Genocide denial in court proceedings- ‘another cut of the machete’

This article examines some key issues raised by Leon Mugesera in court. He is alleged to have played a key role in planning, organising, and finally carrying out the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. He is now trying to convince the court that his speech has nothing to do with the Genocide which exterminated the Tutsi in April 1994.
Joseph Karorero
Joseph Karorero

This article examines some key issues raised by Leon Mugesera in court. He is alleged to have played a key role in planning, organising, and finally carrying out the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. He is now trying to convince the court that his speech has nothing to do with the Genocide which exterminated the Tutsi in April 1994.

Mugesera hypocritically advances his denial arguing that his speech was intended to meet the political context of that specific period and not to instigate hate and ethnic violence.

His claims to persuade judges that his speech falls under a ‘’universal right to a political freedom of speech. ‘’His arguments are full of erroneous facts and historical distortions which make his speech seem like it was grossly exaggerated for political reasons’’

He should bear in mind that his speech should not be treated as historical debate; instead, it should be looked at as a contemporary political work, motivated by racism and anti-Semitism.

In addition, Mugesera confidently attempts to justify that his speech had no direct link to the clash of the  plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana [on 6 April 1994], which Mugesera claims to be the sole cause of Genocide.

Mugesera relegates the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi to the status of a civil war.

The continuous act of linking the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi to the plane crash is a fabrication intended to deny, or at least, deny the Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed the lives of more than a million innocent people.

His speech was in line with the political agenda of the MRND party in the preparation, organisation and training of extremist militia in 1992. Mugesera’s speech should be taken as clear evidence and indicator that the organisation of the Genocide was at its climax.

Mugesera, who was one of elites in the ruling MRND party, should remember that the Genocide is not an overnight act. As highlighted by Dr. Stanto Gregory, it is a process that evolves in ten stages.

The mentality of those who engage in denial activism like Mugesera tends to use their ‘’knowledge’’ for the interest of the Genocide perpetrators and their allies.

The delivered speech by Mugesera on 22 November, 1992, at Kabaya during the CDR/MRND meeting, was a sure indicator of the already politically polarised state of Rwanda and its plans to exterminate those perceived as enemies of the nation.

“What about those accomplices here who are sending their children to RPF … we have to take responsibility in our own hands….The fatal mistake we made in 1959 was to let them [Tutsi] get out…they    belong in Ethiopia and we are going to find them a short- cut to get there by throwing them into the Nyabarongo River. We have to act. Wipe them all out’’.

In this line of reasoning, one can assert that Mugesera’s speech highlighted plans to exterminate Tutsi. Revisionists of the Genocide like Mugesera are only working at the behest of Genocide perpetrators who are still at large and their sympathisers.

Mugesera was among the clique of the ruling party as Vice President of MRND and therefore, his speech should be qualified as a genocidal act and not a political opinion as he claims.

His argument that he was promoting human rights, truth and democracy should be acknowledged as lies and falsehood, because human rights, truth and democracy cannot be achieved through hate propaganda speeches.

It should be clearly understood that in the Genocide planning process, the media and academia become cogs in the wheel of the extermination machine.

In order to achieve their goals of total extermination of the already identified target group, they use borrow from cultural beliefs and religion and fuse them into ideology to prepare the victim and perpetrator before the physical killing.

Therefore, any attempt by Mugesera or of his lawyers to delink his speech to 1994 Genocide against Tutsi is Genocide denial.

His intention is to rewrite the past with a deliberate effort to control the present so as to shape his future.

As if this is not enough, Mugesera admits the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi took place but tries to channel the guilt of perpetration to the UN, Uganda and some individuals like Kofi Annan and Jack Roger – Boboh, depicting his character of denial by revisionism.

Mugesera aims to confound history; he is advancing the so called legitimate and credible scholarly efforts by presenting the alternative interpretation of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. His main goal is to show that Genocide in Rwanda is an elaborate conspiracy by Uganda, United State of America and Great Britain.

I conclude with the words of Abraham Lincoln “’Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us do our duty as we understand it”.

The writer is Researcher and Genocide Scholar based in Kigali.

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