By Tom Ndahiro
Osama bin Laden is dead. The Americans who killed him are celebrating. President Barack Obama proclaimed “Justice is done”. Indeed, Al Qaeda without its spiritual leader and founder is a victory to war against international terrorism.
Many terrorists and genocidaires in the African Great Lakes are still at large. But, at long last, two leaders of Rwandan Hutu extremists go on trial, in Germany, as the other one await trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC), a court based in Holland.
The trio is accused of masterminding atrocities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Hopefully, through courts of law, justice will be done. Yet many more enjoy impunity. That includes Felicien Kabuga, Charles Ndereyehe, Pascal Simbikangwa, Sylvestre Mudacumura, Protais Mpiranya, Augustin Bizimana, Emmanuel Neretse, Augustin Rwamanywa, Dr. Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro, Dr. Felicien Kanyamibwa…and many more.
To face the arm of law in the city of Stuttgart Germany, beginning May 4, are Dr. Ignace Murwanashyaka, the president of the “terrorist” Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and his deputy Straton Musoni.
The third man is Callixte Mbarushimana, a former UN employee who lived in France, and has been extradited to the (ICC).
The United Nations seem to be pleased with these developments. “This cooperative burden-sharing in prosecuting individuals for serious international crimes will greatly advance the fight against impunity,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says.
“Legal action against FDLR leaders also reinforces efforts to demobilize and repatriate FDLR fighters, which would significantly contribute to stabilizing the eastern DRC.” Ki-moon emphasised.
Murwanashyaka boasted in German media in 2008 and 2009, saying he was “the president and… the supreme commander” of the FDLR, and that he knew “exactly what is happening” on the ground.
To understand charges against the FDLR is the August 20, 2010 comprehensive document by the Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno‐Ocampo–to the court’s Pre‐Trial Chamber presided by Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng.
Ocampo issued this document No.: ICC‐01/04, titled: ‘Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ applying for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Callixte Mbarushimana for “his criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes including attacks against a civilian population, killings, rapes, persecution based on gender and extensive destruction of property committed by the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FOCA)”
Ocampo says, the FDLR “was created by the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, who fled to neighbouring DRC” after their defeat by the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
But there are much more detailed allegations about FDLR in this document with over 60 pages. Just to mention a few examples Ocampo wrote:
- “The FDLR is not a political party. It is solely a combatant force dedicated to committing crimes to gain political power, led by a leadership that operates in an integrated manner.”
- “The FDLR, a group calling itself a “Liberation Force”, is the most recent incarnation of a succession of Rwandese rebel groups integrated by the génocidaires that fled to the DRC after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Within refugee camps in the DRC, they re-grouped, organized themselves and launched attacks on Rwanda, with the goal of removing its new Government through violence. Their activities triggered the first Congo war of 1996. They were also actively involved during the second Congo war between mid-1998 and 2002. Since then and until the date of this application, the FDLR has committed crimes against the civilian population of North and South Kivu Provinces.”
- “The FDLR’s reliance on violence to achieve its goals goes back to the group’s historical roots in the Rwandan genocide. When the forces led by Paul Kagame overthrew the genocidal regime in Rwanda, members of the former Forces Armées Rwandaises (ex-FAR) and members of the Interahamwe militias who had masterminded and executed the death of almost one million people fled Rwanda for the two Kivu Provinces, in the Eastern part of the country then called Zaire. While in the camps, they began to recruit and train troops and organised themselves in structured political-military groups designed to oppose the new Rwanda government through violent means.”
- “In early 1995, a group of ex FAR leaders, including MUDACUMURA, created the Rassemblement pour le retour des Réfugiés Rwandais (RDR), the earliest Rwandese rebel group and a predecessor of the FDLR. The RDR recruited a force of between 50,000 and 70,000 men from within the refugee camps. Between 1995 and 1996, operating from the refugee camps, the RDR launched military attacks on Rwandan territory, in pursuit of the goal of returning to power there. These attacks triggered the first Congo war. The RDR was dispersed around mid-1996, when the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) entered the DRC to, among other objectives, disband the refugee camps in joint operations with the Ugandan armed forces (UPDF) and with the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo (AFDL), the Congolese rebel group that would soon be led by Laurent Desiré Kabila.”
- “From the remnants of the RDR, a second Rwandese Hutu rebel group, the Armée de Libération du Rwanda (ALIR) was created. Like the RDR, ALIR was partially composed of ex-FAR leaders and sought to overthrow the Rwandan Government and install its leaders in control in Rwanda. A Western faction of the group, called ALIR II, was led by MUDACUMURA. It would later give birth to the FDLR.”
- “In 1999, DRC, Uganda, Rwanda and other states involved in the conflict signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, 54 which required disarming armed groups present on Congolese soil and invited States Parties to the agreement to offer amnesty and political asylum to former combatants, “except for génocidaires”.
- “As a result of this exclusion, Rwandese rebel groups needed to cover up their connection to the Rwandan genocide, so as to avoid isolation and gain international legitimacy, clearing the way for their participation in political negotiations.”
- “By early 2000, following an internal power struggle, the FDLR was created, from a splinter group of ALIR leaders based in the city of Lubumbashi. These developments led to the appointment of MURWANASHYAKA as FDLR Vice-President and then, in late 2001, to his being named President of the group. MURWANASHYAKA had been a student in Germany in 1994 and was not implicated in the genocide. However, in 1997, he was the RDR’s representative in Germany, was later associated with ALIR II, and finally joined the FDLR once it was created.”
- “In order to strengthen his allies, Laurent-Desiré Kabila supported the idea of a new FDLR leadership that was not obviously connected to the Rwandan genocide. His Government supported the attempts to cover up the FDLR’s genocidal connections on several occasions. In September 2001 the DRC government presented the FDLR to MONUC and the diplomatic community as “legitimate opposition to a sanguinary government in Kigali”. In this phase of their activities, some members of the FDLR went as far as admitting the genocide and condemning it publicly, in an attempt to legitimise their political activities.”
- “When Joseph Kabila succeeded his late father as DRC President in January 2001, the Congolese Government’s support of the FDLR generally declined.”
- “On 19 April 2002, the States involved in the second Congo war and some of the main Congolese armed groups reached an agreement to end the war at Sun City, South Africa. In July of that year, the DRC and Rwandan Governments signed the Pretoria Accords, whereby the DRC undertook to track, disarm and repatriate to Rwanda, without conditions, the Rwandese rebel groups. In exchange, Rwanda agreed to the withdrawal from the DRC of 20,000 of its soldiers, whose presence it had believed to be necessary until that time to control the FDLR and its predecessors.
- “In December 2008, the Congolese and Rwandan Governments agreed to conduct joint military operations on DRC territory against the FDLR in order to stop the group’s criminal activities. The joint DRC-Rwanda operations were launched in January 2009. The FDLR leadership’s response was to conduct a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population in order to force a political negotiation with Rwanda. This is the subject of this case.”
The RDR is the flag-bearer of genocidaires. Its president is Ingabire Victoire. In circles of genocide ideologues and deniers, and amongst the proponents of “Remaking Rwanda” Ingabire is considered a ‘democrat’, and member of ‘opposition’ who merit a political space. Lucky she is now behind bars awaiting trial.
With all these facts provided by Ocampo, there are people like Paul Rusesabagina, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Theogene Rudasingwa and their party Rwanda National Congress who are happy to be associated with these tropical terrorists, and genocidaires. The United Nations is aware of this, and some of these people have their base in the United States.