(Photo by Daily Maverick)
By Simon Allison
He might not be a president, but Rwandan spy chief Karenzi Karake is still a very big fish. His arrest in London, on a Spanish warrant, could precipitate another crisis for international justice. A word of gratuitous advice for the British authorities: This one’s delicate! Handle with care.
Another day, another crisis for international justice.
First it was the arrival of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on South African soil, and South Africa’s ensuing failure to arrest him – defying both the International Criminal Court and South Africa’s own judiciary in the process.
Then it was the arrest in Germany of Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour, detained at the airport in Berlin at the request of the Egyptian government. Egypt had convicted Mansour in absentia for allegedly torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, and sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment. On Sunday, Mansour was released without charge, with the Germans citing diplomatic, legal and political concerns that could not be ignored (presumably, these have something to do with the Egyptian military regime’s notorious lack of respect for the judicial process, especially when it comes to journalists).
Finally, news broke on Tuesday that Rwandan spy chief Lieutenant-General Emmanual Karenzi Karake, head of the notorious National Intelligence and Security Services, had beenarrested in the United Kingdom while trying to depart from Heathrow. Karake is one of 40 Rwandans indicted by a Spanish judge in 2008 for allegedly ordering revenge massacres in the wake of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. If the process gets that far, it will be to Spain that Karake is extradited.
The three cases represent three very different facets of international justice. Bashir’s is an example of the top-down approach, where an international body investigates and prosecutes international crimes; Mansour’s is an example of the national approach, where bilateral agreements and coordinating bodies like Interpol help countries enforce their national laws in other jurisdictions; and Karake’s is an example of universal jurisdiction in action.
“The term ‘universal jurisdiction’ refers to the idea that a national court may prosecute individuals for any serious crime against international law — such as crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and torture — based on the principle that such crimes harm the international community or international order itself, which individual States may act to protect,” explains the International Justice Resource Centre.
The majority of states (163 of the 193 UN member states, according to Amnesty International) provide for some kind of universal jurisdiction, but few exercise it. Spain is a notable exception. Spain has actively prosecuted international crimes committed in faraway jurisdictions such as Argentina, El Salvador and Guatemala – and, of course, Rwanda.
Karake’s arrest is a major test of universal jurisdiction in action, and there are enough allegations surrounding him to suggest that he should have his day in court. As well as the charges relating to the post-Rwandan genocide massacres, Karake is implicated in the killing of hundreds of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo during fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan forces.
(Coincidentally, given the current comparisons with Bashir, Karake was appointed in 2007 to head the African Union/United Nations hybrid mission in Darfur, with strong backing from the US and UK. Bashir, of course, is wanted by the ICC on charges of committing genocide in Darfur).
Although the legal case for Britain to extradite Karake to Spain is solid, there are political considerations that might get in the way.
Karenzi Karake in London, on Rwanda Day. (Photo byJambo News)
The most significant is the close relationship between Britain and the Rwandan government. Rwanda is a major destination for British aid, and President Paul Kagame is advised by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Already, Rwanda is putting on heavy diplomatic pressure to secure Karake’s release, with its ambassador the UK describing the arrest as “an insult”. But the British government won’t be able to ignore its courts in the South African manner. Should Karake’s arrest warrant be in order, and all procedures properly followed, it’s going to be difficult to prevent his extradition.
Which begs the question: why was Karake detained in the first place? According to media reports, Karake has made several trips to Britain since 2008, and he has been permitted to leave each time. This implies either that something has changed – most likely, that the furore around Bashir’s non-arrest forced Britain’s hand – or that some border official was a little over-zealous in the execution of his duties, and now it’s too late for anyone to turn a blind eye.
Another factor that the politicians will be considering is the ramifications that extraditing Karake will have on the already strained relations between the African continent and international justice. It will be a public relations coup for African leaders looking for further justification that they are being unfairly targeted by the West. While there are sound reasons for the German court to have released Mansour, and for a British court to extradite Karake, these decisions could just as easily be portrayed as western judiciaries choosing to enforce western arrest warrants (in the case of Spain and Karake) while refusing to enforce African justice (in the case of Egypt and Mansour).
