Genocide-Laundering: Historical Revisionism, Genocide Denial And The Role Of The RDR

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By: Tom Ndahiro

Introduction

Between April and July 1994, the world tried to ignore the annihilation of Tutsi in Rwanda. Today, it is impossible for anyone to forget the genocide. In particular, for survivors – those I call “living victims” – the genocide is a daily reality: it stole their friends and relatives, their plans and aspirations, and continues to haunt them. Raphael Lemkin argued that genocide is coordinated plans to destroy the essential foundations of the life of a group so that it withers and dies like a plant that has suffered blight. Genocide is a crime against all of humankind; against all notions of human civilisation. But it is also a deeply personal crime committed against individuals who re-live the memories of the genocide like a vicious, recurring nightmare. Survivors remain victims of the perpetrators, many of whose ongoing preoccupation is to alter or erase the world’s memory of the genocide. The perpetrators and orchestrators of the genocide may realise the weight of their crimes, but this has not stopped many of them publicly denying the nature and hideous significance of their actions. Perpetrators, international bystanders and their numerous supporters cannot feel safe and happy if both the living victims and other members of the international community keep the memory of genocide alive. It is always in the interest of the culpable to suppress or kill this memory, deploying all means possible. Such suppression or denial of the past is the last stage of genocide: as the killing spree sought to erase all Tutsi from the earth, so denial of the genocide seeks to erase all memory of the Tutsi who were slaughtered. Consequently, there should be justice and accountability for those who deny genocide, as well as for those who perpetrate it.

Many people have heard of money laundering, the objective of which is to generate a profit for certain individuals or groups by dispersing criminal proceeds through seemingly legitimate enterprises to disguise their illegal origins. This enables criminals to benefit without endangering the sources of their profits. Studies have shown that money launderers operate comfortably in countries and financial systems with weak or ineffective counter-measures. Many génocidaires and their allies have succeeded in doing the same regarding the most abominable crime: in propagating a revisionist view of the genocide that has gained great currency around the world, they have successfully distanced themselves from their involvement in the genocide. Their profit is not money, but impunity. For more than ten years, genocide-laundering movements have been extremely active, constructing influential and ultimately divisive reinterpretations of the past and allowing many génocidaires to distance themselves from their crimes. Efforts to counter genocide denial, highlighting how individuals and organisations around the world have been duped by the launderers, require determination and international solidarity, including efforts to prosecute the deniers.

The list of those who have laundered the 1994 genocide of Tutsi is long. Many of these individuals and organisations have gained great credence in the international community. As early as April 1994, various state governments and the United Nations were comfortable sitting with the orchestrators of the genocide, for example, members of the genocidal government who, by a quirk of history, at that time held a place on the UN Security Council (UNSC) and many of whom, as I contend below, have become prominent genocide launderers. The UNSC listened to their interpretations of the violence occurring in Rwanda and invited them to negotiate peace agreements. The international media, particularly French news agencies, aided the denial of the genocide as it was unfolding, by characterising the violence as simply the spontaneous flaring of ancient, tribal hatred. The genocidaires gained greater assistance when, in July 1994, the world that had turned away when innocent people were being butchered came to the rescue of the killers.

The UN endorsed the French government’s humanitarian mission, Opération Turquoise, though its impact was decidedly inhuman, creating a security cordon through which tens of thousands of Hutu, including many orchestrators of the genocide, fled to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]). Similarly, Kenyan and Zairean authorities afforded the genocidaires free movement and permitted the publication and circulation of hate literature, including the extremist newsletters Kangura and Amizero, which had originally been used to incite the genocide.

The responsibility for countering the spread of hate propaganda and new waves of genocidal ideology fell to the living victims and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which had defeated the genocidal armed forces and halted the murder of Tutsi and their sympathisers. As the world focused on the plight of Hutu refugees in the camps in Zaire and Tanzania, and unwittingly helped feed, clothe and re-arm them through humanitarian aid, the RPF and genocide survivors were left to rebuild Rwanda and to safeguard it against the re-emergence of genocidal ideology. As this chapter will show, many prominent génocidaires fled to countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland, where they established bases for genocide denial and plotted the exiled criminals’ return to power. In these countries, the best-organised and most influential organisation involved in genocide laundering, the Rassemblement Républicain pour la Démocratie au Rwanda (RDR), or the Republican Rally for Democracy in Rwanda, was born and has grown with alarming speed. This paper analyses the RDR’s propagandist strategy for spreading genocide revisionism and denial, and the role of the international media in affording the RDR and other revisionist groups a global platform for their campaigns. In particular, this chapter focuses on official RDR propaganda as drawn from its public statements and from rare documents, including confidential Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR) and RDR memoranda, which I have gathered from refugee camps in eastern DRC.

History of the RDR

It is necessary to understand what the RDR is, how it was created and what it intends to hide or protect. The RDR is the first Rwandan criminal organisation to acquire international recognition through genocide laundering. It was officially launched on 3 April 1995, with headquarters in France and later also in Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada, where it has operated since. On 4 April 1995, the RDR declared its support for the FAR,[1] the Hutu genocidal army overrun by the RPF in July 1994. On 29 April 1995, the high Command of the FAR issued a statement in Bukavu, Zaire, divorcing itself from the Hutu “government in exile,” the group of Hutu extremists that had been its partner in the genocide.

The FAR believed that the exiled government had become ineffective in serving the interests of refugees in Zaire and Hutu everywhere and instead declared its unswerving support for the RDR. The FAR statement read:

Since its creation on April 9, 1994, with the assistance of the Rwandan Armed Forces, the Government has been subjected to media and diplomatic embargo, and the Government reshuffle of November 1994 did not improve the situation. The absence of Government action for the refugees in the camps due to lack of adequate and efficient structures is remarkable…In the search of intermediate solutions to get out of the impasse, with the refugees’ initiative, the “RDR” was recently created to address the concerns of the refugees and of the oppressed Rwandans inside the country. After examining the goal and the objectives of “RDR,” the Rwandan Armed Forces saluted this good initiative setting up an organisation that can ensure efficient supervision of the population in exile, guarantee maximum cohesion and having a media and diplomatic influence, which are preliminary conditions to the refugees’ return to their country. This is the reason why the Rwandan Armed Forces signed a declaration of support to the “RDR” on April 4, 1995….Conscious of their responsibilities and …their strong willingness to work directly with and for the people… [t]he FAR believe that the Government must be aware of its responsibilities before history, the Rwandan people in general and the refugees in particular, by supporting the refugees’ good initiative, and by resigning to let the “RDR” represent and defend their interests. Therefore, the Government must hand in all documents it has been keeping on behalf of the people in exile. The relations between the FAR and the Government are stopped as of April 29, 1995.[2]

This statement reveals the true intentions behind the creation of RDR. The leadership of the FAR and the “government in exile” had taken refuge in neighbouring countries; many of them fugitives from justice. The RDR admitted in 1998 that it was established to bypass or circumvent the embargo imposed on the government in exile in Zaire. An RDR document published on 17 November 1998 and signed by Charles Ndereyehe revealed that it took the “refugees two months of serious thinking about setting up an organisation, which would be capable of breaking the media and diplomatic embargo affecting them.” The document reads:

The idea of a large organisation was born during the meeting held in Bukavu in October 1994. To circumvent the embargo which had struck the government in exile during the 2-3 months while the refugees lived in exile, several series of refugee initiatives were launched in different places, particularly in the former Zaire and Tanzania, where more than 2 million Rwandans who fled en masse in July and August 1994 were living.

