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The United Nations Security Council has been urged by the U.N. Secretary General to authorize the deployment of a U.N. intervention force in Rwanda for the purpose of stopping massacres of innocent civilians.
The massacres have been going on for several years but particularly become intense after the death of President Habyarimana on April 6, 1994.
The Rwandese Patriotic Front wishes to make the following observations regarding the massacres:
1. The massacres ware carefully planned in advance and systematically executed to ensure the complete extermination of those perceived as opponents of the regime. The plans for these massacres were hatched during President Habyarimana’s own life time with his knowledge and active participation.
2. RPF has very firm evidence indicating that the massacres were but for the death of the President originally intended to take place during the transition period after the Rwandese Patriotic Army forces had handed over their weapons to the United Nations and gone to the assembly points where they would be easy prey.
3. The occurrence of these massacres did not come as a surprise to RPF. Indeed, the RPF consistently brought the alarming preparations for these massacres to the attention of the international community for many months prior to their outbreak. The Secretary General of U.N. and the governments of all the countries which were represented at Arusha during the peace talks were duly informed about the preparations for these massacres through their accredited representatives in Kigali and various high ranking officials who have visited RPF both at Kigali and Mulindi ever since the signing of the peace agreement to discuss the possibilities of facilitating implementation of the peace agreement.
The international community was fore warned but did not find it possible or necessary to take any measures to prevent these massacres.
4. There is a misleading impression that the atrocities which have been committed were committed in course of armed conflict between two fighting groups. There are two groups alright but only one is armed and is committing the atrocities. The group of the victims is unarmed and defenseless. This is simply a case of state inspired violence against innocent citizens on account of their perceived political beliefs or ethnic origins.
The massacres are above all not a result of fighting between two different ethnic groups as the statement of the U.N. Secretary General would appear to indicate.
5. Although the Tutsi community has been singled out as a candidate for extermination, Rwandese of other ethnicities have equally been victims of the atrocities. Tens of thousands of Hutus have died because they belonged to opposition parties. Indeed, the majority of prominent public personalities who were executed were Hutus. The false perception that this is an ethnic conflict needs to be corrected.
6. These massacres are not new in Rwanda’s history. They are a repeat of similar massacres which were committed by the very same security apparatus headed by President Habyarimana between 1959 and 1966, between 1972 and 1973 and between 1990 and 1994.
7. The atrocities in Rwanda have been committed exclusively by the regime. The Rwandese Patriotic Front has not, contrary to what some have implied from the contents of the letter of the U.N. Secretary General addressed to the U.N. Security Council on April 29, 1994, been involved in committing and is not planning to carry out any atrocities. It has instead fallen upon us to rescue many Rwandese from such atrocities. The Rwandese Patriotic Front reiterates that all areas under its control are completely secure and open to inspection by the International community.
8. President Habyarimana and his collaborators planned and prepared for these massacres by taking advantage of the cease-fire arrangements which RPF had agreed to for the purpose of providing a suitable environment for promoting national reconciliation, restoring peace and democratizing our country.
RPF is firmly convinced that the international community has exhibited double standards by insisting that RPF must abide by the peace process agreed upon while doing nothing whatsoever about Habyarimana’s evident preparations to wreck the very peace process which they were promoting.
The United Nations mission (UNAMIR) which was in Rwanda, with a force of more than 2,500 personnel, at the outbreak of the current crisis was unable to offer protection to Rwandese Citizens who were threatened with violence. It did not intervene to stop the massacres, citing the constraints imposed by their mandate, although the mandate could have been changed by the U.N. Security Council at short notice. The force was instead withdrawn leaving the Rwando8s population at the mercy of the murderers.
The International Community stood by and helplessly watched while hundreds of thousands of innocent Rwandese Citizens perished. Few have dared to come out in public to condemn the authors of the atrocities which are being committed, let alone taken any steps to actively assist the actual and potential victims.