Britain, in other words, is in an extremely delicate position. If it does go ahead with extradition proceedings, and eventually extradite Karake to Spain, it risks angering an important ally and alienating a continent – while giving self-interested leaders more fuel for their claims of western bias in international justice. If it doesn’t, it will have to defy its own rule of law, potentially dealing a crippling blow to the concept of universal jurisdiction in the process. It’s a legal and political minefield, complicated by a diplomatic storm that shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. No one ever said international justice was easy.
… it’s been a long time I haven’t posted anything. Here I am. First of all giving my greates honours to Samuel Mugisha, the King of the thousand moutains.
Growing up, Samuel dreamed of being a part of the Rwandan national cycling team, Team Rwanda, as he believed it would be a way to help make money for his family. What he discovered was something else entirely. In a country trying to get over the trauma of a genocide, Team Rwanda represents a lot more than sport. It represented hope.
THE NEW TIMES
06. August 2013
by Edwin MUSONI
ICTR detainee Bernard Munyagishari handed over to Rwanda police. Photo: John Mbanda/ The New Times
The trial of Genocide suspect Bernard Munyagishari got underway yesterday at the Nyarugunga Primary Court, in Kigali, with the suspect refusing to speak in Kinyarwanda and a defence lawyer rejected. Prosecution kicked off the opening by informing Munyagishari of the multiple charges he faces.
They include, planning and organising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the crime of genocide, conspiracy in the crime of Genocide, rape and murder as a crime against humanity. Prosecutor Ndimbwami Rugambwa, was however, obliged to prove to court that Munyagishari understands Kinyarwanda and also prove why he had to defend himself in Kinyarwanda.
“Munyagishari was born and raised in Rwanda, he studied in Rwanda and also taught in Kinyarwanda. Between 1981 and 1982 he was tried in Ruhengeri courts over allegations of having sex with an underage girl and the whole verbatim of this trial is in Kinyarwanda so he should speak in Kinyarwanda,” said Rugambwa. The prosecutor requested court to remand the suspect for 30 days as he prepared his case.
As Rugambwa concluded his submissions, presiding Judge Felix Ndahigwa ordered Munyagishari to speak in Kinyarwanda but he remained adamant, only staring at the judge like he didn’t understand what was going on. Munyagishari later told court that he was given a letter by the prosecution asking him to appear in court but never received any summons.
When his lawyer Donatien Mucyo attempted to address the court, Munyagishari interrupted him, saying he didn’t represent him. “So I won’t say anything before this court. And, I don’t have a lawyer so no one should,” he said in French.
Transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on July 24, Munyagishari, claimed that Nyarugunga Primary Court had no jurisdiction to try him since he was never summoned by that court. Judge Ndahigwa will today announce the court decision on the prosecution request.
It is understood that during the interrogations, Munyagishari claimed that he was arrested because of mistaken identity and that he is a Congolese national. He, however, did not bring up this issue in court yesterday.
Munyagishari was arrested in May 2011 in DR Congo, following an arrest warrant issued by the ICTR. During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the 53-year old was general secretary of the then ruling party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), in Gisenyi prefecture and president of the Interahamwe militia.
The Indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda
Prosecutor against Bernard Munyagishari : Indictment of MUNYAGISHARI Bernard (ICTR-05-89) (pdf.)
ICTR Transfers Last Detainee to Rwanda (The New Times, 25. July 2013)
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday transferred to Rwanda Genocide suspect Bernard Munyagishari from its custody in Arusha, Tanzania.
The former head of the genocidal party MRND in former Gisenyi prefecture, was in pre-trial detention and his transfer is part of the court’s completion strategy. He was the last suspect in the custody of the UN-backed court.[read article]
If someone were looking for simple and effective means to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, wrote the US-American journalist Philip Gourevitch, the radio station “Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines” (RTLM) would have been a good place to start.
Photo: gogo power
In the months of April, May and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 of its Tutsi minority and thousands of moderate Hutus were killed in only 100 days. The tools used to humiliate and kill people of all ages and genders were simple: machetes, sticks, and a few guns. Indeed, the most powerful instrument of the genocide was the “Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines” (RTLM).
With unspeakable cynicism, the staff of the popular station had been preparing the genocide like an election campaign for months. The program consisted of pop music, riveting sports coverage, political communiqués, and remarkably hateful calls to murder. The newest Congolese music and the most aggressive racial analyses were combined into a dreary few square meter laboratory of racist ideology.