But these initiatives lacked coordination. Mr. Nzabahimana François was among the organisers of this meeting, at which the refugees from Europe and the Americas were unfortunately under-represented. After two days of debates, the refugees were given 2 months for reflection before establishing an organisation which was able to break the media and diplomatic embargo under which the refugees were struggling. At the end of the first gathering of the organisation, the refugees published a charter for the rapid and peaceful return of refugees who fulfilled its requirements.[3]

With the assistance of priests from the “missionaries of Africa,” a Belgian branch of the Internationale Démocrate-Chrétienne (IDC) and Belgian Senator Rika De Backer, working with exiled Hutu, including known Hutu demagogues and génocidaires, the RDR was born. From 1995 until it changed its name in 2003, the RDR was the Rassemblement pour le Retour et la Démocratie au Rwanda or “Rally for the Return [of Refugees] and Democracy in Rwanda.” Its members, particularly the hierarchy, were drawn from among the génocidaires. Some of them were former ministers[4], influential diplomats and senior civil servants. All of them were genocide ideologues[5] and many were highly active in the refugee camps in the ex-Zaire. The world was aware of this, as evidenced by Richard McCall, Chief of Staff of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In a public statement in June 1996, McCall said, “Just as the international community failed to act to prevent the Rwandan genocide, the international community stands silent as the genocidal forces continue to work their will both inside Rwanda and in neighbouring Zaire. …The seeds for this genocide were planted decades ago. The roots remain firmly embedded in an ideology that continues to be the principle guiding the ex-government and the RDR.”[6]

McCall’s claims are corroborated by the testimony given by Jean Kambanda, former Prime minister of Rwanda, to the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Kambanda told ICTR investigators that the RDR was formed by individuals close to the Mouvement Républicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (MRND), the ruling party that planned, and incited the population to carry out, the genocide, with full support by the FAR. In the camps, refugees were coerced to join this organisation. Kambanda explained:

It was impossible to belong to any other organization except the RDR. They were saying it openly, so it wasn’t something that was said in hiding or in a concealed manner. You had to be in the RDR and nowhere else … People were attacked since they didn’t want to join or if they said they were not joining the RDR. They were physically attacked. … I saw people who were beaten or insulted because they didn’t want to join the RDR or because they said they were not going to join the RDR.[7]

Kambanda was asked by the investigators to identify the individuals who exercised these physical and moral constraints. Kambanda answered, “It was mostly by the soldiers but also by the RDR officials in the region,” adding that there were soldiers who did not remain in the camp but stayed with the civilians to convince them “to join the party.”[8]

One conversation between Kambanda and the ICTR investigators regarding the RDR went as follows:

Q: When did you notice that the soldiers came to exert pressure? Was it when there was a negative report, or what?

A: From the very beginning, the entire RDR service was overseen by the army. From the very beginning. Be it at the higher levels of the party or at the levels of the camps.

Q: Okay. So it was an association to which a refugee had to belong as a matter of obligation?

A: he was obliged to join.

Q: They advocated to return to Rwanda using force, by launching attacks against Rwanda?

A: Yes.

Q: And the refugees were required to pay contributions?

A: yes, each housing unit had to pay a dollar monthly.[9]

During the interview, Kambanda admitted, “my own family had to pay contributions. They sought my opinion and I told them that for their security it was in their interest to pay. I even gave my own money to pay.” Kambanda described military incursions into Rwanda by ex-génocidaires from the camps, which targeted genocide survivors and witnesses.[10]

FAR military leaders, including Col. Théoneste Bagosora, orchestrated the creation of the RDR and, from the outset, sought to control it. Kambanda spoke to ICTR investigators at length about how military officials held several meetings in preparation for launching the RDR and how officers such as Bagosora and Maj. Gen. Augustin Bizimungu announced the formation of the

RDR even before it was officially established. Bagosora, according to Kambanda, “went to the camp to organize meetings and announce the good news that ‘a new political organization’ was going to be created, and that the military were henceforth taking charge.” Kambanda claimed that the meetings to form the RDR were convened by the FAR, and RDR leaders were appointed by the army.[11]

RDR and Genocide Denial

On the surface, the concepts and language used in the RDR’s press releases may seem relatively innocuous. A careful analysis of the use of specific words, and their connotations in the Rwandan cultural context, however, exposes their nefarious intentions and insinuations. What follows here is an analysis of RDR press releases and other key documents, to display the organisation’s attempts to describe Tutsi in racist or ethnically divisive ways and to deny that Hutu perpetrated the genocide in 1994 or that a genocide even took place. In the

RDR’s discourse, one easily uncovers claims and depictions of the genocide as a “civil war,” “tragedy” or “crisis.” It is also common to find claims that the RPF rather than the genocidal government was responsible for crimes in 1994. Such claims revolve around two forms of responsibility: the RPF as responsible for inciting the government’s “response”; and the RPF guilty of attacks on, even genocide of, innocent Hutu civilians.

As demonstrated above, the FAR played a crucial role in the establishment, growth, ideology and propaganda strategy of the RDR. In early April and May 1995, the FAR’s department of military intelligence and two lawyers afforded the task of writing an account of Rwandan history, Charles Nkurunziza and Alberto Basomingera, published their first materials. In doing so, Nkurunziza and Basomingera attempted to provide a legal backing to the denial of Tutsi genocide, particularly by legally justifying the crime. Initially, both men acted as legal advisors to Dr. Theodore Sindikubwabo, the leader of the government that orchestrated the genocide. Their documents later greatly influenced the RDR’s press releases and public statements, especially in their attempts to deny the genocide.