As a result of the massacres, it is reported (OXFAM) that more than a half million people (500,000) may have already died.
The manner and scale of the massacres clearly leave no doubt whatsoever that the atrocities which have been committed amount to genocide as defined by the relevant U.N. Conventions. We feel that the debate in some circles, including the U.N. Security Council, about whether genocide has really been committed is academic if not cynical. We the Rwandese and other people who have witnessed the atrocities first hand know for sure that genocide has indeed taken place.
The massacres have been orchestred by the so-called provisional government using the following:
1. The Presidential Guard.
2. Members of the regular National Army.
3. The Para-military Police (Gendarmerie Nationale),
4. Armed civilians and militia under the control of the late President’s party, the MRND and its allies, particularly the extremist CDR party.
The International Community owes the Rwandese people an obligation to condemn and ostracize the perpetrators of these massacres and to help in bringing them to justice. Some countries have, instead, lent legitimacy to these murderers and are already plotting to create a future role for them in the politics of our country. We would mention in particular the governments of France and Egypt which have hosted high level talks with members of the so-called provisional government and appear to be master-minding the current proposal for the deployment of a U.N. intervention force as a result of those talks.
The United Nations should take a leading role in ensuring that the members of the regime responsible for the massacres are not accorded legitimacy by any government or International organization. Should the U.N. itself receive and accord legitimacy to members of the said regime, the Rwandese Patriotic Front will have no option but to request that even the 270 member remnant of UNAMIR be recalled.
The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General to Rwanda, Dr. Jacques Roger Boon-Booh has throughout his stay in our country behaved in a very partisan manner and is not up to task entrusted to him. The Rwandese Patriotic Front will not participate in any future U.N. effort to resolve the Rwanda conflict unless and until the said Special Representative and his Assistant are recalled.
The time for U.N. intervention is long past. The genocide is almost completed. Most of the potential victims of the regime have either been killed or have since fled.
The Rwandese Patriotic Front believes the foremost and appropriate role U.N. agencies at this particular time would be to find the ways and means of handling the humanitarian crisis caused by the violence and displacement of the population. This humanitarian crisis has unfortunately not received the attention it deserves to date.
The Rwandese Patriotic Front regards the proposed U.N. intervention as deliberate attempt to manipulate the U.N. process and machinery to protect and support the murderers who constitute the provisional government.
Consequently, the Rwandese Patriotic Front hereby declares that it is categorically opposed to the proposed U.N. intervention force and will not under any circumstances cooperate in its setting up and operation.
In view of the forgoing the Rwandese Patriotic Front:
a. Calls upon the U.N. Security Council not to authorize the deployment of the proposed force as U.N. intervention at this stage can no longer serve any useful purpose as far as stopping the massacres is concerned.
b. Requests International Community to exert pressure on the murderers who constitute the so-called provisional government and are responsible for the massacres by:
1. Withholding recognition for the so-called provisional government which has taken power by unconstitutional means.
2. Condemning in person the prominent personalities of the regime who have been involved in committing atrocities.
3. Imposing punitive sanctions against the so called provisional government.
4. Setting in motion the process of establishing without delay war crimes tribunals and other mechanisms for bringing the persons responsible for the atrocities to justice.
c. Requests the U.N. Secretary General to replace his Special Representative in Rwanda without delay by someone more competent.
d. Calls upon the international community to urgently respond to the humanitarian crisis in Rwanda by providing assistance to the needy and gives its assurances that it shall cooperate fully in all efforts to alleviate the currant humanitarian crisis.
e. Calls upon the United Nations to immediately send a mission to areas of Rwanda controlled by RPF to confirm that no massacres or human rights of any nature have been committed by RPP forces as implied in the above-mentioned letter by the U.N. Secretary General to the Security council.
For: The Political Bureau of The Rwandese Patriotic Front
Mr. Gerald Gahima
Mr. Claude Dusaidi
Content was OCRed from original archive of the letter: http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB117/Rw29.pdf