Monday, June 28, 2010

Rwanda / Genocide Denial

Rwanda Takes a Strict Line on Genocide Denial. The US Should Support That.
By Richard Johnson
The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2010
"Arrogance, ignorance, and indifference to African victims of genocide have long been hallmarks of Western treatment of Rwanda. The US government should take care not to perpetuate this unfortunate tradition in the run-up to Rwanda’s presidential election in August and fan ethnic tensions in Rwanda. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton admonished the Rwandan government on June 14 for its legal prosecution of 'opposition figures' and 'lawyers,' which she called political actions that should be reversed. Whoever drafted and vetted the secretary’s comments did her, and Rwanda, a disservice. The 'opposition figure' in question is Victoire Ingabire, a Rwandan émigrée who returned to Rwanda from Europe in January to run for president. She had been living outside Rwanda since the 1994 genocide. Upon her return this year, she was soon charged with genocide denial, stirring up ethnic hatred, and collaborating with a rebel force based in eastern Congo -- the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which is led by the remnants of the military officers and politicians who planned and perpetrated the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.
... As for Ingabire, it is astonishing that the US would appear to go to bat for her. Ingabire claims to want reconciliation and democracy for Rwanda. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has campaigned for her to be allowed to compete in Rwanda's election. But, surprisingly, HRW has not told its readers (including, no doubt, folks at the State Department) a word about the ideology and background of Ingabire's party or the nature of her campaign. This can be remedied. Ingabire is president of two Rwandan émigré parties based in Europe. One is the RDR, the other the FDU; they are essentially the same, save for the alphabet-soup acronym intrigue of émigré politics. Both are the descendents of the RDR party established in 1995 in eastern Congo by Rwandan military leaders of the 1994 genocide against the minority Rwandan Tutsi. Their intent was to replace, with less compromised faces, the Rwandan interim government that had committed the genocide and then retreated to eastern Congo. The founding RDR ideology and strategy, never repudiated since 1995, is to return the genocide perpetrators and their supporters to power in Rwanda by force or by negotiation. Ingabire's predecessor as RDR president in Europe, Charles Ndereyehe, is the subject of an Interpol warrant for genocide crimes committed against Tutsis in 1994. Ingabire’s RDR and FDU have long had ties with the FDLR in eastern Congo. The United States and the United Nations treat the FDLR as a terrorist group; two of its Europe-based leaders are under arrest in Germany. [...]"

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