than the Ugandan and tanzanian shillings , the burundian franc , not mentioning the zaîre currency . Telecommunication facilities were  far the best in the region
, and we were just embarking on the rural telephony project ... All these factors could have been enough to portray RPF as  inyangarwanda who did not care about peace and development of
the country for plunging the country into a civil war . 


Any one , socio - politicaly advised  , would just  bring some nuances by confirming that physical infrastructures are in themselves an aspect of socio - economical development if
they are meant to serve the masses of the people not a small group of people ruling all the daily activities of the country . The Habyalimana regime politics had polarized the country into an"
underprivileged " South Nduga  , and a "privileged " North Kiga " . But we know that there were some few exceptions  that confirmed that state of matters . Any one with his or
her brain in order , could not  use such cases of exception to say that the Nduga - Kiga issue did not exist . The regime of Kayibanda and that of Habyalimana marginalised tutsis , but at
the same time we know of tutsis who were very close to Habyalimana , people like Kajeguhakwa or Habimana Bonaventure . But these were just an insignificant proportion if compared to the whole
thousands and thousands of tutsis who were even less better treated than Hutu refugees from Burundi . They were , actually , strangers in their own country . The same parallelism goes on ,
proving that , for almost similar motives  , the regime of RPF use some hand picked hutus , or  former members of the FAR  as  political strategical cards for the sake of a
seemingly clean external image . Is this a relevant defence element to say that the country is fine , people are living in peace , and the country has achieved development ? When Rwandans
keep quiet , only a fool may thing that everything is fine . Just like a time bomb , the situation will end up leading people into the streets and this time around , i think  the worst
will be yet to come . I only feel sorry for the REAL GENOCIDE SURVIVORS as the regime of Kagame has turned them into a mockery of themselves when the so called 1994 liberators are now
acting in oppressors .  No one will disagree with the point that Kigali has expanded , but all aspects of life are  in the hands of the esoterical group in RPF , the unofficial and
almighty wing of the party . But i rest convinced that the best teacher is time . And all will come to an end , but when and how ? I am sure of one thing that is  vox populi , vox
dei , and God is never too late , but for a dictator like Kagame  it will be too late to quit honourably.


 


 

Mayele KAREGEYA 22/11/2011 17:05


                          NTA MUROZI WABUZE UMUKARABYA


                                A mirage
is not a miracle


After reading the comment by " AmieDuRwanda" on the article Paul Kagame , one of the major genocidaires of our era , i was not surprised by
such a comment because  any politicaly advised ,objective person with some credible minds , within the specific context of Rwanda , will not waste time playing the troubadour for a
regime that will , not in a long future ,find itself being labelled the worst dictatorship of the decade .


For  people like " AmieDuRwanda " who ,for one reason or another ,have accepted to sell their souls , and live in the darkness of their collectives mind's blindness , i wanted to remind
that  in 2011 , citizens are more aware of the fact that physical infrastructures are just an aspect of development , when  they are really serving the nation , not a clique of people
ruling the country esotericaly ( ubwami bwavuyeho , on paper  , may be ! ).


When RPF  invaded Rwanda from Uganda , in 1994 , Rwanda was the most stable country in the great lakes region of central africa . It  boasted of the best roads infrastructures , the
rwandan currency was stronger than any one in the central and eastern africa region , communication system was far the best in the region as we were talk of " telephonie rurale " when in other
countries around us telecommunication facilities were just a dream . Was that on enough for the regime of Habyarimana to call the RPF  Inyangarwanda , common ennemies as the country was
relatively  "well ruled "  ? Of course , no ....


People talked of a secular social ethnic injustice , and the polarization of the country into South Nduga and North Kiga . By analogy , the same way just a group of people benefited from the
regime , regardless of their ethnic groups nor  region of origin  , does serve to make a blind generalization . If  during Habyarimana regime some TUTSIS , like Kajeguhakwa Valens.
Habimana Bonaventure were well placed , one could not say that TUTSIS were well treated that time . If today , the regime of kIGALI  is using some hand picked Hutu or old regime soldiers ,
using them to build their deceiving international political image , one can not say that HUTU are fine in the country , or just say that TUTSIS are on power . The RPF  esoterical clique is
ruling the  country and the masses of the people are just trailing behing .


You call yourself  " amieDuRwanda" , remember that there are true nationalists , even if , i have to admit , they can be numbered on one hand fingers. We blamed Akazu or the " reseau zéro "
as profeesseur  CHRISTOPHER MFIZI relentlessly continued to point out  , for the ruin of the regime , plunging the country into the calamity that was the genocide. But the same
techinics and tactics  are applied , today , to serve the intereted of  those who were calling them selves liberators . I deeply feel terribly sorry for REAL GENOCIDE SURVIVORS because
this regime is just killing them twice . This could be the worst mockery of themselves . THE SO CALLED LIBERATORS TURNING INTO THE OPPRESSORS . Truth  stays as it is even when it does not
please everybody . But remember "vox populi , vox dei " .


 


              ,

AmieDuRwanda 06/11/2011 05:56



Dude, you don't even kniw what you talking about? You are wherever you you are to critisize, lie to the people with no-sense reasons. The achievements of our current government lead by
Kagame is visible to everybody, not only Rwandans, but also the whole world. So, Stop this so-called blog and come to Rwanda again. We will train you into a good citizen by giving you
constructive civic education.