HATE RADIO is a project launched by the International Institute of Political Murder (IIPM). In its artistic reenactments, the IIPM pays utmost attention to factual accuracy of an RTLM show. Extensive archival research and interviews with witnesses and survivors provide the foundation upon which the institute develops its projects. Run by its hosts : Three Hutu extremists and the white Italian-Belgian Georges Ruggiu, HATE RADIO returns RTLM to the airways in a reconstructed backdrop that remains faithful to the original survivors of the genocide are standing on stage.
With this approach the project shows how racism functions, how human beings are “talked out of” their humanity an instillation reconstructed from documents and witness statements provides the answers to these questions so that people can feel and experience these happenings for themselves.
An extensive volume of material, and various events accompanying the exhibit, help to expand HATE RADIO into a broad, interdisciplinary intervention examining the current forms and manifestations of racist violence in Europe and Africa, as well as the ability to represent racist violence as a work of art.
See Press Kit: Press-Kit_Hate-Radio_11_08_02
The International Institute of Political Murder was founded at the end of 2007 by writer and director Milo Rau, to strengthen exchange between theater, the fine arts, film and research about reenactment – the reproduction of historical events – as well as to reflect upon the theoretical aspects of this exchange.
The previous productions of IIPM, which were shown at numerous theaters in Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Africa, Austria, the USA and Romania, met international response and represent a new, documentary and aesthetic compressed form of political art.
The IIPM has its Headquarters in Switzerland and Germany.
For more information about the institute like project, lectures etc., please visit the site:
Upcoming Performances of HATE RADIO:
18 May 2013, Halle Kalk Köln (Germany) Sommerblut
23 May 2013, CaféTeatret Kopenhagen (Denmark) Cafeteatret
Sources: IIPM, gogo power
Today Rwanda has two days commemorating the Genocide. It is the 7th of April marking the start and 4th of July marking the end, the Liberation day. However this weekend two groups commemorated, one on the 6th and one on the 7th in Brussels, Belgium.
Rwandan commemorating in front of memorial. Photo: cliir.org
The commemoration of the 6th was organized by CLIIR– coordinator and activist Joseph Matata and his group.
A crowd of approximately 30 people gathered at Montgomery and marched together to the memorial dedicated to the victims of the Genocide 1994 where then prayers were held and poems* were read.
Before reaching the memorial, Mr. Matata was stopped by the Belgian police and advised to hold back his group of continuing as the mayor of Woluwe St. Pierre, Mr. Benoît Cerexhe had previously prohibited the assembly, due to the ban of commemorations on the 6th of April set in 2007, claiming that the authorization of such commemoration has been prone to cause incidents that have had consequences on the relations between Belgium and Rwanda, particularly those between the municipality of Woluwé-Saint-Pierre and the district of Kamonyi, sector of Musambira ’’. As the coordinator explained that the group was peaceful and that the march was not politically motivated the police finally let the crowd continue and followed them to the memorial.
Be that as it may, accused of desecration, Benoît Cerexhe had to comment the non-intervention of the police and justified it by saying:
“As a mayor I had forbidden the manifestation of the “commission against the impunity and injustice in Rwanda (CLIIR)” that was supposed to take part the day before the commemoration, but to prevent damages the police decided not to interfere.”
The commemoration ceremony of the Embassy started the with tree opening speeches held by the Ambassador of Rwanda Mr. Robert Masozera, the representative of the Belgian Government and Ibuka Chairman. The greetings were followed by a moving testimony and a speech of the Founder of Souvien toi le 7avril*. The morning ended with a minute of silence for all victims of the genocide against the Tutsi.
For the afternoon the Embassy had invited the ACP* Secretary General, HON. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni who declared:
“It is important that we continue to commemorate this day in order not to forget one of the most heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated by one group of people against another.
As we take time out to commemorate this day, we honour the lives of the nearly one million people who were senselessly murdered, and the many more who survived with painful physical and psychological scars they carry to this day.
This terrible tragedy occurred 19 years ago, but its effects are still being felt today by its survivors. The ramifications are still evident in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa.”
