Our ref: 009/OP.F 03/14
His Excellency Ban Ki Moon
The United Nations
1, United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
March 20th, 2014
Subject: Rwandan Opposition Party ISANGANO requests for the establishment an independent commission for investigation on kidnappings, attempted murders and assassinations targeting Rwandan refugees, journalists, and opposition politicians both in Rwanda and abroad.
Excellency Mr. Secretary General,
Due to continuing serious threats posed by the Rwandan government on Rwandan exiles living in Africa, North America, Australia, and Europe, ISANGANO one of the Rwandan Opposition Parties operating outside and inside Rwanda would like to address you this letter to bring to the attention of the UNSC the recurrence of mass killings of Rwandans both in Rwanda and abroad. As a matter of fact, Rwandan opposition political leaders, journalists, and human rights activists anywhere on Earth are in danger of being killed by secret killing squads sent by the current Kigali regime.
It is indeed in the same context that the leadership of ISANGANO Political Party and many Rwandans thirsty of peace and justice in the African Great Lakes Region have been deeply shocked by the recent assassination of Col. Patrick Karegeya who was found strangled in Michelangelo Towers Hotel in Johannesburg on December 31st, 2013 and the recent attacks on the exiled Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa’s house in South Africa. Just like us, Patrick Karegeya was one of the most prominent politicians leading Rwandan opposition parties outside of Rwanda. In the light of several testimonies and especially due to the self-incriminating declarations by Rwandan officials in the aftermath of the assassination, there is no doubt that President Kagame himself continues to use his killing squads to eliminate all voices that are opposed to the RPF regime both in Rwanda and abroad.
Excellency Mr. Secretary General,
In order to understand the increase in brutality and violence of President Kagame and his inner circle of RPF extremists, allow us to make a brief summary of crimes and mass atrocities that have been committed by the RPF and its death squads over the past 20 years in Rwanda and abroad:
1. Genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity
Since the 1990 invasion of Rwanda by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) led by Gen Paul Kagame, millions of innocent Hutu and Tutsi have been killed inside Rwanda and in the DR-Congo. KAGAME and his RPF are accused of terrorism crimes and murder of four presidents from the region, namely Juvenal HABYARIMANA (Rwanda), Cyprien NTARYAMIRA (Burundi), Melchior NDADAYE (Burundi), and Laurent Désiré KABIRA (DRC). After shooting down the plane of President Habyarimana over Kigali International Airport in Rwanda on April 6, 1994 and thus deliberately sacrificing the Tutsi inside the country, Kagame and the RPF extremists grabbed power at the expense of millions of innocent lives of the Hutu and the Tutsi. The mass killings committed by the RPF did not stop in Rwanda but were extended beyond its borders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where Kagame’s army massacred millions of innocents Hutu refugees and Congolese citizens in late 1990s. Worth recalling here is that, over the last two decades, Kagame and his inner circle of RPF extremists have been accused in several UN reports of backing several rebellion groups in the DR-Congo including the recent M23 movement but, unfortunately, to date no single RPF case has been ever brought before international justice.
2. Assassinations of prominent public figures both Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda and abroad.
Kagame’s regime continues a systematic assassination campaign aimed at eliminating his political opponents inside and outside Rwanda. The list of former government and military officials, business associates, and journalists that have been killed either in Rwanda or abroad over the last two decades has indeed become too long:
- on October 6, 1996 Col Theoneste LIZINDE and a businessman called Augustin BUGIRIMFURA were assassinated in Nairobi, Kenya;
- on May 5, 1998, the first post-genocide Interior Minister, Seth SENDASHONGA, was shot dead in Nairobi/Kenya;
- in the night of February 14-15, 1999 Pasteur MUSABE, former CEO of Rwanda African Continental Bank (BACAR) was assassinated in Yaoundé,/ Cameroon,
- on February 14, 1997 Mr Vincent NSANZABAGWANWA, former Deputy Chief Justice was assassinated inside Rwanda ;
- on March 5, 2000, Mr Assiel KABERA, former presidential advisor was gunned down in Rwanda;
- on April 7, 2003 Mr. Leonard HITIMANA, former member of Rwandan Parliament was assassinated;
- on April 23, 2003 Col. Augustin CYIZA was kidnapped and later on found dead;
- Mr Edouard MUTSINZI, former editor of “Le Messager” newspaper in Kigali, was kidnapped and beaten up and his both eyes poked out;
- on June 24, 2010 Mr Jean-Leonard RUGAMBAGE, a journalist of Umuseso Newspaper was shot dead at his gate in Kigali by agents of the Rwanda National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS)
- in June 2010, Gen. Faustin Kayumba NYAMWASA, former army chief, survived two assassination attempts in Johannesburg, South Africa;
- on July 14, 2010 Mr André Kagwa RWISEREKA, the Vice President of the Green Party, was assassinated,
- on November 30, 2011 Mr. Charles INGABIRE, a journalist of Inyenyeri Online Newspaper was murdered by Rwandan secret agents while living in exile in Kampala, Uganda;
- on October 15, 2012 Mr Theogene TURATSINZE, former Rwandan Development Board Managing Director was found floating dead and tied with ropes in a lake in Mozambique.
- on December 31, 2013 Col. Patrick KAREGEYA was strangled in Michelangelo Towers Hotel in Johannesburg
This is just to name a few and all those crimes remain unpunished.
