On October 1, 2014, a remarkable event occurred in Britain. The British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC 2’s This World telecast Rwanda’s Untold Story, a documentary produced by Jane Corbin and John Conroy that offered a critical view of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and of his and the British and U.S. roles in the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda and beyond.1 Although the documentary adheres to some key longstanding falsehoods of the Anglo-American propaganda system’s treatment of the “Rwandan genocide,” above all the claim that in 1994 leaders of the country’s Hutu majority conspired to commit genocide against its Tutsi minority,2 nevertheless, we believe that the telecast of Rwanda’s Untold Story constituted a first of its kind in the reinterpretation of what really happened in Rwanda in 1994. And this is true not only for the BBC, but also for the rest of the establishment English-language television news media in Britain, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
The BBC 2’s reinterpretation works largely by providing airtime to well-informed figures conventionally marginalized within the establishment media. Accordingly,Rwanda’s Untold Story is the story that they tell and that they would have been telling for many years had they and their views not been systematically suppressed and even ridiculed and smeared by the establishment media, historians, and assorted political hacks from within the Kagame-Power Lobby.
Among these newly admitted storytellers are Theogene Rudasingwa and Kayumba Nyamwasa, former high-ranking Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) associates of Paul Kagame now forced to live in exile for opposing his rule and seeking his downfall. “The price of being able to express a view that is even mildly critical or dissenting in Rwanda, the price is very high,” Rudasingwa, Kagame’s former chief-of-staff, tells Corbin. “Those who tried, journalists, have been killed, and others imprisoned or simply banished into exile” (51:19). When Corbin asks Nyamwasa, a former top-ranking general under Kagame, whether he was “surprised there wasn’t more protests from the international community over what was happening in the Congo and Rwanda’s part in it,” Nyamwasa replies: “No. I wasn’t surprised. He’s got very powerful people who protect him” (45:50).
Another critic here given a voice is Aloys Ruyenzi, a former member of Kagame’s personal guard. Ruyenzi recounts what he heard at a meeting between Kagame and his closest staff during which Kagame gave the order to shoot down Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana’s Falcon 50 jet. Ruyenzi also states that he was in Kagame’s company when, on April 6, 1994, the news of the shoot-down arrived at the RPF’s headquarters in Mulindi, in the far north of the country. “Kagame was happy,” Ruyenzi tells Corbin. “The other commanders were happy too. From that moment, we started to move” (15:15).
Yet another critic is Carla Del Ponte, a former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, who recounts how she was relieved of her job at the ICTR in 2003 for having opened investigations into RPF crimes and then rebuffed overtures from the United States and Britain to terminate them. “[T]he U.S. didn’t back me up,” she says, “the U.K. followed suit, as always, and my mandate was not renewed” (38:28).
Still another new voice is former FBI counter-terrorism agent James Lyons, who was Commander of Investigations at the ICTR. Lyons tells Corbin that in 1996-1997 his and the late Michael Hourigan’s National Team had found three solid sources claiming knowledge that Kagame was responsible for the Habyarimana assassination. When in early 1997 Hourigan and Lyons presented ICTR Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour with a memorandum outlining what they had learned, Arbour ordered the investigation terminated and confiscated the memorandum. “Louise Arbour just did a 180-degrees turnaround,” Lyons says, referring to Arbour’s reaction when she learned that his group had evidence implicating Kagame. “Someone above her was telling her this was not a good idea to be investigating Paul Kagame” (39:30).
Among the other BBC 2 guests was the Belgian scholar Filip Reyntjens, a specialist in the history of the Great Lakes region of central Africa; Reyntjens states frankly on camera that he regards Kagame as the “most important war criminal in office today” (48:31). Also the Belgian Colonel Luc Marchal, a former high-ranking member of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) with responsibility for the capital city, Kigali. Marchal describes the overwhelming tension that pervaded Kigali during the months before Habyarimana’s assassination: “Every night in Kigali the background noise was of weapons and shooting and of grenades exploding” (10:16). “In my opinion,” Marchal adds, “the attack on the president’s plane was the trigger to begin the military operation and the armed takeover by the RPF” (15:53).
