The concerted campaign by some so called human rights activists to drag, John Bosco Ntaganda, the National Congress for People’s Defence (CNDP) leader to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged war crimes raises questions about the ICC.
He may be guilty for violating human rights. But he is not the only one who has done it in the DRC, and more importantly, it is not the right time to point fingers at any suspects.
Many crimes have been committed against the people of DRC. There was extrajudicial killings, abductions and the harassment of locals, more especially the Congolese Tutsis by many different militia groups.
Therefore it is wrong for Human Rights Watch to divert our attention saying they want Ntaganda arrested at this moment when we are actually witnessing peace return to the Great Lakes region.
Rwanda and DRC are setting a record for other African countries to emulate—for ending a long and complex conflict in the region, without the interference of the international community.
The point is that the human rights activists’ demands are poorly timed. Look at Sudanese President Al Bashir who was also indicted despite the fact that it may jeopardise any future peace efforts in that country.
These careless decisions, if not checked with caution, may render all peace efforts in Africa futile. It is therefore not only morally wrong, but also against the law of common sense, to interfere with the ongoing peace process in the DRC, in the name of human rights advocacy.
What moral credibility do human right activists have if they cannot actively campaign for the arrest of genocide fugitives in their midst? It is high time we stopped such groups from having a monopoly on reporting the violation of human rights.
It is a kind of hypocrisy that we cannot allow, and is calculated to bully us. If we take examples of criminals who are enjoying a safe haven in Europe—the land of human rights advocates, we see hypocrisy in black and white.
The said human rights activists do not condemn the so called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leaders like Ignace Murwanashyaka.
Another example is Leopold Munyakazi who escaped the Gacaca trials in Rwanda and has been enjoying a good life as a French lecturer in Goucher College in the United States of America.
The human rights activists will always keep silent about such people. So, no one supports anybody who committed crimes in the DRC, similarly we should not have the human rights advocates turn a blind eye on the genocidaires.
Though it goes without saying that all war criminals have to face justice, but this should be done in a way that does not affect our peace processes.
At this point, when we are at the preliminary stages of forging peace in DRC, our objective to end the insurgency should be given chance. Every criminal act against humanity must be punished, which is why, the essence of punishment must be viewed in all angles.
Punishment must be viewed in its end, meaning that in cases where it ends with more ‘wrongs than goods’, then it fails its essence. This is where the so-called human rights activists go wrong, they do not care about long-term effects of their demands in Africa.
But because we do, we cannot afford to give them a chance to mess us up. After all Rwanda and DRC took the initiative when all those from the international community had failed.
It would thus be myopic on our part to work according to their timetables. We know the right time to talk peace, punish and move a head with life.
This is the African touch/herb, which many have failed to understand, hence leading us into trouble. Let anyone claiming for justice or human rights ‘check ups’, follow our own timetable.
Whenever we are confronted with two evils at ago, it is always wise to choose a lesser one (at least in the beginning). In the context of DRC, what we need now is to forge lasting peace, where there are no more militias threatening our people.
This is when we can go around addressing issues to do with justice, as we reconcile the peoples of the region. Justice is dealt with when the ‘dust’ has settled and not the reverse. We need people fighting for human rights but not pretenders.