Category Archives: Africa

Testimony: ON THIS DAY MAY 15, 1997, IN MY HISTORY; The Fall of Mobutu Sese Seko and Kinshasa

When we arrived in Kinshasa a week before the fall of Mobutu. It was during that time that General Donatien Mahele Lieko Bokungu (aka Mayere) was killed by what is believed to be the Mobutu’s son a day before Mobutu’s overthrow. It is said that he had started negotiations with Kagame’s soldiers for a peaceful surrender of Kinshasa to the Kabila’s rebels without a fight.

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Un jour avec Denis Mukwege, Nobel de la paix contraint de vivre sous protection

Il est célèbre dans le monde entier pour son combat en faveur des femmes violées, ces corps « transformés en champs de bataille » que le gynécologue formé à Angers tente de réparer. Et obtenir, pour toutes les victimes des carnages perpétrés au Congo, justice et vérité.

Denis Mukwege, 67 ans, prix Nobel de la paix (2018), a nommé les crimes, les violences sexuelles, les monstruosités subies par les femmes en République du Congo.

Il a, le temps d’un passage à Paris, troqué sa blouse de chirurgien pour un élégant costume et reçoit chaleureusement quelques journalistes et représentants d’ONG dans un discret hôtel parisien. Denis Mukwege, 67 ans, vit en permanence sous protection depuis qu’il dénonce, avec le renfort et l’autorité de son prix Nobel de la paix décerné en 2018, les carnages incompréhensibles perpétrés en République démocratique du Congo.

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Hotel Rwanda’ hero’s family file $400m suit against gov’t

Paul Rusesabagina is serving 25 years in prison in Rwanda on terrorism charges which his supporters say are a sham.

Published On 30 Apr 2022

The family of Paul Rusesabagina, whose heroism during the 1994 Rwandan genocide was depicted in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, have filed a $400m lawsuit in the US over his alleged abduction and torture by the government in Kigali.

The lawsuit names the government of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, and other senior officials including the former justice minister and intelligence chief.

“The complaint alleges that the Government of Rwanda and high-ranking Rwandan officials conspired to facilitate and execute an elaborate plot to lure Paul Rusesabagina from his home in Texas to Rwanda, where he would be tortured and illegally detained,” the family and his lawyers said in a statement on Saturday.

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Westminster may have shunned Putin, but its continued support of autocratic leaders stinks of hypocrisy

Among other despots the government courts, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame can match Russia’s for cold-hearted ruthlessness. So much for resistance in defence of democracy

From left to right, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt's president, Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister, Paul Kagame, Rwanda's president, and Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's president, pose for a family photo with other leaders of African nations and U.K. politicians at the U.K. - Africa Investment Summit at the Intercontinental Hotel in London, U.K., on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. Johnson will reinforce his vision of a global Britain trading freely outside the EU on Monday, when he hosts African leaders at an inaugural??summit. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(L-R) Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Boris Johnson, Paul Kagame, and Muhammadu Buhari pose with other politicians and leaders of African countries at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in 2020. (Photo: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty)
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By Ian Birrell

i columnist

March 20, 2022 3:09 pm(Updated 3:55 pm)

This is a tale of two dictators. Both have a background in espionage, trained in the dark arts of intelligence and security. Both became president in 2000 and proved themselves masters at controlling their countries by crushing dissent, stifling democracy and stealing elections. Both imprison or kill political foes, even those who fled into other nations for sanctuary. Both silence journalists and use state-controlled media to pump out a twisted narrative to further their own rule. Both treat state assets as their own. And both invade neighbouring nations and meddle abroad with disastrous consequences for millions of innocent people.

One of them is Vladimir Putin, now firmly established as Public Enemy No 1 for the free world after his latest assault on Ukraine. The full-scale invasion and atrocities unleashed by this self-serving despot have finally shocked the complacent West into action as it witnesses his attack on a sovereign nation. His misjudgement has turned Russia into a pariah state as the West tries to throttle his economy and sends his billionaire pals scurrying into safety with their stolen assets. As the Kremlin bombs cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv, Mariupol and Mykolaiv, one in four of the country’s citizens were displaced from their homes in just three weeks.

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Rwanda: Wave of Free Speech Prosecutions

(Nairobi) – Judicial authorities in Rwanda are prosecuting opposition members, journalists, and commentators on the basis of their speech and opinions, Human Rights Watch said today. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Human Rights Watch monitored trials in which judicial authorities pursued politically motivated prosecutions and perpetuated a culture of intolerance of dissent.