A text published in Bukavu in May 1995 by the “Charles Nkurunziza Group” includes the following statement that has become central to RDR ideology and propaganda: “It is not the Hutu who were the authors of the genocide; rather, it is the Tutsi who wanted to exterminate the Hutu, so that they will never have to share power. This is the truth that any person of good will and who loves justice should know to contribute to the restoration of the Rwandan people’s rights….”[12]

In a report published in April 1995, Albert Basomingera, formerly the Dean of the Faculty of law at the National university of Rwanda in Butare and a consultant to the World Bank, argues that there was no plan to commit genocide in Rwanda. He contends that “it was the discovery of the RPF’s brigades and arms caches that partly explains the violence and the intensity of the reaction of the populace and not the premeditation of genocide…[S]uch reaction is rather that of self-defence.”[13] Linking the death of Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana to the genocide, Basomingera argues that “it should be recalled that even some large-scale attacks by the RPF had already provoked popular ‘punitive’ reaction against true or suspected RPF’s accomplices in the regions where the President enjoyed popularity…What was then expected in the event of the assassination of that same head of State?”[14]

Basomingera furthermore defends Dr. Leon Mugesera who, in a famous speech in November 1992 when he was MRND vice-chairman for Gisenyi prefecture, incited people to exterminate Tutsi. Basomingera supports the incendiary discourse of Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM), arguing, “It is tendentious to claim that the incriminated radio only called to the extermination of the Tutsi.”[15]

Reinforcing racist stereotypes used to dehumanise Tutsi, Basomingera defends RTLM depictions: “With regard to the term ‘serpents’, it was used to designate the Tutsi even before independence, referring partly to their cunning, malicious and spiteful nature and partly the dishonesty they are said to have been imbued with.”[16]

Basomingera and Nkurunziza continue to propagate the views expressed in these original documents, which have served as a touchstone for RDR ideology. In May 2002, as a defence witness at the ICTR for Andre Ntagerura, former Transport minister before and during the genocide, Nkurunziza told the Tribunal that he did not observe any massacres between April and July 1994 but alleged that mass killings by RPF soldiers led to “revenge by the government.”[17]

Nkurunziza, who was Rwanda’s Justice Minister from 1977 to 1984 and Deputy Minister of Transport during the genocide, argued that the government set up roadblocks simply to bring calm and security because the justice system in the country had broken down.[18] Underlying the importance of genocide denial for his discourse, Nkurunziza argued, “The massacres that bloodied the countryside were done by the RPF,”[19] claiming that he had never heard of the FAR nor the Interahamwe militias killing Tutsi.[20]

RDR’s Relativisation of the Genocide

The RDR’s first four press releases, signed by its executive secretary, Dr. Innocent Butare, do not employ the word “genocide.” In Press Release No. 6, the RDR refers to the genocide as the time “when, last year, misguided elements of the National Army were implicated in inter-ethnic massacres.”[21] In the RDR political platform, the start of the genocide is referred to as “the resumption of hostilities on 6 April 1994.”[22]

Thereafter, the RDR argues, “the territory controlled by the government fell into the hands of renegade adventurers, looters and killers who launched a campaign of ruthless slaughter against defenceless civilians.”[23] In an attempt to minimise the scale and terrible nature of the genocide, the RDR uses numerous dismissive phrases and metaphors to characterise the violence, such as “the unfortunate April 1994 massacres,”[24] “crimes committed in the ethnic conflict”[25] and “inter-ethnic massacres.”[26]

The RDR also accuses the RPF and Tutsi generally of “sensationalising” the genocide and using their version of the facts as political capital, in an attempt to win international sympathy and donor aid, “using, for political benefits, the tragedy which has plunged into mourning the Rwandan people.”[27]

Elsewhere, the RDR argues, “Diplomacy under the RPF regime, like all its policies, rests upon a shameful exploitation of the 1994 genocide used as a business asset… The RPF believes that it is entitled to anything…and plays thoroughly on the chords of commiseration and culpability” and that “victims of these massacres are found in all ethnic groups, just like their perpetrators. It is therefore sadistic, shameful and immoral for the Kigali regime to use these massacres as a political alibi…”[28]

Such views buttress the RDR’s claim that the genocide is in fact a useful invention exploited by an unpopular, Tutsi-led government. In this view, while “the tragedy” covers the whole period from 1990—when the RPF invaded Rwanda from Uganda, sparking the civil war that preceded the genocide—the attempted annihilation of Tutsi itself is little more than a product of RPF political spin-doctoring.

Not only are such descriptions obscenely dismissive of the genocide, they also deny any notion of the massacres as a deliberate policy of the government in power in 1994. According to the denial accounts, nothing about the genocide was premeditated: it was unforeseeable and therefore unpreventable. The killings were not supported by government policy and the government was not in any way involved in the genocide. This historical account removes from the authorities of the day all blame for the massacres and denies that they had ever propagated a genocidal ideology and systematically planned the extermination of Tutsi. It also illustrates the RDR’s approach to history, contrasting its descriptions of the genocide as “misguided,” “unfortunate” or acts of “banditry” with its portrayal of the RPF’s actions during and after the genocide (“the RPF decided to attack and systematically massacre Hutu refugees”[29]; “the Kigali dictatorial regime is still going on with its deliberate extermination plans of large segments of the population”[30]) as part of a carefully orchestrated strategy of Tutsi domination.

The RDR describes the genocide as “the aggression, assassination, tortures and massacres imposed on the Rwandese population since October 01 1990” or “the war launched by the RPF on October 1 1990 and its ensuing extreme violence that culminated in genocides,” accusing the RPF of inciting and perpetrating crimes.[31]

The RDR refuses to identify the genocide as a distinct and heavily orchestrated event, describing instead the entire period from late 1990 to the present day as a time of general “violence” and “tragedy.”[32]

This historical account interprets the RPF invasion of Rwanda as the cause of all “violence” in Rwanda, deflecting blame for the genocide from the Habyarimana regime and its extremist ideologues. Instead, the RPF—and the entire Tutsi community—become the perpetrators of all violence in Rwanda since 1990, including the genocide of hutu. “The RDR strongly condemns the Tutsi genocide,” one statement reads. “The RDR renews its vigorous condemnation of the genocide… perpetrated against Hutu.”[33]

To not only deny that the genocide of Tutsi occurred but to accuse the RPF and all Tutsi of committing genocide against Hutu is the ultimate insult to living victims of the genocide of Tutsi and to their loved ones butchered in 1994. The RDR’s use of statistics and historical details to support such claims is particularly misleading. Press Release No. 32 of 25 October 1995 argues that one million Hutu were massacred by the RPF[34] during what the RDR argues were acts of genocide,[35] and elsewhere implies that this figure may be even higher.[36]

According to the RDR political platform, “hundreds of thousands of Hutu” were “thrown into prison,” after being accused of genocide crimes,[37]when most commentators estimate that approximately 120,000 suspects were rounded up and imprisoned after the genocide. Meanwhile, the RDR refuses throughout its public statements to cite a concrete number of Tutsi victims before or during the genocide.

The RDR’s discussion of “national reconciliation” also belies the RDR’s denial and revisionist agenda. The following passage is particularly illustrative of this:

A lasting solution to the Rwandan crisis requires a frank and sincere dialogue between authentic representatives of political opposition and the Kigali regime. It also requires reconciliation between the different components of the Rwandan people. To make this happen, all truth about all aspects of the war must be told so that all political and social main actors, whether nationals or foreigners, acknowledge their failures and responsibilities in creating the atmosphere and the conditions that led to the disintegration of Rwandan society, to the promotion of violence, to confrontation, and to the tragedy.

