Where has all the evidence gone?

The festive season is upon us and once again another year is gone. 2011 has been a news junkie’s delight beginning with President Ben Ali fleeing to Saudi Arabia and ended with the death of North Korean ‘dear leader’, and nuclear terrorist of Far East Asia, Kim Jong-Il.
 Oscar Kabbatende
Oscar Kabbatende

The festive season is upon us and once again another year is gone. 2011 has been a news junkie’s delight beginning with President Ben Ali fleeing to Saudi Arabia and ended with the death of North Korean ‘dear leader’, and nuclear terrorist of Far East Asia, Kim Jong-Il.

Hopefully, dear reader, you have been good this year and Santa will slip something into your stocking on Christmas Eve.

And if you do not believe in Santa Claus, just pass on the tale to the kids. If they are anything like me at the age of 5, they will be more enchanted in the story of a fat white bearded man who travels in a sleigh than the tale of Jesus’ birth in a manger.

Both stories are a result of cultural imperialism but what can one do? If you cannot beat them, join them, I say.

If the children are enchanted by this season of tall tales and gifts, no one is celebrating like our long time nemesis, the Genocide revisionist and his friends. This last week has seen the International Criminal Court throw out charges against Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana.

For those with foggy memories, Mbarushimana was the Executive Secretary of the FDLR at the time of his arrest. In other words, he was part of honcho of the horde of looters, killers and rapists in the East of the DRC.

The Court found that while the FDLR had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, the evidence was insufficient to hold him criminally responsible.

On a legal level, I find that I can understand the rationale for this decision even though I do not agree with it but I have to wonder if the Prosecution used its best efforts.

They still have the option of reinstating the charges against Mbarushimana if they can find additional evidence but for the moment the CEO of Terror Inc is free to walk. It’s something to think about for all those who believe that justice can only come from The Hague or other similar places.

If Genocide revisionists were leaping for joy at the release of Mbarushimana, they positively broke into a gig at the news from Arusha.

In late 2002, I had the opportunity to witness the beginning of Colonel Theoneste Bagosora’s case (held jointly with other military leaders of the Genocidal government of 1994) and remember thinking that it would be a slam-dunk for the Prosecution despite the spirited defence of his French Caribbean lawyer.

Nine years later, we find out that his sentence was reduced from life to 35 years. Given that he has spent 15 years in custody, Bagosora could be out by 2030 (or even before). 

The news on a reduction on his jail sentence is not the main thing causing joy for his fellow believers in extermination. It is the fact that he has been found innocent of charges of conspiracy to Genocide and complicity in Genocide.

The narrative has always been that Bagosora was the mastermind of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. So, his supporters state gleefully, if the mastermind is not guilty of masterminding then there was no Genocide.

 It was all a spontaneous reaction to the death of Habyarimana.

Conspiracy is difficult to prove when all present deny that it happened. Even if  one were to prove that it occurred, it is devilishly difficult to prove who is criminally responsible for it. The Court has said as much in previous rulings.

We all know that Bagosora was the conductor of the Genocide orchestra but proving it to the exacting standard of a Court of law whose default position is the defendant’s innocence is another matter all together.

That said, Bagosora is still guilty of Genocide and the Prime Minister at the time, Jean Kambanda, confessed to conspiracy to commit genocide (among other crimes).

 In his appeal, he would tellingly reveal that he was under pressure from the military, one of whose members was Bagosora.

We will have to take what little cold comfort we can from this.

It’s not that the man is innocent; it is that the Prosecution could not prove that he was guilty. This seems to be the theme of this festive season, Santa presented mass murderers the gift of ‘insufficient evidence’.

okabatende@gmail.com

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