Less than two years out from the 2024 presidential election campaign season, the Rwandan government should ensure an end to violations against civil society activists, journalists, and opposition figures. The government should also protect their right to freedom of expression – a precondition to creating a conducive environment for free and fair elections.

“Judicial authorities in Rwanda, lacking the independence to stand up and protect free speech in accordance with international law, have unjustly convicted and jailed people based on their protected speech and opinions,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “All those jailed unjustly should be immediately and unconditionally released, and the abusive legal framework that allowed their prosecution should be reviewed and brought in line with international free speech standards.”

Since the publication of a March 2021 report on the arrests of, and threats against, several Rwandans for posts on YouTube, Human Rights Watch has monitored trials and reviewed trial documents and verdicts to examine the evidence and arguments of prosecutorial authorities, and the basis for judges’ rulings.

Researchers also reviewed content published on various channels managed by journalists and commentators on trial and interviewed 11 opposition members and people who post on YouTube. The cases documented are not exhaustive – Human Rights Watch also received information about other similar cases.

On March 3, 2022, Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to Justice Minister Emmanuel Ugirashebuja to share information about the cases it has documented and to request information on the Rwandan authorities’ steps to address violations of the right to freedom of expression. The government has not responded.

Rwanda has very few opposition parties, and human rights organizations and independent media remain weak. Victoire Ingabire, who was the president of the unregistered opposition party FDU-Inkingi before founding Dalfa-Umurinzi in November 2019, was released from prison in 2018. Members of her party have repeatedly been harassed, threatened, and arrested, or have died or disappeared in suspicious circumstances. Since October 2021, at least eight members of her party have been arrested and charged with offenses, including spreading rumors and forming a criminal association, in relation to a book they acquired and an online training session they attended to learn strategies for peaceful dissent.

Journalists using YouTube as a platform have also been targeted for prosecution for not registering with the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) or for publishing information that contradicts the government’s version of certain events, such as the suspicious death in custody of Kizito Mihigo, a gospel singer and activist, or disappearances of government opponents.

The cases of Dieudonné Niyonsenga – alias Cyuma Hassan – and Théoneste Nsengimana, which Human Rights Watch documented, could further erode journalists’ legal protections and narrow the space for media and online speech. Niyonsenga, a high-profile YouTuber, was found guilty on appeal of forgery, impersonation, hindering public works, and “humiliation of national authorities and persons in charge of public service.” The last charge, which was added during the first appeal, is no longer a criminal offense in Rwanda. The prosecution authority announced it was lodging a “second appeal” to correct the error. Its verdict is expected on March 18. On March 9, Human Rights Watch received reports and confirmed that Ishema TV was no longer available on YouTube. At time of writing, it is unclear whether the channel was removed voluntarily.

Since 1994, speaking about crimes committed by the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in the aftermath of the genocide, or sometimes even simply commemorating Hutu who were killed during the genocide, is perceived as crossing a red line, with the government presenting it as a threat to Rwandan unity, or the country’s security as a whole.

“When you are pro-government, you don’t have any problems. When you talk about bad things, you become persecuted, you are a genocide denier,” one YouTuber told Human Rights Watch.

Another said, “They take one word, and they create a crime for you…. Here, the problem is talking the truth. If you do, they go after you.”

The Rwandan government may have legitimate grounds to seek to restrict the kind of dangerous, vitriolic speech that led to the deaths of over half a million people in 1994, but current laws and practices go far beyond this purpose – creating fear and effectively stifling opinions, debate, and criticism of the government.

As Rwanda approaches the 30-year mark since the genocide, and the government aims to ramp up efforts to combat genocide ideology, there is a need to ensure that Rwandans can peacefully express legitimate grievances related to the genocide and post-genocide periods, Human Rights Watch said.

Article 38 of the 2015 Constitution protects freedom of expression but limits that protection by permitting ill-defined restrictions based on “public order, good morals, the protection of the youth and children, the right of every citizen to honor and dignity and protection of personal and family privacy.” The government, with the support of the judiciary, has used this clawback clause to impose restrictions on freedom of expression in ways that are incompatible with Rwanda’s regional and international obligations.