While on first reading this may appear to be a reasonable statement, calling for different parties in Rwanda to come to the negotiating table to formulate strategies for rebuilding the country, the intentions behind it are highly divisive. Not only does the RDR employ dismissive and morally neutral terms like “cri-sis” and “tragedy” that undermine the severity of the genocide, it also seeks to apportion all blame for past violence to the RPF, while abdicating the responsibility of the RDR membership—characterised as “authentic representatives of the political opposition”—for the genocide.

Ethnic Stereotypes in RDR’s Discourse

The RDR regularly paints a one-sided view of Rwandan history and uses divisive stereotypes of Tutsi. From the outset, in its Political Platform, it claims that historically “political power [in Rwanda] was characterized by absolutism and exclusion” and “the current territory of Rwanda grew out of bloody wars waged by Tutsi kings against Hutu kingdoms.” Consequently, “a repressive regime against the Hutu was initiated” and “this ethnic evil has left an indelible mark on the socio-political evolution of Rwanda from the feudal-monarchic regime through the colonial and republican regimes up to the current RPF regime.”[38]

Absolutism, exclusion and bloody wars are all attributed to Tutsi since the beginning of Rwandan history. “Tutsi kings against Hutu kingdoms” implies that there were always distinct and opposed ethnic groups and that Tutsi have always been expansionist and imperialist.

The only repression mentioned in this instance is that of Tutsi against Hutu, with no suggestion that Tutsi have ever suffered from oppression or discrimination. The “ethnic evil” that marks Rwanda is attributed to the Tutsi. This false and divisive account makes no attempt to convey any of the complexity and problems of Rwandan history. In the Political Platform, the RDR states, “furthermore, upon [the RPF’s] victory in July 1994, more than 2.5 million people chose to flee the country rather than be subjected to a regime imposed on them by military force.”[39]

There is no mention of the genocide—particularly many individuals’ desire to flee accountability for their actions—as the main factor in the exodus of refugees, with the RPF presented as the sole aggressor in 1994.

According to the RDR’s negative stereotyping, Tutsi are characterised by their cunning, manipulation, lying and underhandedness. Several RDR documents contain explicit references to Tutsis’ lying, for instance when Press Release No. 97 of 22 October 1996 accuses the RPF of “alleging fictitious infiltrations of Interahamwe [into its own ranks].”[40]

Elsewhere, the RDR asserts, “The RPF has so much benefited from its policy of lying that it has institutionalised it…The RPF has developed in a refined manner the art of lying.”[41] As the RDR attempts to reinforce the claim that the RPF is dominated by liars, it argues that the international community has come “to consider the aggressed as aggressor and the aggressor as the aggressed; the main killers who in fact launched the war in October 1990 are today considered as victims of a genocide.”[42]

Other references are more opaque but continually reinforce the image of Tutsi as cunning, deceitful and manipulative. Mention is made of an RPF “trap,” whereby refugees in the Zaire camps were forced over the border into Rwanda and massacred by the army; acts characterised as typically “underhanded” Tutsi behaviour.[43]

“During [the Habyarimana] regime,” the Political Platform states, “recruitment of Tutsi into the army, security services and the local administration was very limited. To circumvent their political exclusion, Tutsi invested their energies in business, industries and the church with great success thanks to connections they created with some high-ranking dignitaries within the regime and, as a result, they wield real influence in Rwandan society, economics and politics.”[44]

This account makes no mention of the systematic repression and exclusion of Tutsi after Hutu came to power in Rwanda in 1959. Rather, it suggests that Tutsi “infiltrated” Rwandan society, enjoyed secretive power and influence, favoured ethnic over national identity and harboured expansionist intentions. Such an implication adds to the stereotype of Tutsis’ being conspiratorial and naturally subversive, the same characterisation employed by the architects of the genocide to incite the Hutu population to murder Tutsi in 1994.

The RDR consistently portrays the RPF and, by extension, all Tutsi as outsiders and usurpers. Such distortion and reversal of historical reality, which belittles the significance of the genocide, is common throughout the RDR’s documents. The RDR refers regularly to Hutu refugees as “Rwandan and Burundian”[45] refugees, while Tutsi refugees are referred to simply as Tutsi.

The implication here is that Tutsi belong to their ethnic group, rather than to their nation, and that Hutu are the rightful heirs to power in Rwanda and Burundi. The governments in Rwanda and Burundi are described as “Tutsi-led”[46] or “minority”[47]regimes, implying a lack of popular credibility or an inherent injustice in anything but majority—that is, Hutu—rule. Maintaining the argument that the RPF and all Tutsi are outsiders, Press Release No. 11 of 1 July 1995 states that the RPF’s high command “is exclusively made up of former members of a foreign army” and refers to “the so- called national assembly,”[48] while another statement refers to “the so–called national parliament”[49] in Rwanda, reinforcing the notion of the illegitimacy of RPF rule in Rwanda. Generally speaking, in the RDR’s press releases, the terms “RPF” and “Tutsi” are used interchangeably and contrasted with descriptions of Hutu as “true Rwandans,” “the Rwandan people” and “the population.”[50]

The RDR continually attempts to distance the RPF from the “Rwandan people,” implying that the RPF is not truly Rwandan and instead a self-imposed and discredited government; “a clique of individuals, who are desperately trying to cling to power against the verdict of the people.”[51]

Such statements echo the claim in the RDR’s Political Platform that the RPF government “has no political or social base; it is not representative of the population. It is a government that took power through military force by an ethnocentric oligarchy, which so far has not been able to win the hearts of the people over which it rules.”[52]

The RPF is portrayed as an occupying force; an administration of non-Rwandans subjecting true Rwandans—Hutu—to repressive, minority rule.

The myth of Tutsi being “foreigners” or “outsiders” is not new in Rwanda. After 1959, successive governments maintained that the Tutsi were foreigners who needed to be eradicated. Killing Tutsi by throwing them in the Nyabarongo River was considered part of sending them back to their purported origin—Ethiopia, via the River Nile. In a more modern version of this argument, the RDR’s Press Release No. 67 of 17 April 1996 describes economic migrants and foreigners who have been given legal rights to property in which they had been “squatting” since the genocide, allegedly as part of an attempt by the RPF to “enhance its political constituency.”[53]

Such a policy, the RDR argues, is “rewarding those aliens for their contribution towards the RPF war.”[54] This implies that the RPF is not a party for Rwandans; that to maintain power it must buy support from outside of the country and can only govern with the help of foreigners. An RDR statement on 4 June 1996 accuses the RPF of needing to “pay a moral debt to Tutsi in Zaire who financed the RPF war,” alleging that the RPF relies on foreigners, especially members of the Tutsi diaspora, to stay in power.[55]

The RDR often claims that it desires to create a Rwanda free of ethnocentric politics, but its language frequently belies this. In its Press Release No. 6, the RDR argues that the ICTR was established to “judge Hutu suspected of having committed the crime of genocide.”[56]

Such a statement is unnecessarily divisive: why not speak of “suspected génocidaires” rather than “Hutu”? The RDR’s implication here is that Hutu are unfairly singled out and subjected to ethnic discrimination by their accusers. Despite purporting to want to banish divisive ethnic considerations from politics and from the national conscience, the RDR makes explicit comparisons between ethnic groups. For instance, in the aforementioned communiqué, the RDR asks, “what would the commission [tasked with investigating deaths in the Kibeho refugee camp] have said if, during the regime of the late President Habyarimana, Tutsi who had taken refuge in Kiziguro parish… had been forced out by firearms?”[57]

In April 1994, thousands were killed in the Church of Kiziguro. The reference to Kiziguro is intended to show that a commission by, or for the government, must be considered for the Tutsi only. Such language reinforces the idea of different treatment for Hutu and Tutsi, and is intended to create resentment among the former. In the RDR’s discourse, the idea predominates of irreconcilable differences among Rwandans.