“NEVER AGAIN, I say! For this to become a reality, we must resolutely attack the root causes of the genocide, namely hatred, intolerance, racism, fundamentalism and tyranny, as well as poverty and exclusion. I call on all States, therefore, to remain mobilized and to strengthen cooperation so as to meet the challenges and eradicate these scourges that can serve as weapons of mass destruction.”
The afternoon program ended after a movie on the genocide was played and the attendees had the opportunity to make comments and ask questions.
The memorial march organized by IBUKA started at 7pm. at the “Place Royale” where around a hundred of people were gathered and walked together to the “Palais de Justice”, where a last memorial speech was held.
The mourning night itself was opened by a speech of IBUKA President Eric Didier Rutayisire and followed by a testimony of a survivor of the Genocide against the Tutsi. After exchanging solidarity messages, the night ended with songs, prayers and poems for all victims.
Why the 6th and not the 7th?
At first it seems as the division finds its roots in a terminological inexactitude.
If Matata’s group chose the 6th it’s because the Government of Rwanda officialized the label “Genocide against the Tutsi” instead of “Rwanda Genocide”. Matata explains that this would exclude Hutu other non-Tutsi victims from the official annual commemoration that now only talks about the Tutsi casualties, even though there were obviously thousands of non-Tutsi victims.
‘’The 7th of April is not a date chosen by the Tutsi, it is a date that has been imposed by the President. Kagame could not choose April 6th, because on April 6th he is accused of the crime committed against the head of states Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira. April 6th scares Kagame. There is no neutral date, one has got to choose the right date. The date on which the chaos was created must be chosen, that is to say on April 6th.’’ Matata on Jambonews
So instead, they seeking justice in organising their own marches of peace and commemoration services, one being notably the 6th and not the 7th of April, because to them, April 6 is the day that marked the beginning of the mass slaughters as then Rwandan President Habyarimana and Burundian President Ntaryamira were killed in the shooting down of their plane.
Obviously the problem is that the one commemorating on the 6th think that the current regime of President Kagame tries to cover the real implicity of those responsible by continuing to advocate that the shooting down of the presidential plane on April 6th, 1994 which carried the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, did not have any relation with the tragedy which unfolded immediately.
Comments like the one of the Rwandan Ambassador, in The Netherlands, Immaculée Uwanyiligira at a commemoration conference saying that the non-Tutsi victims were not caused by the Genocide, but that they were caused due cross fighting of the Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF) and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), only subsists the irritation and division.
…that the assassination of Habyarimana’s and Ntaryamira’s airplane was a catalyst for the Genocide 1994, but curiously the responsibility is still a matter of contention, with both Hutu extremists and the Rwandan Patriotic Front under suspicion.
…that the Genocide 1994 was the apex of a three year Civil war between the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the national Government, that started 1990.
…that the Genocide was prepared and organized by the mainly Hutu-led government of Habyarimana, the local military and the Akazu at that time, with strong implicitly of France and other countries as a reaction to the Habyarimana’s signature of the Arusha Agreements in Tanzania 1993, that intended a sharing of power between the rebels and the Rwandan government. Hutu racial nationalists felt doubled by their President, as they continued to be strongly opposed to sharing power with the former insurgency and to the Agreement, which called for them to lose control of the army and the government without compensation.
…that the Genocide propaganda was supported by state controlled mass media which triggered daily the killings of Tutsis or any kind of “traitors” and “Tutsi-collaborators”. A few days before the assasination of the presidential airplane, warning messages were diffused on the national radio, claiming that something will happen in Kigali around the 7. or 8. of April!
Can we agree to disagree and at least commemorate together?
If the Rwandan government chose the label « The Genocide against the Tutsi » so it’s to accentuate that, as cruel, as it sounds Tutsi were the main target group of this Genocide. And even if there might be various types of victimhood during the Genocide, there was a clear aim there, and this was to have a pure Hutu nation. That is important and significant to remember, as it is brutal and hateful!
Were all Rwandan, Tutsi, Hutu or Twa aware of this atrocious idea of the national government? Of course not! In 1994 Rwanda’s population was estimated to about a number of 10’950 000 and a great bunch of them were totally indifferent towards their ethnical origins, as all they felt and needed to know is that they are Rwandan.