Several victims cited above were either opposition political leaders, or potential witnesses of RPF crimes or those in possession of top secrets especially the ones detaining evidence on the shooting down of the plane that was carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, the event that trigged the genocides in Rwanda. Ever since the RPF seized power in Rwanda in 1994, all Rwandan politicians who dare challenge the Kigali dictatorial regime are running the risk of being executed soon or later. Col. Karegeya will not be the last victim on Kagame’s long list.
3. Disappearance and serious persecutions of ordinary refugees and asylum seekers
Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers are persecuted by Kagame’s regime through Rwandan embassies abroad. This has been confirmed several times by disappearances and politically motivated abductions that have been reported by both local and international human rights organizations.
Another recent obvious example of the Kigali regime campaign to silence the opposition is when on May 14, 2012, for political grounds, the Government of Rwanda revoked citizenship to 25 political opponents and their family members in exile. By cancelling their passports the government of Rwanda rendered the 25 persons stateless.
Rwandan exiles in several Western countries including the UK, Belgium, Sweden, US, etc. have been warned by local security agents of possible plan of the Government of Rwanda to kill them. For example, the information from the British police, the MI5, was delivered to Réné MUGENZI and Jonathan MUSONERA in what they called threat-to-life-warning notices to tell them that by their security was in danger because the Government of Rwanda might assassinate them.
In recent days in several refugee camps on the African continent particularly in Uganda, high crime rates targeting Rwandan refugees have been increasingly documented. For instance in recent days of three young politicians from Rwanda were kidnapped in Kampala. Disappearances, intimidation of victims by the police and camp leaders have contributed to general fear, and impunity within the refugee community. It has turned out that even the UNHCR authorities have failed to provide adequate security or physical protection within refugee camps.
The Rwandan refugees and other many Rwandan people inside Rwanda, and the families of the victims in particular are shocked that all these above-mentioned crimes REMAIN UNPUNISHED.
Mr. Secretary General,
The RPF/Kagame’s regime is both dictatorial and ethnically based. Besides killings of politicians today, several thousands of ordinary Hutu are humiliated, isolated and segregated in their own country inside Rwanda. Just to give an example, a programme called “Ndi Umunyarwanda“(I am a Rwandan) recently developed by the Kigali regime is clear evidence among many others which show that the Hutu population face a ”Silent Rwanda Apartheid”. In reality the ‘Ndi umunyarwanda‘ program is aimed at criminalizing a whole population of Hutu as ‘génocidaires’. The RPF cadres manipulate some Hutu in Kagame’s Government to accept criminal responsibility in the name of all Hutus. This resemble at some extend to humiliation that the ordinary black people were confronted in the time of Apartheid.
This regime has always been trying at all costs to intimidate everybody including heads of States who dare to challenge its evil plans in the region. For instance, the recent attitude of the Kigali government to force HE President Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania to apologize for having said that the government of Rwanda should hold talks with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Kagame, speaking out on Kikwete’s call, publically said “…I will just wait for you at the right place and hit you…”. By saying this President Kagame threatened to hit President Kikwete. Threatening a Head of state for having said a truth, is a clear evidence of injustice, brutality of Kagame regime, and a sign of nonexistence of political space in Rwanda.
Enough is enough! NOW, MAKE NO MISTAKE. The International Community should not be intimidated anymore by the Kagame’s regime. Our organisation ISANGANO believes in peaceful political solution to the Rwandan conflicts. Therefore, interventions of the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the G5 countries in UNSC, countries of the Great Lakes Region, the African Union, and the International community in general together with Rwandan opposition leaders to force the current Government of Rwanda to accept to negotiate with opposition parties are necessary. Otherwise, in order to ensure sustainable peace in our region and avoid any other tragedy such as the one the World witnessed in 1994 in Rwanda, the UNSC, the G5 and the international Community in general should oblige Kagame/RFP to peacefully step down before opposition parties use all necessary measures to gradually reduce and remove the brutality and domination of the Kagame and his RPF Party.
While waiting for a comprehensive political solution, our organisation ISANGANO wishes to humbly recommend the following measures to the UNHCR and to the UN Security Council (UNSC):
With reference to the mandate of the UNHCR to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of refugees and strive to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state;
And in accordance with international humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law such as the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, and many more national asylum legislations, the UN agencies especially the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and countries which offer protection have an international obligation and mandate to protect refugees and asylum seekers;
Members of ISANGANO opposition party and the Rwandan Refugees community abroad humbly recommend to the UNHCR to establish and ensure adequate protection of Rwanda refugees and to urge concerned countries where the crimes have been committed to take all necessary measures to bring to justice all those who threaten the life of Refugees.
We wish to reiterate our support to efforts being made by several countries to apprehend and hold to account murders of Rwandan refugees abroad. The opposition party ISANGANO wish to request the countries where Rwandan refugees have been assassinated to continue the hard work of ending impunity and to deliver justice to the victims;
ISANGANO political party calls the UNSC to take SERIOUS MEASURES on the cases of Rwandan Refugees, journalists, and opposition politicians murdered in Rwanda and abroad. In particular, the UNSC should establish an independent commission of inquiry on the killings and disappearances of Rwandan Refugees abroad and politicians and journalists inside Rwanda in order to bring the criminals before international justice.
We wish to express our high gratitude for your assistance.
Jean Marie V. MINANI
www.isanganoarrdc.org , Tel: 004915216127584
– Ambassadors of the five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council (all)
– UN High Commissioner for Refugees
– International Organization for Migration (IOM)
– High Commissioner for Human Rights
– Amnesty International
– Human Rights Watch Executive Director