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EDITORIAL: The seeds of Genocide were sowed long before Kabuga and Co.

Another subject of a worldwide manhunt has been put to rest after the International  Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals(IRMCT)  confirmed that a person they had been hunting died 20 years ago.

Augustin Bizimana was the defence minister in Rwanda before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He, together with Kabuga Felicien and Major Protais Mpiranya are the three big fish of the Genocide that the IRMCT had reserved for itself. The other “lesser” individuals’ dossiers were transferred to Rwanda.


With the capture of Kabuga last week, that now leaves Mpiranya in the tribunal’s crosshairs. There is no logic as to why, of all the wanted individuals who remained at large when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was dissolved in December 2015, only they were chosen to be tried by the mechanism if captured.


But when one analyses the setup of key perpetrators of the Genocide, the choice of the three individuals is symbolic; their names bear a PR ring to them.


Kabuga had no formal education, no political or ideological clout but the label of “financer” of the Genocide was good media fodder. The same goes for Bizimana. Before being named to the defence portfolio, he was largely unknown in the Rwandan political checker board.

However, the same cannot be said of Maj. Mpiranya who was head of the Presidential Guards who spearheaded the killings.

Giving the above individuals more prominence is dangerously misleading; it is as if the security forces represented by Mpiranya and Bizimana colluded with the business community to commit Genocide.

That risks turning the real masterminds into choir boys. People like Col. Anatole Nsengiyumva, Theoneste Bagosora, Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza or Leon Mugesera.

But most of all, it sweeps the Rwandan ethnic hate legacy under the carpet. It absolves key players of the Kayibanda regime who sowed the seeds of hatred.

Let the story of the genesis of the Genocide be told truthfully and not just focus on a few individuals lest we forget.

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