9. AI and Rwanda
To explain the biased view of AI on Rwanda, there is no need to go into sentimentality. It is not relevant to point out the truth that AI has never lost any love to us.
We are in the domain of beliefs and opinions, where most of the opinions are received rather than original.
Even in cases of extreme suffering such as genocide, opinions are mixed and there is no need to express sentimental indignation.
After all, as Paul Kagame said on a genocide commemoration day, whether they love us or hate us, none of them can do us more harm than we have already suffered.
There is no need either, to give a lot of weight to the ceaseless lobbying by those who feel challenged by the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda.
This lobbying is real. Neither AI nor HRW are outside this bracket. Carla del Ponte may have succumbed this lobbying with regard to her attitude towards the Rwanda Patriotic Army. In other words, all these actors (AI, HRW and others) are bathing in the same pool of ideas and sympathies where interaction is inevitable.
What is glaring today is the insolent audacity of AI to demand that criminal cases in the ICTR should remain there, despite Rwanda’s legitimate right, regardless of the history of the tribunal, its chaos, incompetence and corruption.
The ICTR cannot do its work properly if its operations are continuously interfered with by powerful countries.
The ICTR operates with many lawyers, experts, special envoys etc. Joachim Chisano is right to consider international criminal courts an obstacle to peace and prefer national justice that is more natural, more legitimate, closer to the people and reconciliatory. (BBC 14/11/2007 at 8.00 a.m.)
The idea of prolonging the mandate of the ICTR in Arusha instead of transferring the cases to Rwanda is not only an insult to the sovereignty of Rwanda, but also evidence of fear of losing the ability to interfere unduly in the trials.
This is without taking into account that it is an insult to all those tried before Rwanda courts who would seem to have been denied democratic equality.
It would have been less insulting and more logical to have called for their cases to be tried in Arusha along with those of their leaders during the genocide.
The democratic equality of all citizens, as Tocqueville said, is seen in the equality of conditions especially equality before the law.
10. A court for the victors?
The Rwanda government has been robbed of its right to judge its nationals; robbed just like any victim of mugging at the edge a wood And yet its detractors have never ceased claiming that the ICTR is a court for the victors as if the RPA which defeated the genocidal forces had created this court and is in charge of both prosecution and defence.
The ICTR that AI wants to be prolonged must surely be full of contradictions!
AI worries about the protection of victims and survivors in Rwanda. According to AI, Rwanda is a very dangerous place. I must say this again to dispel this baseless prejudice: The lawyer of Nzirorera, a very prominent genocide suspect held in Arusha, came to Rwanda and was allowed into the RPF Offices and archives to look for materials that could help in the defence of her client.
As for Rwanda being a very dangerous place, we know of some countries which better fit the AI description, whose ordinary crime record, without the bitter memory of genocide, far surpasses that of Rwanda,.
Martin Ngoga, the Public Prosecutor, in his interview with the BBC, could not mention all the difficulties faced by genocide survivors and witnesses. He gave the example of one important witness (the ICTR was awaiting his testimony) whose evidence was so formidable that his very name was making suspects in Arusha break into cold sweat. The witness was eliminated in Belgium in circumstances that did not draw the attention of AI.
11. Rwanda is not a dangerous place.
The note by AI on the security and protection of survivors and experts is almost a joke.
Here is one example among many. Well before the note in question, an inveterate expert and eternal witness told the BBC that survivors and experts are afraid to come to Rwanda. He even gave himself as an example relating that he had been refused a visa to Rwanda because he had refused to testify in Arusha.
What he did not mention to the BBC journalist, as he had loudly declared to the ICTR prosecutor, was that he would not testify before the Tribunal because it was not prosecuting RPA soldiers.
Logically, this means that he should not go to any other country as a witness or expert because those countries do not prosecute RPA soldiers.
To be continued