Let's see how Paul Kagame's chief apologists, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon, and Tony Blair help the co-architect of Rwanda’s genocide spin his way out of the accusations in a yet-to-be published United Nations report, that his troops committed genocide in Congo during the 1990s.
The report is scheduled to be released in October and according to media accounts it exhaustively documents the massacres of tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees who had fled to Congo after Rwanda’s President Juvenal Habyarimana was assassinated --a dastardly deed which courts in France and Spain have pinned on Kagame-- Rwanda erupted in massacres and the country was overrun by an invading army from Uganda.
Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans –an estimated almost one million—were murdered and the majority is reported to have been Tutsis.
The commander of the army which invaded Rwanda on October 1, 1990—the army was actually units of Uganda's regular national army which was then renamed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)-- was Paul Kagame. He trained at Fort Leavenworth, in the U.S. shortly before the invasion, during the Bill Clinton Administration. The spiritual commander and financier of the operation was Uganda’s President, Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni.
There were also news accounts, including in The New York Times that Uganda provided the missile used to shoot down Habyarimana’s presidential plane, also killing the president of Burundi.
Rwanda's history has been sad and brutal. Kagame's family fled massacres directed at Tutsis in the early 1960s when the Hutu majority overthrew a Tutsi monarchy. He grew up in Uganda. In the 1980s, he was recruited along with thousands of other Tutsi refugees into Museveni's rebellion in Uganda. When Museveni came to power in 1986, the fighters were rewarded.
Kagame later became chief of Uganda's military intelligence.
Many analysts predicted that the 1990 Museveni-sponsored invasion of Rwanda
could spark unspeakable massacres. In a short piece I published in The New York Times on April 20, 1994, I offered an analogy similar to the following: What if Pakistan were to sponsor an invasion of India, and have the Indian prime minister assassinated, while units of the Pakistan army --comprised of Muslims and renamed, for this comparison, the India Patriotic Front-- moved to seize Delhi? What would happen to India's Muslim minority?
In fact, in past columns I maintained that Kagame and Museveni planned the assassination of Habyarimana knowing full well that it would invite the mass murder of Tutsis by the Hutu majority; Museveni's army, on loan to Kagame under the name Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) would then march into the capital of Kigali and "restore" law and order as "liberators." The arsonists would put out the fire and take the credit for extinguishing a conflagration they had ignited.
France's first counter terrorism judge, responsible for looking into serious crimes, Jean-Louis Bruguière in 2006 came to the same conclusion and indicted Kagame
: that Kagame planned the assassination
hoping it would provoke the killings and chaotic conditions that would follow --begging for a "liberator" -- macabre as it may sound.
Bill Clinton’s administration went with the program. Museveni and Kagame had sold the master plan as a great opportunity to dislodge the snobbish French influence from Central Africa. That's probably why Clinton even opposed a robust international intervention plan to halt the massacres--it would have ruined the Museveni/Kagame script and denied the RPF the opportunity to be hailed as heroes. What better explanation could there be to stand by and watch the killings which lasted several weeks?
One million or so dead? Under the Clinton-Museveni-Kagame reckoning, this was acceptable collateral damage.
U.S.-supported Gen. Museveni has been a genocidal killer in the East and Central Africa region for more than a quarter century now; that is without debate. He is also co-architect of the Rwanda calamity.
Museveni has been consistent. In Uganda, he confined a whole ethnic population, the Acholis in camps where several hundreds of thousands died over more than two decades. In Congo, his army committed genocide in eastern Congo when it occupied part of the country—estimates of Congolese death as a result of the war unleashed by Uganda and related fighting and calamities reached seven million.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable
for what amounts to war crimes and awarded Congo $10 billion compensation in 2005. The International Criminal Court also started its own investigation, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006.
Apparently the ICC investigation of Museveni's role in the crimes for which the ICJ found Uganda liable has been blocked by Moreno Ocampo, the prosecutor
whose ethics are highly questionable, given that he is alleged to have raped a female journalist in South Africa.
Without Ocampo, it’s possible that Museveni may well be on his way to the Hague to answer for the Congo crimes. (We can expect Uganda to also announce that it would also withdraw its forces from Somalia if the ICC were to ever indict Museveni).