As Rwanda prepares to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, scheduled to take place in June, the international community should take a stand and press the authorities to stop harassing, immediately release, and drop all charges against opposition members, YouTube commentators and journalists facing abusive prosecutions that violate freedom of expression. The authorities should also open credible, independent, and transparent investigations into suspicious deaths and disappearances of critics, opposition members, civil society actors, and journalists, and prosecute those responsible.

“The evidence provided by the prosecuting authorities, and what judges have chosen to rely on to justify their conclusions, clearly demonstrates that these cases violate African and international human rights law,” Mudge said. “Prosecuting those who challenge the government of incitement to insurrection or of attempting to tarnish the country’s image is an indication of how little dissent is tolerated in Rwanda.”

For details of the recent cases, please see below.

Cases Against the Political Opposition

In October 2021, at least eight members of Victoire Ingabire’s opposition party, Dalfa-Umurinzi, were arrested in the largest crackdown against the party in recent years. Sylvain Sibomana, Alexis Rucubanganya, Hamad Hagenimana, Jean-Claude Ndayishimiye, Alphonse Mutabazi, Marcel Nahimana, and Emmanuel Masengesho were all detained in the days leading up to and following “Ingabire day,” scheduled for October 14.

On that day, Ingabire was planning to speak about political repression in Rwanda, cases of suspicious deaths, killings, disappearances, and abusive prosecutions. Théoneste Nsengimana, a journalist who was planning to cover the event, was arrested on October 13 and is being tried with the group of seven.

Criminal charges of “spreading false information or harmful propaganda with intent to cause a hostile international opinion against Rwandan government” and “formation of or joining a criminal association” were brought against Sibomana, Rucubanganya, Hagenimana, Ndayishimiye, Mutabazi, Nahimana, and Masengesho. On November 9, during a pretrial hearing, the Kicukiro court said it is also considering evidence to support other, undetermined charges against them. The prosecution contended that the defendants were also responsible for inciting insurrection.

Claudine Uwimana, a party member who was arrested on December 14 in Rutsiro, is being tried separately. She is charged with spreading false information, publishing rumors, forming a criminal association, and inciting insurrection, and has been denied bail.

The arrests send a clear message to those who may wish to mobilize, organize, or campaign on a political platform in the lead-up to the elections that efforts to peacefully change the power structures in place can be considered a criminal offense, Human Rights Watch said.

In both cases, the prosecution based its accusations on the group’s decision to acquire “Blueprint for Revolution,” a book written by Srdja Popovic, and to follow a training organized by the author’s organization, Canvas – the Center for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies. Both the book and the training focus on peaceful strategies to resist authoritarianism, such as nonviolent protest, noncooperation, boycott, and mobilization. The prosecution used as evidence the contents of the book and training, the use of Jitsi – an encrypted online communication platform – and the use of pseudonyms during the training.

The prosecution also accused the group of planning activities such as mobilizing, among others, street vendors and others who are routinely rounded up and subjected to abuse, and a commemoration of political activists and critics who have died, disappeared, or been jailed, on “Ingabire Day,” based on the strategies proposed during the training.

Social protest and mobilization offer people the opportunity to peacefully communicate legitimate complaints and grievances. Governments have a responsibility to create a safe and enabling environment for individuals and groups to exercise their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of expression, and of association.

Journalists Under Threat

Dieudonné Niyonsenga

Dieudonné Niyonsenga, also known as “Cyuma Hassan,” runs Ishema TV, a popular YouTube channel on which he has published his sensitive and critical reports. Ishema TV has millions of views, and Niyonsenga is one of the most popular YouTube contributors in Rwanda.

In April 2020, police arrested Niyonsenga and his driver, Fidèle Komezusenge, as they were reporting on the impact of the Covid-19 guidelines on vulnerable populations in a poor neighborhood of Kigali. Niyonsenga and Komezusenge were accused of forgery, impersonating journalists, and hindering public works for being outside during lockdown without a valid RMC-issued press card. Both spent almost a year in detention, but then were acquitted on March 12, 2021. After his release, Niyonsenga gave several interviews on YouTube describing his treatment in detention. In one, he said:

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is urged to block the appointment of Rwanda’s top diplomat in London over the kidnap and detention of the country’s most famous human rights activist

  • Liz Truss is being urged by MPs to block the appointment of Johnston Busingye
  • They are calling for sanctions to stop him being Rwanda’s high commissioner
  • Mr Busingye was demoted in September by Rwandan President Paul Kagame
  • He said government chartered a flight that led to Paul Rusesabagina’s seizure

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is being urged to block the appointment of Rwanda’s top diplomat in London over his central role in the kidnap and detention of the country’s most famous human rights activist.