Further allusions to ethnic victimisation appear in a statement published on 4 June 1996, wherein the RDR describes the government’s attempts to “demonise Hutu refugees with a view to exacerbating animosity against them,” reduce international humanitarian assistance to the refugees, and create insecurity in eastern DRC so as to cut food and other supplies to Hutu refugees.[58]

This statement, claiming that the RPF, being “Tutsi-led,” must therefore want revenge on all Hutu, propagates the idea that Rwandan politics must be ethno-centric and that members of an ethnic group with power must automatically want to wield it against the other group.

RDR and False Depictions of the RPF

The RDR takes great care to sound reasonable and even-handed in all of its public pronouncements. However, beneath this veneer lies a litany of threats and warnings of future violence to restore Hutu rule in Rwanda. In Press Release No. 97, the RDR warns the international community about its policies toward the Rwandan and Burundian governments, cautioning, “It should be recalled that such an appeasement policy towards Hitler’s expansionism led to the Sec ond World War.”[59]

Comparisons between the RPF and Hitler were common in the openly anti-Tutsi Kangura newspaper before the genocide and spread beyond Rwanda’s borders in an attempt to mobilise its neighbours to support the génocidaires. The “RDR Basic Principles” contains the passage: “the Kigali dictatorial regime is still…going on with its deliberate extermination plans of large segments of the population. Therefore, it is quite legitimate to think of another way of stopping those crimes and of protecting the population.”[60]

The reference to “another way of stopping those crimes and of protecting the population”—meaning protecting Hutu—frighteningly implies the possibility of using what the RDR, in later documents, euphemistically refers to as “non-political” action or violence to return Rwanda to Hutu rule, overcoming “the expansionist policies of the Tutsi-led governments in Rwanda and Burundi,” which the RDR compares to “Hitler’s expansionist policy.”[61]

In the Zairean refugee camps, the RDR and the FAR planned to attack Rwanda, including to eliminate genocide survivors. Some of the minutes of FAR and RDR meetings, which I have gathered, show their macabre plans. For example, in one military operations meeting, chaired by Brig. Gen. Gratien Kabiligi (currently on trial at the ICTR) and attended by some FAR commanders and officers, it was concluded that:

The adopted method is to cleanse the countryside to be able to live. That consists of the physical elimination of any supporters of the RPF cause (acolytes, sponsors, supporters…)—those who escape will find refuge in urban centres or in parishes. They planned operations to lay landmines and traps; destroy roads and public buildings. The war must be mobile: attack in urban centres and hide in the countryside. The principle of cleansing the countryside by eliminating RPF sympathizers and especially the best-known survivors has been approved. That will allow our men to settle easily into rural areas and to take action in small urban centres and against other specific positions.[62]

RDR misrepresentations are meant to dupe people who may otherwise be unaware of who is responsible for the genocide, to legitimise the genocide planners’ evil actions, and to obscure the RDR’s dark past and current membership. The conspiracy theory of Tutsi expansionism was one of the first hate discourses employed by the genocidal ideologues.

As early as November 1990, Kangura published an editorial alleging the existence of a “plan” by the Tutsi to conquer all of central Africa in what it titled, “The Tutsi plan to colonise Kivu and the African Central region.”[63]

Léon Mugesera asserted the myth of a Tutsi empire in early 1991, when he co-authored a pamphlet with the Association des Femmes Parlementaires pour la Défense des Droits de la Mère et de l’Enfant (AFAPADEM), in which he claimed that Tutsi intended to “[e]stablish in the Bantu region of the Great lakes (Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Tanzania, Uganda) a vast kingdom of the Hima-Tutsi, an ethnic group that considers itself superior, on the model of the Aryan race, and which uses Hitler’s Swastika as its emblem.”[64]

In February 1993, the génocidaires again spoke of the Tutsi Empire. A press release of the CDR warned that the RPF were planning genocide of Hutu throughout the country in their pursuit of a Hima–Tutsi empire. The CDR demanded that the government provide the people with the necessary means to defend themselves.[65]

This coincided with the government’s training and arming the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militias.[66]To paint a negative picture of the RPF and to deflect attention from crimes committed under pre-1994 hutu regimes, the RDR often accuses the RPF of carrying out offences known to have been committed against Tutsi. In Press Release No. 3 of 27 April 1995, the RDR alleges that “in order to finish off Hutus, the RPF has decided to collectively label all of them ‘interahamwe’.”[67]

This is an exact inversion of the ideology that preceded the genocide, when all Tutsi were seen as legitimate targets because they were all “accomplices” of the “Inkotanyi” or “inyenzi,” the Tutsi “enemy” whose only dream was to exterminate Hutu. The statement by the RDR goes on to allege that “all Hutu or any other person who do not subscribe to the ideology of the RPF must therefore be eliminated at any cost”—again, an exact description, in reverse, of the thinking that drove the genocide. During the preparations of the genocide, the message sent by the planners was to brand as a “traitor” any Hutu who did not subscribe to their heinous plan.[68]

International Media’s Response to Genocide: Neutrality or Complicity?

The RDR has received significant assistance from the international media in propagating its agenda of genocide denial and revisionism. Foreign journalists have often played a destructive role in the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath. Their failure to adequately identify and report the crimes in 1994 as genocide was a critical factor in the international community’s failure to intervene to halt the violence. The global media were also a major factor in generating world-wide humanitarian relief for the refugees who fled Rwanda after the genocide, including thousands of génocidaires.

In 1996 the Steering Committee for Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance to Rwanda published a report which included an important observation on the failure of the international media during the genocide:

By and large, the international media chose not to report (nor to publish if news reports were filed) evidence of plans and organising for large-scale massacres. This contributed to the failure by the international community to perceive the genocide for what it was and to insist on an adequate response. This failure occurred in spite of local media, which became dominated in the early 1990s by a radio station and newspaper whose vitriolic propaganda incited hatred and violence. Inadequate and inaccurate reporting by the media on the genocide itself contributed to international indifference and inaction.[69]

During the genocide, the international media was at first obsessed with the violence as drama. Most journalists showed little interest in the details of the ensuing events, focusing instead on the headline-grabbing news that “tribes” were killing “tribes,” neighbours killing neighbours. The emphasis on the closeness of the people killing and being killed was meant to show the abnormality of the “combatants.”