Yet Kagame, from early on, also provided evidence that he was up to the task. He had learned well from his mentor, Museveni, even before he came to power in Rwanda in 1994.
In fact, Raymond Bonner, a New York Times correspondent once wrote an article during the tumultuous period in 1994 after the massacres, about the RPF arriving at a location in Rwanda and literally killing everyone in sight. Bonner must have found this incident confusing. Why would the celebrated "liberators" kill Tutsis as well as Hutus indiscriminately if Hutus were the "bad" guys?
Of course, it would only make sense if Kagame's primary goal was to escalate the body count. After all, later, when the skulls were stacked up in the memorial museums, who would know who was a Tutsi or Hutu victim? Who would know who were killed by Habyarimana's defeated and discredited army, or the Museveni army on loan to Kagame? To the outside world, all the skulls would represent victims of the “evil” Hutus and had it not been for Kagame’s victory, so goes the narrative, many
more skulls might have joined the pile.
Now we come to the United Nations report which is due to be published in October. The world is a very funny place. The international community pretends that there is need for a United Nations report to show that Kagame's army and its Congolese militia allies, committed genocide in Congo when it pursued the more than one million Hutus who fled to Congo when the RPF seized control. Forget that The New York Times' Howard French –who was an exception; the rest of the Times’ reporters,
including Donatella Lorch, sold the narrative of Kagame as liberator-- wrote a number of articles about the massacres at the time. There were even accounts of bodies being meticulously incinerated.
Why was there a cover-up of the massacre of Hutus? Because Kagame was sold to the international community as the "good guy" who had liberated Rwanda from the "evil" Hutus. Admitting that Kagame was a mass killer would undermine the Hollywood script and make supporting him unpalatable.
So, the fiction blossomed, with people like Bill Clinton, now a former president, and Blair, a former prime minister, extolling Kagame's virtues, in articles, or having Kagame as an invited speaker at Clinton's annual Global Initiative meetings. Seated next to other world leaders in a fine suit, who could believe that Kagame’s hands were so bloodstained?
Indeed, many Hutus committed the terrible massacres that followed Habyarimana’s assassination in 1994, four years after Uganda invaded Rwanda. Not all Hutus could have participated in these murders. Yet, a whole ethnic population, Hutus, who make up perhaps 85% of the population, have been demonized and unfairly tagged with the “genocide” label.
As witnessed in the run-up to the recent sham elections in Rwanda, the Kagame regime has elevated Hutu demonization to national policy--anybody who questions the established narrative of the 1994 tragedy is a "genocide denier" and disqualified from national elections, or murdered, as in the case of some opposition leaders there.
So, it’s not surprising that Kagame would like to have the United Nations report implicating his army in genocide of Hutus in Congo blocked. It's also not surprising that some elements within the United Nations, including reportedly Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon want to have reference to "genocide" removed from the report; the international community is obligated to act against those who commit genocide.
Ban Ki-Moon, probably encouraged by Washington and London, apparently sees genocide as an inconvenience that the United Nations does not need to deal with—not unless it involves Sudan’s Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Darfur of course.
This week Rwanda threatened to pull out its troops that are part of peace keeping operations in the Sudan's Darfur region. Ban Ki-Moon has urged Rwanda not to withdraw. What a repulsive response. The United Nations should be demanding that Rwanda withdraw its army, given the alleged crimes in the impending UN report, instead of begging it to maintain its forces in UN peace keeping. Ban Ki-Moon’s appeal to Rwanda is shameful and contemptible—it confirms that when his term expires at the end of the year, he should be eased out of the job as world’s top diplomat.
At the end of the day, Ban ki-Moon is probably doing the bidding of the powers in Washington and London. It’s also worth watching Kagame’s chief apologists, Clinton and Blair, who have both remained silent since Rwanda’s sham elections which Kagame “won” by 93% .
People who genuinely care for Africa and for the citizens of Congo and Rwanda should not remain silent when the West and a handful of individuals play with the lives of millions of Africans.
The Internationally-created special court prosecuted the killers of Tutsis. Now it’s time to bring to book the killers of Hutus, including the foreigners who aided and abetted the ugly deeds. A good start is to release the United Nations report without whitewashing by Ban Ki-Moon.