Senior MPs from both main parties are calling on Ms Truss to impose urgent sanctions on Johnston Busingye, Rwanda’s former justice secretary, to prevent his instalment as the central African regime’s next high commissioner.

Mr Busingye was demoted by Rwandan President Paul Kagame after admitting that their government chartered a flight that led to the seizure of Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero of the film Hotel Rwanda who saved more than 1,200 lives in the 1994 genocide.

Mr Rusesabagina – a critic of the dictatorship – was duped into flying to Rwanda after boarding a private jet in Dubai he thought was flying to a neighbouring country. The 67-year-old was jailed for ‘terrorism’ in September.

Senior MPs are calling on Liz Truss to impose sanctions on Johnston Busingye (pictured), Rwanda's ex-justice secretary, to stop his instalment as the country's next high commissioner+2

Senior MPs are calling on Liz Truss to impose sanctions on Johnston Busingye (pictured), Rwanda’s ex-justice secretary, to stop his instalment as the country’s next high commissioner

Last week, Mr Busingye was named in Parliament by former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith alongside Chinese Communist bosses involved in crimes against humanity, Iranian torturers and Sudanese militia leaders in a debate on sanctions.

Mr Duncan Smith queried why Mr Kagame was proposing to send ‘that abusive individual’ to represent his nation. ‘Do they think the UK is a soft touch?’ he asked.

‘This man should be sanctioned, not sent as their bloody ambassador,’ he told The Mail on Sunday. 

‘It is a disgrace that the Government has not yet made it clear we will reject his credentials. We must make a very strong statement.’

Labour’s Chris Bryant said it was ‘inconceivable’ that Ministers might accept the appointment. ‘Instead of sending a coach to take him to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen, they should bar him from entering the country.’

The MPs are co-chairmen of the All-Party Group on Magnitsky Sanctions, which aims to target those responsible for corruption or human rights violations.

Bill Browder, the financier who pushed for such laws around the world after his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was murdered in Russia, said Rusesabagina was a hero, adding: ‘His only real crime was to be critical of Kagame.’

Mr Rusesabagina was manager of Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali when he saved the lives of 1,268 people who sought sanctuary there amid the horrors of the genocide.

Fearing for his safety, he later fled to the US where he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

A fierce critic of Mr Kagame, he co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, a coalition of opposition groups.

The Rwandan regime, which has a history of smearing its enemies, accused him of being ‘the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits’. 

He denied all charges.

Human rights groups condemned his unlawful seizure and criticised the trial as a charade. Rusesabagina was sentenced in September to 25 years in prison.

Mr Busingye’s admission of his government’s role came after a video was inadvertently sent to al-Jazeera. It showed him being coached for an interview with the broadcaster by Chelgate, a London specialist in ‘reputation management’. 

In the footage, he admitted prison authorities intercepted confidential correspondence between Mr Rusesabagina and his lawyers, which he denied in the interview.

In a second interview, he confirmed the regime paid for the plane that took Mr Rusesabagina to Kigali and for the individual who tricked him on to the plane.

‘This man oversaw the kidnapping and torture of my father,’ said his daughter Carine Kanimba. 

‘He should be disqualified from a role that requires the holder to be a person of integrity.’

The Foreign Office, which can veto ambassadors and high commissioners, declined to comment, and the Rwandan government did not respond to a request for comment last night.

Source: Daily Mail

Intra-Rwandan dialogue is crucial for peace in the Great Lakes

The conflicts in the Great Lakes region cannot be fully resolved until Rwanda addresses its internal political problems.

Since Rwanda gained its independence in 1962, the country has experienced successive regimes that have stayed in power by any means possible, refusing to implement good governance reforms. The repercussions have been massacres and human rights violations, culminating in the Tutsi’s genocide of 1994.

After the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power in 1994, it held national consultations – referred to as Urugwiro Village meetings – to discuss how Rwanda could solve its issues of national unity, democracy, justice, economy and security. The outcomes of these consultations have been the guiding philosophies of the governance implemented by the RPF over the past two decades.