For many news consumers around the world, the inhabitants of Rwanda, and Africa generally, were not humans but ferocious, two-legged beasts. Much of the global audience will still remember one international magazine’s sub-heading: “There are no more devils in hell, they are all in Rwanda.”

Throughout the genocide, the international media failed to investigate the political and organisational structures established to facilitate the extermination of all Tutsi. The genocide was consistently described as a spontaneous flaring of ancient tribal animosity, a violent flow of lava-like anger and hatred, unleashed by the sudden deaths of Rwandan President Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira after their plane was shot down over Kigali on the night of 6 April 1994. A typical report claimed, “The president of Rwanda was assassinated and the Hutu who are on the side of the government turned against the Tutsi who are considered to be closer to the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.”[70]

Almost a month after the beginning of the genocide, Agence France Press still reported that “mainly Tutsi rebel guerrillas were besieging Hutu-led government forces” and clashes spreading in the “corpse-littered and blood-splattered capital,” much as it described “inter-ethnic bloodletting” a month earlier.[71]

Such descriptions implied that what the world was observing was a civil war, between the hutu government and the Tutsi rebel movement. Prof. Richard Robbins argues, “If we examine cases of purported ethnic conflict we generally find that it involves more than ancient hatred; even the ‘hatreds’ we find are relatively recent, and constructed by those ethnic entrepreneurs taking advantage of situations rooted deep in colonial domination and fed by neo-colonial exploitation.”[72]

Robbins observes that “there is no better case than Rwanda of state killing in which colonial history and global economic integration combined to produce genocide. It is also a case where the causes of the killing were carefully obscured by Western governmental and journalistic sources, blamed instead on the victims and ancient tribal hatreds.”[73]

The press can make a vital contribution to the strengthening of peace and international understanding and to countering racism and incitement to violence. The aforementioned examples of simplistic and irresponsible reporting include instances of racism, portraying Africans as savages. Journalists like Fergal keane, who methodically explored the causes of events in Rwanda in 1994, spoke out against simplistic or racist reporting and misrepresentation of the genocide as a tribal mêlée:

We must not report on countries like Rwanda as if they were demented theme parks, peopled by savages doomed to slaughter each other in perpetuity… Too much of the reporting of Africa has been conditioned by a view of its people as an eternally miserable smudge of blackness stretching across the decades…In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, there was far too much reliance on tired clichés about ancient tribal hatreds.

The fact that this was an act of systematically planned mass murder, a final solution of monstrous proportions, was too often lost in the rush to blame the catastrophe on the old bogey of tribalism.[74]

Neutrality and impartiality are necessary principles in the art of journalism. However, some forms of so-called neutrality and impartiality when reporting on crucial moral issues such as genocide are misplaced and highly damaging.

The fundamental issue here is the journalist’s furtherance of neutrality in the face of genocide. Is it possible for a reporter to maintain the idea of neutrality when confronting such a crime? Is it possible to be neutral between a Tutsi victim of genocide and an Interahamwe militiaman committing genocide; between a Jew who was killed in an Auschwitz concentration camp and a Nazi who killed him or her; between a black Sudanese who is killed by the Janjaweed militia on their horsebacks? Such crimes must be identified and denounced. In the face of such atrocities, there is no place for the kind of “neutral” descriptions that appeared in many international media outlets during the Rwandan genocide, seeking to describe a “balanced” view of the role of “both sides” in the conflict.

To fail to describe genocide as genocide—to characterise it simply as a civil war or the result of spontaneous violence resulting from long-harboured tribal animosity—is anything but neutral. It insults the victims of such egregious crimes and paves the way for the kinds of genocide revisionism and denial we have seen in the analysis of RDR propaganda above.

International Media Aiding Spread of Genocide Revisionism and Denial

Many of the sins of omission and commission of the international press during the genocide have aided the cause of genocide deniers and revisionists such as the RDR. Furthermore, the international media must be vigilant that it does not inadvertently create an environment in which the RDR can propagate its views or actively help the RDR spread its racist and genocidal ideology.

In Jean Kambanda’s testimony to the ICTR investigators, as quoted above, he also stated that the RDR had managed to bypass the media and diplomatic embargo that all génocidaires deserve and blamed the international community for playing a crucial role in giving undue credibility to the RDR. “As soon as this organization was formed, everything was done for people to believe and hope that the return was imminent. And I think the international community played an important role by giving exaggerated attention to this organization.

They received so much attention from the international radio stations that the population in the camps couldn’t help having confidence in them although in reality it was just hot air.”[75]

From available documents, the RDR and the FAR pursued what they called “Redynamisation de la campagne médiatique” or “reinvigoration of the media landscape.” In a confidential communication, from Chris Nzabandora who was RDR’s commissioner for information, based in Nairobi, to the FAR’s commander, Gen. Bizimungu, whose code name at that time was “Kamanda Yves,” it was recommended that they target the BBC Swahili service and the English and Kinyarwanda services of the BBC and Voice of America (VOA), , suggesting direct contact with BBC and VOA producers of their choice.[76]

The document, which was edited by the FAR’s chief of intelligence, Lt. Col. Bahufite (code named Maneno Sother)[77], established the RDR’s policy on media:

“In light of the step already taken and our experience so far, the new components of the media policy should aim for the following objectives: To maintain the media offensive to prevent the extension of the embargo into the media sector; To change the image of the génocidaire who continues to move among the hutu refugees; To train the refugees politically by disseminating the appropriate information; To make known the truth about the Rwandan drama; To make the population in the interior adhere to our cause; To counter RPF propaganda; To guide the international community toward supporting our cause.”[78]

In light of Kambanda’s comments and the unearthing of the RDR’s media policy, international press agencies must be on high alert to avoid giving the RDR and other genocide deniers a platform from which to propagate their abhorrent views.

Accountability for Genocide Launderers.

If we are serious about preventing genocide recurring in Rwanda and elsewhere through universal solidarity, preserving the memory of the genocide and fighting genocide denial, we must confront some crucial issues. Paramount among post-genocide concerns is to bring to account organisations of genocide launderers like the RDR. Banning such organisations, and punishing their members who propagate heinous genocide ideology, is vital to making calls for “Never Again” a reality. Direct action to deal with organisations like the RDR requires the political will of host countries such as Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada. Without these countries’ willingness to counter genocide denial and revisionism within their own territories, such crimes will continue to afflict all of humanity.

