“The ones who feel the heavy hand of fear deserve the yoke of slavery; freedom needs virtue and boldness.” Andreas Kalvos, Greek poet
The recent arrest in Frankfurt, Germany, of the Chief of Protocol of the President of Rwanda, Rose Kabuye, has brought to head the protracted political battle between France and Rwanda since the end of the Tutsi Genocide and the coming into power of the RPF/RPA in 1994.
The arrest was based on the heavily contested indictments issued in 2006 by French Judge, Jean Louis Bruguiere, against nine senior Government officials.
As you know, justice is always there to sort out differences. Her trial will be both about the uses and abuses of international law but unfortunately it may be more of the latter than the former. Who can try whom?
Africa has suffered a protracted and brutal struggle against colonialism, she has since freed herself and Rose Kabuye is testimony to this. We have sued European nationals, will they come to our courts?
On behalf of all other free Africans, we are challenging the notion of European supremacy on justice and moral issues. In Rose, the inherent contradictions in the international justice system are challenged.
Freedom is a concept for which many people have fought and millions have been sacrificed since the beginning of human history.
Kabuye was warned more than twice, by the government of Germany that should she step into their territory, they would be obliged to arrest her.
She, however, was not cowed and went to Germany on State duty which in itself should have guaranteed her diplomatic immunity.
Who is Rose Kabuye?
Lt. Col. Kabuye was raised in the Nakivale Refugee Camp in western Uganda, the same camp that was home to Rwandan refugees who were the founders of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
She attended primary and secondary school in western Uganda then went on to Makerere University in Kampala in 1986 where she studied political science. After university, she joined the then Uganda national army, the National Resistance Army (NRA) at the rank of lieutenant.
She worked with Uganda’s Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Local Government in various capacities.
She got married to Captain David Kabuye in 1988; they are blessed with 3children, Bazimya, Tamale and Felipe.
In October 1990, Lt. Rose Kabuye was one of the fighters who went into Rwanda as part of the first invasion force of the RPF to liberate the country from extremists who had denied other Rwandans the right to their country.
Now she is in a foreign jail. Will France really prove how Rose, our hero, is considered a criminal?
This is to be proved in a French courtroom. Jean Louis Bruguière and his masters might just be about to be humiliated yet.
Analysts wonder whether France will risk being made a fool of itself by holding a public trial that it well knows is based on lies and Machiavellian plots to shield itself from the fallout of its blind support of a Genocidal regime.
For sure, how can a ‘professional’ Judge, Louis Bruguière, issue arrest warrants without clear facts and base his case on hearsay? Here we don’t deal with hearsay and rumours in justice.
Our judges seek facts and evidence without which we would be vigorously pursuing the case of the 23 French officials implicated in playing a role in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
“We Rwandans strongly condemn the arrest of Rose (Kabuye) by the Germans.
This shows the way those from the poor countries are humiliated by the so called rich countries,” said Immaculee Ingabire, a veteran journalist who spoke on behalf of the citizens.
From the very first day, Rose requested for an immediate transfer to France, eleven days later, she is still in a German jail. The French by now should be wringing their hands wondering how to get out of a self-inflicted quagmire. It should be noted that justice delayed is justice denied.
“ We are disappointed that leaders like Callixte Mbarushimana and FDLR President Ignace Murwanashyaka are able to operate with impunity although they continue to support FDLR efforts to evade justice, propagate violence, abuse civilians, and illegally exploit DRC’s mineral wealth,” reads a statement from the US Department of State which officially blacklisted the FDLR and its top leaders as terrorists.
Both are currently in Germany from where they coordinate the activities of FDLR, a group that is largely composed of perpetrators of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.
Even more cynical is the release of the two Genocide fugitives, who were both on Interpol Red Notice, shortly before the controversial arrest in the same country, of Rose.
It’s no wonder that this has led to various international law experts accusing Germany of double standards in its judicial system.
“What kind of international law is this? And for how long must poachers continue to play game park keepers? How can there be respect for International law when powerful countries treat its principles like a la carte menu?” wondered Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, who is also the former Secretary General of the Global Pan African Movement.
Rwanda and Germany are party to the Geneva Convention which binds all signatory states to punish Genocide and crimes against humanity; they would have at least tried them if they could not extradite them to Rwanda.
I would advice my fellow Africans to come to Rwanda when seeking for expertise in law, than running to the poor teachers who know justice in books rather than in the courtroom.
Germany was bound to have both the moral and legal obligation as a member of the UN, to deal with the fugitives as required by the law but not releasing them.
Unlike them, Rose will not run away from the courts, she wants to prove her innocence.