As the human history shows, a war hits the ones, who know the less. But still, we (as the Rwandan people) are all responsable for what happened and by claiming ignorance towards what was going on we just make it worse.
500’000-1’000’000 people Tustsi, Hutus + Twas, 20% of the nation, were killed. A Genocide led by a few hundred politicians, nationalists and extremists, witnessed and ignored by the UN and other Nations.
Some think President’s Kagame regime is going the right way now, as Rwanda strives for self reliance and independence. Some think that we haven’t learned anything and Rwanda’s current government is a threat to justice.
Whoever is right, at least we had 19 years of peace…
Maybe we should just agree to disagree.
Mr. Matata, himself said:
“With all the elements that we now have, can we agree on one date to commemorate all our dead together?”
The New Times, 11.04.2013
Rwanda: UN Admits Failure in 1994 Genocide, Pledges Support
The United Nations has pledged to unreservedly support Rwanda’s road towards development, self-reliance, and peace after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, despite the organisation’s poor response during the Genocide...read all
Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire has been sentenced to eight years in prison by the Rwandan High Court, according to local journalists in Kigali.
This is seen as a relatively mild sentence as the prosecutor was demanding life imprisonment. Ingabire’s British lawyer Iain Edwards said she will lodge an appeal.
Ingabire, the president of UDF-Inkingi, has been found guilty of treason and genocide denial. She was convicted of financing a terrorist group, the FDLR rebels in eastern DRC, but cleared on several other charges.
What her daughter has to say
The verdict has clearly been influenced by the international pressure on the Rwandan government, says Ingabire’s daughter Raissa.
“Without that, my mother’s situation would be worse, much worse,” she says. Raissa, who lives and goes to school in the Netherlands, is not happy with the eight-year sentence and continues to insist her mother is innocent.
In Rwanda, the vice-president of UDF-Inkingi, Boniface Twagirimana, is not satisfied either. Ingabire deserves to be a free woman, he says. “Just like all political opponents in this country who have been accused of similar crimes,” he notes.
President of Rwanda
After spending years in exile in the Netherlands, Ingabire, who is part of the Hutu community, returned to Rwanda with the intention of running in the 2010 presidential elections. When she arrived in Kigali, as chairman of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF), she called for the prosecution of those responsible for crimes against Hutus. Shortly after making her statement, she was placed under house arrest. Meanwhile, incumbent President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi and leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was re-elected.
Ingabire was arrested in her Kigali home on 14 October 2010 for allegedly collaborating with a terrorist organization, dividing the people of Rwanda and denying the 1994 genocide, during which an estimated 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over a roughly 100-day period.
Detained in a prison in the Rwandan capital, Ingabire had boycotted her trial since April of this year. The opposition leader and her supporters accuse Kagame of trying to eliminate all political opponents.
Human rights activists and foreign politicians have expressed doubts as to whether Ingabire was given a fair trial. Rwandan minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama told RNW: “It’s after the trial that we should be able to say whether it was fair or transparent.”
Dutch MPs have also repeatedly raised questions about the rule of law in Rwanda.
Dutch authorities have assisted the Rwandan government several times by authorizing searches of her home near Rotterdam and dispatching documents to be used in evidence at the trial in Kigali. Rwanda and the Netherlands have a judicial assistance agreement.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in documents published in 2011, wrote that it had no reason to doubt that Ingabire was being given a fair trial. “There is no clear and solid ground to reject Rwanda’s request for assistance in the trial of Victoire Ingabire,” wrote the Ministry.
Source: 30.10.12, Radio Netherlands Wordwide, allAfrica.com
United States authorities Wednesday handed over to Rwandan police a woman convicted in absentia by a gacaca court for her role in the 1994 genocide.
Marie-Claire Mukeshimana,43, arrived at Kigali international airport on Wednesday. She was sentenced to 19 years in jail in 2009 for “complicity in the killing of several children who had sought refuge at a convent in Save (Southern Rwanda)”.
After working for World Vision in Kigali until 2005, she had left the country. According to US officials, she tried to enter the country in 2010 at Detroit airport. However, she was denied entry and remained in custody since then.
Mukeshimana is the second Rwandan genocide convict to be returned to Kigali this year by US authorities.
The first one, Jean Marie Vianney Mudaheranwa, was brought back in January.
Source: allafrica.com, Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne)