Mugesera feared to meet the eyes of a people he wanted exterminated
Twenty years ago today, Leonard Mugesera called for the extermination of a group of Rwandans he called cockroaches (Inyenzi).
The former MRD boss in Gisenyi prefecture was not as lucky as his colleagues who enjoyed foreign courtís decisions to try them.
His resistance to deportation back to his country for trial was out of fear to meet the eyes of people who escaped the butcher he propagated.
Most criminals whose propagandas led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were saved the humiliation to look into the eyes of Rwandans they wanted tortured to death.
The claim by his lawyers that he would not receive fair trial in Rwanda was completely out of context.
Indeed, the former university lecturer who spent most of his exile days in Canada teaching at a Quebec City college, knew that there was a credible justice system in Rwanda.
So, one wonders why he behaved like a four year old child kicking his legs in the air, crying not to be sent back to Kigali for trial.
If there is any simple case to handle by any courts in the world let alone the Rwandan courts, it is Mugeseraís.
His 1992 Kabaya speech typical of the Hitler-like racist and bigoted anti-Semitic hate speeches, judges him itself.
The Rwandan saying that such cases can even be judged by a kid (Urucabana), holds much water. He belongs to the first category of genocide perpetrators.
What was the speech about?
Using his knowledge as few of the then highly learned Rwandans, he denied the humanity of Tutsi, called them cockroaches, thus, setting the stage for vilifying them and eliminating any objections to murder.
For genocide and crimes against humanity to occur, the dehumanization of the potential victims must first take place. Mugesera, one of the key perpetrators of the genocide, used such art as a tool to help accomplish the goal.
Indeed, without the intense propagandistic effort, genocide wouldnít have happened-not at least at the levels it was witnessed.
Mugeseraís propaganda was used to convince those who were not yet persuaded of the importance of the genocide regimeís policies, and to inspire those who already adhered to his views.
He calls peasants to carry traditional weapons and kill their Tutsi neighbours he regards as enemies.
In his speech, he doesnít mince words but exposes his true colours as someone who was dying to see genocide commence.
His earlier self imposed exile could have only come after he failed to come to terms with some other party leaders.
What punishment befits Mugesera?
When Mugesera arrived in Kigali, lots of people who gathered to have a look at him could not think of the right punishment.
Some however could be heard behind curtains lamenting that Rwanda no longer had life imprisonment which according to them would be the most appropriate.
Of course, he wonít get a death sentence in Rwanda. The death sentence was abolished and personally I would rather he suffered life in prison.
Life imprisonment is all I would call for Mugesera, with a probable exception that he would at several times be allowed to be escorted to the villages and see Rwandan children he wanted to exterminate, growing and developing their nation. Life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent. For those of you who donít feel much sympathy for Mugesera, keep in mind that death would be too good for him.
With a death sentence, the suffering would be over in an instant, but life in prison, the pain will go on for as long as he lives.
This is what he deserves- suffering the humiliation of lifelong prison.
We owe respect to the Canadian court that decided to deport Mugesera for they considered the justice the people of Rwanda needed.
The court also respected the consciousness of trying a suspect of such high level criminal record in a remote country.
With all due respect I salute the court!