HRW, GoE, Bruguière and Genocide Commemoration

This year’s 19th Genocide commemoration that starts off on Sunday takes place amidst a ‘silence’ we have not seen before.  It’s probably the only commemoration in the recent past where we remember victims of this slaughter without wasting precious time responding to certain malicious reports or mischievous rhetoric from a section of disgruntled individuals.
Arthur Asiimwe.
Arthur Asiimwe.

This year’s 19th Genocide commemoration that starts off on Sunday takes place amidst a ‘silence’ we have not seen before. 

It’s probably the only commemoration in the recent past where we remember victims of this slaughter without wasting precious time responding to certain malicious reports or mischievous rhetoric from a section of disgruntled individuals.

In the past, this period would be a ripe moment for political activists masquerading as rights groups and sullen elements releasing fictitious materials and malicious narrative aimed at undermining the scale of this pogrom. 

At the same time, this commemoration coincides with the release of some reports that expose the intentions behind the authors of some periodic reports we often see on Rwanda. I will start with a paper released last week titled “The Travesty of Human Rights Watch on Rwanda” authored by Richard Johnson, a former US diplomat. 

Johnson digs-up the vendetta behind most reports you read on Rwanda from HRW. Their war against Rwanda, according to Johnson, is driven by the desire to re-instate the genocidal regime. 

In a well documented account of HRW’s historical attacks, Johnson describes what this organization does to Rwanda as far from ‘human rights advocacy but political advocacy that has become profoundly unscrupulous in both its means and its ends.’ 

Without mincing words, he emphatically states “HRW’s discourse on Rwanda over the past twenty years has been viscerally hostile to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which defeated the genocidal Hutu Power regime in 1994, and systematically biased in favor of letting unrepentant Hutu Power political forces back into Rwandan political life.”

Johnson makes an interesting conclusion on the overall discourse of HRW and its hostility towards Rwanda by insisting that in their (HRW) pursuit to propel genocidaires back into power, HRW’s strategy is “let the genocidal parties back in--- Don’t ban their ideology---Don’t hold more than a few perpetrators accountable, and admit you are no better than they.”

As such, he warns that HRW’s behavior towards Rwanda does not only perpetuate impunity for important genocide perpetrators but also crowds out the potential for a more constructive dialogue between the West and Rwanda. 

“---it encourages the leaders of the still extant “Hutu Power” movement -- most visible as a small stratum of upper class extremists among the Rwandan diaspora who are unrepentant about and often implicated in the 1994 genocide against the Rwandan Tutsi -- to keep blowing on the embers of that genocide in the hope of restoring Hutu Power governance in Rwanda.’

What Johnson said in his essay, is something that has been said over and over by this government. The only difference is that it is being documented extensively by a neutral figure with no attachment to this government and puts HRW on the spotlight at a period when they (HRW) would be preparing to issue one of their notorious statements. 

Whoever funds this organisation should pick interest in analysing Johnson’s findings. The second report is actually based on a new book and documentary scheduled to come out early next week. This book/documentary examines the role of France in the Genocide, in particular the disgraced attempts of terror judge Jean-Louis Bruguière to re-write the history of genocide. 

It says that for two decades, ‘France’s shame was hidden behind an explanation, culminating in the notorious “Bruguière investigation that it was Paul Kagame and his supporters who shot down the presidential plane.” 

Largely based on the findings of French judges Marc Trévidic and Nathalie Poux, it concludes that Bruguière was driven by some members of the French Security apparatus and top politicians to cover up their links with the former genocidal regime in Rwanda and their subsequent role in genocide.  

As you may recall, these two judges absolved RPF of any role in the downing of Habyarimana’s plane and put it squarely in the hands of his extremist lieutenants. 

The third report was commissioned by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation evaluating the UN Group of Experts (GoE)’s special reports on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The findings in this report are not different from what Rwanda had said before—that the report is a pile of lies based on rumours. 

The foundation criticized GoE for producing a report that was a result of ‘fundamentally uncooperative and unproductive process” and concludes that the GoE report reads more like “prosecution of Rwanda” and largely “ignores the other significant factors contributing to unrest in the DRC.” 

Yet these are the same methods and same characters that authored the Congo Mapping Report which promotes the double-genocide narrative.  To trash GoE report is as good as trashing the Mapping Report.

For me, the most important thing is that during this period of mourning, these reports add voice and value to the truth. 

They form a fundamental shift and signal the tough times ahead for those still keen on mocking the history of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. They do not only vindicate Rwanda but also form a strong basis for the west to better understand the kind of injustice that this country has endured. 

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