The Truth is not one-sided. It is a reality made up of many aspects. One must note that the truth about the tragic events of 1994 in Rwanda is especially difficult to get the mind around. Here, nearly 16 years after they happened, and while the attack of 6 April 1994 has been universally recognized as the spark that set off the genocide, the United Nations, which was assigned to help Rwandans in the difficult search for peace, has never found it worthwhile to conduct an international investigation of this attack. After which the entire region of the African Great Lakes was turned into an enormous battlefield, where the victims are numbered in the millions.
The current document is a contribution to this search for the Truth. It is the result of the work of a collective, and only a synthesis of that group-work is presented. But this document should nonetheless allow the reader to come to a more personal understanding of the complexity of the Rwandan situation, in general, and of the intrinsic quality of the Mutsinzi Report, in particular.
If this collective endeavor is signed by only one person, that is because of concern for preserving the security of those who took part in this writing.
The different paragraphs that follow are in the order of the chapters of the Report.
Composition of â€šÃ„ÃºIndependent Committee of Expertsâ€šÃ„Ã¹
The real independence of the Committee is, to say the least, difficult to determine when one considers that its title was subject to the approval of the Chief of State, who, himself, was under official investigation by two European judges.
On the other hand, one cannot help but notice the total absence of any international-grade experts on this exclusively Rwandan Committee that, throughout its work, had to deal with technical areas well outside strictly national bounds.
It is very difficult, in such a configuration, to calm all the concerns over the real independence and expertise of this Committee. Especially when its presiding director [Mutsinzi] is a founding member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
Right away the Committee postulates that the authorities in post-genocide Rwanda had nothing to do with the attack of 6 April 1994, and that accusations to the contrary are motivated by ideology, and made by gâˆšÂ©nocidaires and their allies. It is most astonishing that an â€šÃ„Ãºindependentâ€šÃ„Ã¹ commission whose objective is, specifically, to tweeze the true from the false, would begin its work with such an a priori judgment. If this is the starting point for the Mutsinzi Committee, there is every reason to fear that all the elements of its Report will be oriented toward showing the pertinence of its postulate and not the reality of the facts.
As to the selection of witnesses, about all that can be said at this stage of the analysis of the Report is that nearly all of them were found in Rwanda. A more nuanced comment might be possible after we have looked at the quality of theses witnesses. It is mentioned that General Dallaire was contacted, unsuccessfully, to get his testimony, so it seems strange that the same effort was not made toward Mr. Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and the official head of the mission [i.e., Dallaireâ€šÃ„Ã´s boss].
In the chapter on methodology, it is stated that the Committee placed a great deal of importance on testimony drawn from officials of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR). In particular from those blue helmets assigned to Kanombe airport the night of 6 April 1994, certain of whom were working at key positions, like in the control tower. As the chief of the Kigali Sector of the UNAMIR, I can state specifically that no blue helmets were working in any capacity or were even present inside the control tower.
Political context leading up to the 6 April 1994 attack
No one is arguing that this context was anything like simple or peaceful. It would be chancy to try to present a systematic analysis of the Committeeâ€šÃ„Ã´s version of the political scene, which, in any case, winds up being a pretty feckless polemic. Letâ€šÃ„Ã´s note, after reading this part of the Report, that the Committee imputes the entire responsibility for the degradation of the political atmosphere in Rwanda to President Habyarimana and his inner circle, as well as to the hard core of politicians and military officers opposed to any form of democratization of the regime and, more specifically, to the Arusha peace deal.
In a general way, letâ€šÃ„Ã´s look at some of the evidence that might have been included in this part of the Report to make it reflect a more realistic description of the political climate of that time.
1. The four attacks carried out by the RPF (October 1990, January 1991, June 1992, February 1993) are simply passed over in silence. Is it really imaginable that this military violence had no negative effect on the relations between Hutu and Tutsi?
â€šÃ„Â¢ How can one explain the attack of June 1992, considering that since April a coalition government, led by a Prime Minister (Dismas Nsengiyaremye) from a party in opposition to President Habyarimana and his MRND, had been in place?
â€šÃ„Â¢ What should be said of the major attack of February 1993, launched in the middle of peace negotiation in Arusha?
2. Not a single word about the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, run off their hillside homes by RPF troops, who found themselves in unspeakable misery at the gates of Kigali. One wonders, could this strategy of terror conducted by the RPF have caused direct blowback against the Tutsis inside Rwanda?
3. The role played by Radio Rwanda and Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) in exacerbating the tensions between communities is emphasized. If it is appropriate to consider this reality, why was there not a word about Radio Muhabura (the RPFâ€šÃ„Ã´s station) nor of the equally radical discourse that it broadcast.
4. One should also consider concepts like â€šÃ„ÃºAkazu, death squads, Network Zero, and AMASASU,â€šÃ„Ã¹ presented as indisputable realities, evidence of the criminality of the ruling regime. Whether one likes it or not, the innumerable hours of recorded hearings at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) contain nothing at all that would confirm the material existence of these expressions, which over the years have come to be used as vaporous dogma.
However, the declarations of several witnesses who held no particular sympathies for the Presidentâ€šÃ„Ã´s Movement, put evidence on the record of the existence of an actual strategy directed at demonizing President Habyarimana. This strategy was aimed as much at Rwandans as it was at the International Community. An example of this is the famous letter sent to General Dallaire on 3 December 1993. It was written by so-called loyalist officers and was meant to bring Dallaire up to speed on Habyarimanaâ€šÃ„Ã´s Machiavellian plans to carry out multiple mass killings and then blame them on the RPF. In fact, Mr. Alphonse Marie Nkubito, the former Justice Minister in the first RPF government, acknowledged that this letter was a fake, written by the Opposition and typed by his own brother.
5. Having personally attended the meeting of the Crisis Committee that followed the attack, I can confirm that, contrary to what is stated in the Mutsinzi Report, the officers present were not â€šÃ„Ãºessentially extremist officers.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Far from it. Moreover, it was General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, who presided at the meeting. At the end, he pleaded with General Dallaire to convince the International Community that the Army was not trying to pull a coup dâ€šÃ„Ã´âˆšÂ©tat and that the greatest desire of the military was to hand off authority to the politicians as set forth in the Arusha Accords. As for the others present, if there had been some other purpose for that meeting than to bring an end to the emergency measures necessitated by the absence of the Head of State, neither General Dallaire nor I would have been invited to take part.
6. Last but not least, this Independent Committee of Experts should be reminded that, after 410 days of hearings held over five years and with 30,000 pages of reports, 1,600 pieces of evidence and 4,500 pages of conclusions, the Judges at the ICTR acquitted Colonel ThâˆšÂ©oneste Bagosora, for years depicted as the â€šÃ„Ãºbrains of the genocide,â€šÃ„Ã¹ along with his co-defendants, of leading an organization intent on committing genocide. This is a judicial reality that the Committee should have had to incorporate into its presentation.
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Luc Marchal – Collective for the Truth