Nonetheless, the way Rwanda’s governance and relationship with its neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region have evolved over time is a concern. Today there are pressing issues that necessitate holding another intra-Rwandan dialogue between the Rwandan government and dissenting voices and civil society organisations operating in and outside the country to revamp its governance strategy so that long-term stability at home and in the Great Lakes region is guaranteed.

The consensus democracy that aimed to prevent further ethnic violence while accelerating development agreed on during the Urugwiro Village meetings has transformed over time into a political system that suppresses political dissent, restricts pluralism and curbs civil liberty in Rwanda.

In many instances the government has abused its power, collaborating with the judicial system to criminalise its critics under the silent watch of the legislature. These practices, along with widespread human rights abuses, point to the fact that the prospect for full democracy in Rwanda remains rather bleak today.

The mechanisms to promote unity and reconciliation among Rwandans adopted by the national consultation of 1999 were commendable. However, the lack of public and official remembrance of the victims of war crimes committed in Rwanda before, during, and after the genocide against the Tutsis are creating conflicting views among citizens today. This creates social grievances and weakens trust and cooperation among Rwandans.

The development programme put forward during the national consultation of 1999 that aimed to transform Rwanda into a middle-income state driven by building a knowledge-based economy by 2020, has also not delivered on many of its promises. Rwanda remains a low-income state in spite of the abundant financial support that the government has received from development partners. As a result, the goal of turning Rwanda into a middle-income country had to be postponed to 2035.

Over the 20 years since the Urugwiro Village meetings took place, the political scenery in Rwanda has transformed as well. It is no longer limited to the opposition affiliated with the ruling party, but also includes a diverse group of dissenting politicians and activists. Although critics are often marginalised by the government and their voices stifled, they are increasingly being heard across Rwanda and beyond.

The government needs to start taking into consideration the criticism that is coming out of these political quarters. After all, it is the lack of an inclusive political process that hindered good governance and led to conflict in Rwanda in the 1990s.

Some Rwandans have already taken to armed struggle, which has increasingly worried the government and exacerbated relations with Rwanda’s neighbours. The United Nations has issued a number of reports alleging the Rwandan government is involved in the conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where it is trying to stem insurgencies it perceives as threatening. Officials in Kigali have repeatedly denied these accusations.

Political tensions between Rwanda and Burundi and Uganda have also worsened in recent years over allegations that these two countries are supporting opposition figures who also want to topple the Rwandan leadership by force. This has led to the closure of borders, which has had a negative economic impact on the country.

To address all these challenges, a new intra-Rwandan dialogue is absolutely necessary today. Such a forum could come up with important reforms that can help improve governance. This would enable Rwanda to secure long-term stability and eventually contribute to conflict resolution in the Great Lakes region.

This dialogue would be aligned with the UN strategy for peace consolidation, conflict prevention and resolution in the Great Lakes region adopted in October 2020. The strategy affirms that effective and sustained dialogue among citizens is key to fostering trust, addressing underlying grievances and facilitating actions for peace, stability and prosperity.

Fortunately for Rwanda, a constant quest for solutions through dialogue is one of the fundamental principles in its constitution. In June 2021, we submitted to the Rwandan government a roadmap for a promising future, requesting the proposed dialogue to be organised before Rwanda’s presidential election in 2024.

For more than a decade, the international community has tried to find a solution to the persistent instability in the Great Lakes region. I have always argued that without solving Rwanda’s internal political problem, it will be impossible to bring about stability in that region.

It is therefore timely and appropriate that regional and international stakeholders support the realisation of the proposed intra-Rwandan dialogue for governance reforms in Rwanda and peace consolidation in the Great Lakes region.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
Rwandan political figure Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is Rwandan political figure. In 2010 Victoire returned to Rwanda from exile in The Netherlands to run for presidential candidate but was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Rwandan Supreme court in a politically motivated judicial proceeding. Her appeal to the African court on Human and People’s rights cleared her and held that Rwanda violated her rights to freedom of expression as well as to adequate defence. Victoire was released in 2018 by presidential grace after eight years of imprisonment, five of which she spent in isolated confinement. She has founded and is chairing Development and Liberty for All (DALFA-Umurinzi) political party. Her party is yet to be registered in Rwanda. It aims to strive for the rule of law and sustainable development that benefits every Rwandan.

Rwandan YouTube star jailed for ‘humiliating’ state officials

Dieudonne Niyonsenga, whose YouTube channel has more than 15 million views was sentenced to seven years in prison.