In 2004, four Dutch organisations, CORDAID, ICCO, KERKINACTIE and NOVIB, published a report, in which they advocate for an “inter-Rwandan dialogue” between the Government of Rwanda and what they call “a coalition of most important Rwandan political groups in exile.”[79]

An umbrella body of the majority of these groups is Concertation Permanente de l’Opposition Democratique Rwandaise (or the Permanent Consultation of Rwandan Democratic Opposition [CPODR]).[80]

The report vehemently criticises the Rwandan government for refusing this dialogue and donor countries for not pressuring the government to speak to the exiled groups. In the report, the authors acknowledge that some of the so-called Rwandan “opposition groups” currently based in the DRC have “génocidaires in their midst with whom some political exile groups might have links.”[81]

The grand wish of these monitoring organisations is to produce from groups such as the RDR “born-again” génocidaires, whose eligibility for inclusion in the dialogue with the government is their co-operation with the ICTR and condemnation of the “genocide and its ideology.”[82]

Conclusion

Violent words can injure as much as, often more than, physical assault. Genocide scholar Israel Charny highlights this when he argues:

Denials of known events of genocide must be treated as acts of bitter and malevolent psychological aggression, certainly against the victims, but really against all of human society, for such denials literally celebrate genocidal violence and in the process suggestively call for renewed massacres—of the same people or of others. …Such denials also madden, insult and humiliate the survivors, the relatives of the dead, and the entire people who are the surviving victims, and are, without doubt, continuing manifestations of the kinds of dehumanisation and disentitlement that we know are the basic psychological substrates that make genocide possible to begin with. The deniers also are attacking the fundamental foundations of civilization, namely the standards of evidence, fairness and justice, by flagrantly altering the historical record. Indeed, the deniers always engage in a totalitarian overpowering of the knowledge process, fully intending to subjugate the integrity of human history, memory, scholarships, and communication to their demagogy and tyranny.[83]

Much of Europe is acutely aware of the dangers of genocide denial and alert to the need to ensure that what happened to their continent during Hitler’s Third Reich is never repeated. As a result, it is illegal to form a Nazi party in Germany. Denying the holocaust is a punishable crime in both France and Germany. The same is not true in the case of Rwandan deniers of the Tutsi genocide such as members of the RDR, who are not punished but, instead, often treated in the international media and elsewhere as legitimate political voices.

As the current situation in Darfur shows, genocide in Africa is still occurring. The evil of Rwanda in 1994 is repeating because genocide, its nature and causes, are still not yet fully understood and are obscured by the continuing denial of past atrocities. Genocide denial is simply a continuation of the original crime. Roger Smith correctly observes that “denial of genocide is the universal strategy of perpetrators. Those who initiate or otherwise participate in genocide typically deny the events took place, that they bear any responsibility for the destruction, or that the term ‘genocide’ is applicable to what occurred. Denial, unchecked, turns politically imposed death into a ‘non-event’:

In the place of words of recognition, indignation, and compassion, there is, with time, only silence.”[84] We should expect, therefore, that génocidaires will find ever-creative ways to deny their crimes. We must formulate determined and systematic counters to this denial, lest it encourage future perpetrators to commit similar crimes. On 3 December 2003, the ICTR sentenced three defendants, including Dr. Ferdinand Nahimana, a famous Rwandan historian, in what has become known as “the media Trial,” the first time anywhere in the world that journalists have been tried for genocide. In the early 1990s, Nahimana was the Director of Rwanda’s National Office of Information (ORINFOR) and later the director of RTLM. In her judgement read in public, the South African judge,

Navanethem Pillay, said:Fully aware of the power of words, [Nahimana] used the radio — the medium of communication with the widest public reach — to disseminate hatred and violence. … motivated by his sense of patriotism and the need he perceived for equity for the Hutu population. But instead of following legitimate avenues of recourse, he chose a path of genocide. In doing so, he betrayed the trust placed in him as an intellectual and a leader. Without a firearm, machete or any physical weapon, he caused the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.[85]

Words can heal but also kill. Mass media has an immeasurable ability to shape public opinion. Bolstering peace in the Great lakes region means involving the media in countering genocide denial and revisionism. A more ethical use of the media can counterbalance the negative effects and help respond to the damage caused by hate messages, used initially by the orchestrators of the genocide and since by groups like the RDR. Genocide launderers—and those who support them—must be held accountable for their assault on historical truth, which perpetuates the heinous crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994.

If we fail to counter genocide denial and damaging revisionism, such as those spread by the RDR, we stand by and watch while the seeds of future genocides are planted.

[1] The “Declaration of Support to the ‘RDR’ by the Rwandan Armed Forces.”

 

[2] Cited in the Declaration of the High Command of the Rwandan Armed Forces after its meeting of 28 to 29 April 1995, Bukavu. The document is in author’s archives.

[3] The document carries the title: «SUR LES TRACES DU RASSEMBLEMENT POUR LE RETOUR DES RÉFUGIÉS ET LA DÉMOCRATIE AU RWANDA» on www.rdrwanda.org/english/historical_background/

[4] The first president of the RDR was Francois Nzabahimana, minister of Commerce in Habyarimana’s government from 1991 to 1992.

[5] Ndereyehe Charles Ntahontuye, who was the founding member of the RDR, and at one time its President, was the head of an extremist think-tank, Cercle des Républicains Progressistes (CRP). From CRP minutes in the author’s possession, it is clear that the CRP was instrumental in the creation of the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR).

[6] USAID, Rwanda Roundtable Conference – June 20-21, 1996 Geneva.

[7] Ibid. Kambanda’s testimony

[8] Ibid

[9] ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] The report prepared and published in Bukavu-Zaire, by ‘Charles Nkuruziza Group’ has a title “Les aspects essentiels du problème rwandais” (Essential Aspects of the Rwandan Problem) for the so-called ministry of Justice of the Rwandan Government in Exile.

[13] Groupe Albert Basomingera, “A propos du rapport final de la commission des experts du conseil de sécurité des Nations unies pour le Rwanda: Conclusions au génocide au prix d’une mise à l’écart de certains faits, d’altération d’autres et d’interprétation tendancieuse,” also for the so-called ministry of Justice of the Rwandan Government in Exile, Bukavu-Zaire, April 1995.

[14] Ibid

[15] Ibid

[16] ibid

[17] See “Cyangugu Trial: Prosecutor Challenges Former minister’s Credibility” (Internews, 29 May 2002.)

[18] Ibid

[19] See “Cyangugu Trial Adjourned to July” (Fondation hirondelle, News Agency 29 May, 2002)

[20] Ibid

[21]RDR Press Release No. 6 of May 24, 1995 See:http://www.rdrwanda.org/english/press_releases/RDR/24_may_1995.html

[22] “RDR Political Platform” published in Paris, on August 23, 1998 is available on www.rdrwanda.org

[23] Ibid

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] Ibid

[27] RDR political platform.

[28] RDR, “memorandum to the heads of State, heads of Delegations and mediators participating in a Regional Conference on the Great lakes Region”, [location?]: RDR, November 21, 1995. The document is also available onhttp://www.rdrwanda.org/english/documents/RDR/Document_21_November_1995.htm

[29] Ibid.; RDR Political Platform.