A Rwandan who used his YouTube channel to criticise the government has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a court in Kigali, amid a growing crackdown on dissidents in the tightly controlled East African nation.

Dieudonne Niyonsenga, whose YouTube channel Ishema TV had amassed more than 15 million views, was found guilty on Thursday on four charges including forgery, impersonation, and “humiliating” state officials.

“We are appealing this verdict against Niyonsenga with immediate effect. It is simply not right,” his lawyer Gatera Gashabana said on Friday.

The court found Niyonsenga to have committed the crimes intentionally and coupled the verdict with a fine of five million Rwandan francs ($4,900).

“Due to the adverse consequences that his crimes have had on Rwandan society, the court orders that Dieudonne Niyonsenga be immediately arrested and taken to serve his jail sentence,” the judge said in delivering the verdict.

Niyonsenga, better known by his YouTube persona Cyuma, which means “Iron”, was known for discussing human rights abuses on his channel.

Shortly after the verdict, the YouTube star said police had surrounded his home. Police and prison officials have not confirmed whether Niyonsenga has been taken into custody after being sentenced in absentia.

His jailing comes weeks after another high-profile critic with a YouTube following was sent to prison.

Last month, Rwandan authorities arrested six people including a journalist and members of an opposition party accused of publishing rumours allegedly intended to start an uprising.

Theoneste Nsengimana, who runs Umubavu TV – an online Youtube channel that often airs content critical of the government, was among those arrested.

Niyonsenga has already been arrested in April 2020, after broadcasting a series of videos accusing soldiers of serious abuses against slum dwellers during the enforcement of a strict coronavirus lockdown.

Shortly afterwards, he was charged with violating the lockdown and impersonating a journalist and sent to prison.

He was acquitted and released 11 months later but prosecutors appealed to a higher court.

The crackdown on YouTube creators has had a chilling effect in Rwanda, where independent media has been quashed and other forms of free expression are strictly monitored by the government.

Critics have accused President Paul Kagame’s government of human rights abuses although it has had support from Western donors for restoring stability in the years after the genocide, and boosting economic growth.

In March, Human Rights Watch voiced alarm about the crackdown. Kagame has denied accusations of abuse.



Présenté par le régime de Kigali et par les médias  comme  le « cerveau du génocide » du Rwanda, le colonel Théoneste Bagosora vient de mourir à l’âge de 81 ans dans la prison du Mali où il purgeait une peine de 35 années de détention.

Arrêté au Cameroun au mois de mars 1996, défendu par Maître Raphaël Constant, avocat réputé du barreau de la Martinique, son procès (TPIR-98-41-T) débuta au mois d’avril 2002. Ce ne fut cependant qu’au mois d’octobre 2004, après un délai surréaliste de neuf années de détention préventive, que le Procureur fut en mesure de soutenir son acte d’accusation.
Construit sur le postulat qui était que le colonel Bagosora fut le maître d’œuvre du génocide, cet acte d’accusation reposait sur un « trou » de quelques heures  dans  son emploi du temps, entre 01h 30 et 06 heures du matin dans la nuit du 6 au 7 avril 1994, durant lequel l’accusé aurait « allumé la mèche du génocide » !!!

N’ayant fait aucune vérification, ni aucune enquête sérieuse, sous la pression constante du régime du général Kagamé et de ses porte-voix médiatiques, le Procureur ancra son acte d’accusation sur cette abstraite  construction intellectuelle.

Expert assermenté devant le TPIR (Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda), j’ai travaillé durant plusieurs années sur ce dossier et, dans le volumineux rapport d’expertise que j’ai défendu devant la Cour (Lugan, TPIR-98-41-T), j’ai notamment minutieusement reconstitué l’emploi du temps du colonel (voir l’intégralité de mon rapport publié dans  Dix ans d’expertises devant le Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda), faisant effondrer comme un château de cartes l’artificielle construction idéologique du Procureur.

Dans leur jugement, les juges rejetèrent donc tout naturellement  les éléments de « preuve » avancés par le Procureur, infligeant ainsi un camouflet d’une rare puissance à l’Accusation et à la thèse officielle.
Au terme d’un procès fleuve rythmé par 409 jours d’audience, par les déclarations de 242 témoins à charge et à décharge remplissant 30 000 pages de compte rendus d’audience, par 1 600 pièces à conviction, par 4 500 pages de conclusions et par 300 décisions écrites, la Cour, dans son jugement en date du 18 décembre 2008,  déclara en effet le colonel Bagosora non coupable « d’entente en vue de commettre un génocide ».