[30] RDR Document, Rwandese crisis: The other side of the story -July 1996http://www.rdrwanda.org/english/documents/RDR/RWACRISIS071996.html

[31] Ibid

[32] This is found in most publications of the RDR. For example, in their memorandum to President Blaise Compaore‚ President of the Republic of Burkina Faso as the “Current Chairman of the OAU” and copied to heads of State and Government of OAU member states. On their “Appeal to the OAU to restore peace and security in Rwanda” the word “tragedy” is used several times to cover-up genocide. (Published in Brussels May 21, 1998)

[33] RDR Basic Principles

[34] RDR Press Release No. 32

[35] Ibid

[36] Ibid

[37] RDR Political Platform

[38] The document, simply titled “RDR Political Platform” published in Paris, on August 23, 1998 is available onwww.rdrwanda.org

[39] Ibid

[40] Press Release nº 97 has the title “Tutsi internationalism throwing the great lakes region into an unprecedented chaos,” 22 October 1996

[41] Press Release No 6. Also see Rwandese Crisis: The Other Side of the Story (July 1996)

[42] Ibid

[43] Ibid

[44] RDR Political platform

[45] RDR Press Release No.6, 24 May 1995

[46] Ibid

[47] Ibid

[48] RDR Press Release No. 11, 1 July 1995

[49] Ibid

[50] Ibid

[51] Ibid

[52] RDR Political Platform

[53] RDR Press Release No. 67, 17 April 1996

[54] Ibid

[55] Ibid

[56] Press Release No. 6

[57] Ibid

[58] Ibid

[59] Press Release Nº 97

[60] The document was published on 17 August 1997

[61] Press Release Nº 97.

[62] Compte-rendu de la réunion Operations du 25 Avril 96 (Bukavu-Zaire) Participants: Gen Bde Kabiligi Gratien Comd 2nd FAR ; Lt. Col Ruhorahoza J. Bosco (G3 1 Div); Capt. Ntirugiribambe J. C. (Offr G2 1 Div); Maj. Majyambere Léopold (Offr G3 1 Div); Lt. Malizamunda Juvénal (Offr G3 1 Div & Sec. to the meeting) ; Maj. Rwabukwisi Alexis (Comd 13 Bde) ; Capt. Nsanzabera Elie  (Comd 136 Bn);  Lt. Baziruwiha Frédéric (Comd 134 Bn)  ; Lt. Turatsinze Victor (Comd Bn kagoma); Lt. Maniraguha Damien (Comd Bn Vautour); Capt. Harelimana Gérase (Comd 132 Bn); Lt. Habyarimana Joseph (Comd 133 Bn); Lt. Ndangamira (S3 13 Bde) (In the Author’s Archive). [Author’s translation]

[63] The editorial of Kangura No 4 p. 2 It was published in Kigali in November 1990 (no date)

[64] “Toute la vérité sur la guerre d’Octobre 1990 au Rwanda”, pg 5.

[65] Interahamwe belonged to MRND, while Impuzamugambi belonged to CDR. Both groups had the same ideological goal of committing genocide against Tutsi.

[66] CDR’s Party Press Release of 25 February 1993 (Author’s archive) The press release has a title: “RPF unveils Its True Colour.”

[67] The press release has a title: “RPF unveils Its True Colour.”

[68] One good example is a threat issued in the extremist paper, Kangura, in the Ten Hutu Commandments. The tenth Commandment read in part “…the Hutu Ideology must be taught to every muhutu at every level. Every Hutu must spread this ideology widely. Any muhutu who persecutes his brother muhutu for having read, spread and taught this ideology is a traitor.” See Kangura No 6 pg. 8, of December 1990.

[69] The International Response to Conflict and Genocide: Lessons from the Rwanda Experience. Published by the Danish Foreign Ministry, March 1996

[70]‘UN spokesman reports fighting in Kigali and Ruhengeri.’ AFP News Agency, Paris, May 6,

1994.

[71] French troops warned not to interfere in RPF advance on kigali. AFP News Agency, Paris,

9 April 1994

[72] Richard H. Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, (Allyn and Bacon,

1999, 2002), p. 269

[73] Ibid. 269

[74] Guardian, 27 October 1995

[75] Ibid.; Kambanda’s testimony.

[76] In French Nzabandora and Bizimungu agree: «  Le service Swahili de BBC, les services anglais de BBC et VOA, ainsi que le service Kinyarwanda de VOA et BBC doivent être exploités et des contacts directs avec les producteurs sont recommandés.  » Document available in the author’s archives.

[77] For example, the military chief of intelligence in his memo of October 3, 1996, proposes Page 4 en haut, le point 7 a été oublié et c’est “Amener la Communauté Internationale à soutenir notre cause”. Page 5 en bas, les points c) à g) ont été sautées: c) Inventaire des potentialités existantes; d) Exploitation intensive de l’E-mail; e) maintenir et améliorer les relations avec les agences; f) mener une offensive aggressive envers le FPR et ses sponsors; g) mener par priorité une offensive médiatique envers l’opinion tanzanienne”.

[78] bid. [author’s translation]

[79] Rwanda monitoring Project Report March 2004

[80] RDR is the member of this organisation (CPODR). The suggestion by these NGOs that these organisations were important members of opposition, was not their original idea, but from a network of deniers, based in Spain. See for example where RDR is referred to as “the world’s foremost organisation of Rwandan exiles” in “The reasons for an acceptance” Juan Carrero Foundation S’Olivar Estellencs (mallorca) 08 march 1999; also “Action for peace and human rights at the Africa of the Great lakes” Palma, July 1, 1999available on http://www.pangea.org/olivar; also in messages and letters of Support to the Candidature of Juan Carrero Saralegui for the Nobel Peace Prize of the year 2000 by Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize 2000 for Juan Carrero Saralegui-mallorca (Spain) July 2000. For more information visit the website of the RDR or one of their links “Inshuti”with their genocide laundering websitehttp://www2.minorisa.es/inshuti/

[81] Rwanda monitoring Project Report.

[82] Ibid

[83] The Psychological Satisfaction of Denials of the holocaust or Other Genocides by Non-Extremists or Bigots, and Even by known Scholars, a paper Presented to a Conference in New york, April 1995, on “Genocide and holocaust: Armenian and Jewish Perspectives.” It is available on www.ideajournal.org

[84] R. Smith, “The Armenian Genocide: memory, Politics and the Future.”(1992) In the Armenian Genocide: Memory, Politics, Ethics, edited by Richard G. Hovanissian, New York: St. martin’s Press, 8

[85] Read in the summary of Judgement and Sentence of “The Prosecutor v. Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza Hassan Ngeze” Case No. ICTR-99-52-T

 

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**Originally published in Phil Clark & Zachary Kaufman, eds., After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond, Oxford-Hurst 2008; (pp 125-144)

One thought on “Genocide-Laundering: Historical Revisionism, Genocide Denial And The Role Of The RDR

  1. Pingback: Some BBC Reporters are Virulent Genocide Deniers and Admirers of Perpetrators | umuvugizi

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