Ce jugement faisait donc  voler en éclats les bases de l’histoire officielle postulant que le génocide avait été programmé puisque les 40 éléments présentés par le Procureur pour tenter de prouver sa planification ne furent pas considérés comme probants par les juges (Résumé du jugement rendu en l’affaire Bagosora et consorts, TPIR-98-41-T, jugement 18 décembre 2008, page 1) :

« Plusieurs éléments qui ont servi de base à la thèse développée par le Procureur sur l’entente (en vue de commettre le génocide) n’ont pas été étayés par des témoignages suffisamment fiables (…) En conséquence, la Chambre n’est pas convaincue que le Procureur a établi au-delà du doute raisonnable que la seule conclusion raisonnable qui se puisse tirer des éléments de preuve produits est que les quatre accusés se sont entendus entre eux, ou avec d’autres, pour commettre le génocide (…) » (Résumé du jugement rendu en l’affaire Bagosora et consorts,TPIR-98-41-T, jugement 18 décembre 2008, pages 16-18).

Le colonel Bagosora fut néanmoins condamné à l’emprisonnement à perpétuité  pour des crimes commis par des hommes supposés avoir été ses subordonnés, entre le 6 et le 9 avril 1994. Le colonel Bagosora interjeta appel de ce jugement.

Le 14 décembre 2011, la Chambre d’Appel du Tribunal Pénal International pour le Rwanda réduisit à 35 ans la peine de perpétuité infligée en première instance au colonel Théoneste Bagosora, les juges d’appel n’estimant pas qu’il avait ordonné les crimes pour lesquels il avait été condamné en première instance, et ils le condamnèrent uniquement parce que, en tant que supérieur hiérarchique postulé, alors qu’il était à la retraite, il n’aurait rien fait pour les prévenir ou en punir les auteurs.
Compte tenu des pressions exercées par le régime de Kigali, par les Etats-Unis et par la Grande-Bretagne, il n’était en effet politiquement pas possible aux juges d’acquitter purement et simplement  l’accusé-phare du TPIR, celui qui, durant des années, avait été présenté comme le « cerveau » d’un génocide programmé, mais qui ne l’avait pas été puisque son déclencheur fut l’attentat du 6 avril 1994 qui coûta la vie au président Habyarimana. Voir à ce sujet les articles extrêmement détaillés publiés dans la revue « Le Fana de l’aviation » n° 619, 620 et 621 (2021), qui expliquent avec une grande minutie et une rare précision le déroulé de cet attentat, et dans lesquels le FPR du général Kagamé est clairement accusé d’en être l’auteur.
Pour l’état des connaissances scientifiques concernant ce génocide, ses origines et son déroulé, on se reportera à mon livre « Rwanda, un génocide en questions », éditions du Rocher, nouvelle édition 2021.

Bernard Lugan

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Like the U.S., Rwanda is in a pitched battle over its history

Controlling the historical narrative in Rwanda is key to the regime’s power

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By Tom ZoellnerTom Zoellner is professor of English at Chapman University and the author of “Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire.”July 12, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT2

Tucker Carlson recently went on an attention-grabbing screed about how America’s history of racism gets taught. He garnered headlines by calling Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff, “stupid” and “a pig” for defending a class on the subject taught at the U.S. Military Academy. Carlson then made a comparison of America to another country that managed to be both absurd — and surprisingly apt:

“The question is, and this is the question we should be meditating on, day in and day out, is how do we get out of this vortex, the cycle, before it’s too late? How do we save this country before we become Rwanda?”

The absurd part is what Carlson was trying to say: that the teaching of critical race theory in schools and universities would lead to oppressed people of color picking up machetes to slaughter White people, an ethnic cleansing that would resemble the 1994 genocide in the small East African nation of Rwanda, in which 800,000 people were slaughtered at the urging of a government made up of the majority Hutu ethnicity.

Rwanda holds an important lesson for America’s culture wars today, but not in the way Carlson thinks. Rather, in Rwanda, political leaders have rewritten the country’s history to gain political power, just as the right wing is now attempting to do in the United States. In fact, the greatest asset of the dictatorship in today’s Rwanda is its mastery of the past. “Within Rwanda today, hegemonic power relies for much of its justification on a certain reading of history,” the Smith College scholar David Newbury has concluded.

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