Perhaps most important of all, the BBC 2 devotes a substantial segment of its documentary to the work of two American professors now at the University of Michigan, Allan Stam and Christian Davenport, who from 1998 on carried out important field research in Rwanda, and who have gone on to develop many powerful and provocative interpretations about what really happened in Rwanda in 1994.3 “What the world believes, and what really happened, are quite different,” a clip from Corbin’s interview with Stam appears twice in the documentary (0:21 and 31:19). (We return to Davenport and Stam’s work below.)
In sum, although we take issue with the BBC 2 documentary’s very loose and inexact use of the term “genocide” when referring to the events in Rwanda in 1994, Jane Corbin and John Conroy’s Rwanda’s Untold Story marks an important, informative, and decisive break from the now-more-than 20 years of false and propagandistic storytelling in the Anglo-American world that has buried the real history of the period. Both the BBC 2’s This World and the documentary’s production staff deserve their audience’s gratitude — not condemnation.
How Dare the BBC 2’s This World Break Ranks with the Rest of the Respectable Media and Bring All of These Ugly, Unmentionable Truths to Light?
Just as it was a remarkable event for Rwanda’s Untold Story to be telecast over the BBC 2 on October 1, so it was entirely predictable that on October 12, a response in the form of an open letter signed by 38 “scholars, scientists, researchers, journalists and historians” was sent to the BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall, taking issue with the documentary in the strongest terms possible. And, as is the conventional practice among members of this group, their open letter features the smear that the documentary engages in “genocide denial,” a derogatory charge that in one form or another (e.g., “genocide deniers,” “deniers”) appears no fewer than 13 times in a letter only 1,266 words long.4
“Genocide denial” and the dissemination of “genocide ideology and sectarianism” are the preferred negative-attack weapons of the Kagame dictatorship, on the basis of which it has denounced, intimidated, imprisoned, driven into exile, and even assassinated many Rwandans as well as foreign nationals over the past 20 years.5Kagame’s legal system used such charges to arrest the Hutu political figure and chair of the opposition Forces Democratiques Unifiées (FDU)-Inkingi coalition, Victoire Ingabire, in April 2010, removing her from competing against Kagame in the August presidential election, which Kagame won with an incredible 93 percent of the rigged vote. “[I]ngabire asked why there were no memorials to the Hutus who died,” Corbin reports in the documentary. “She got eight years in prison for ‘genocide ideology’” (51:09). To this day, Ingabire languishes in one of Kagame’s prisons, her sentence now bumped up to 15 years; recently her attorney filed a petition with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, asking it to demand a fair and open retrial for his client. 6 The 38 letter-signers claim to recognize the BBC’s right to “reflect on the contemporary political situation in Rwanda,” which the documentary does at length, but nowhere in their rebuttal do they themselves undertake such reflections. Doesn’t the 38’s silence on the totalitarian nature of Kagame Power, clearly a major political issue for Rwandans both at home and living in exile, make them dictatorship defenders?
When the 38 use the word “genocide” — a term they use no fewer than 27 times in their letter — they refer to one thing specifically: the alleged planned extermination and killing of Rwanda’s minority Tutsi population by its majority Hutu conspirators. But another, much larger area of massacres lies to the west of Rwanda in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where, from September 1996 on, many more people have been killed than in Rwanda in 1994. These killings were carried out as an almost immediate extension of the RPF’s 46-month war in Rwanda, and in the case of the DRC there is a wide consensus among specialists that Paul Kagame and forces allied with him (especially the Ugandan People’s Defense Force and locally organized militias) have been the principal killing agents. As Deogratias Bugera, at one time a soldier in Kagame’s RPF during its war in Rwanda, and one of the founders in October 1996 of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL), a “rebel” front-organization for the RPF in its wars in Zaire-DRC, once told Jason Stearns: “As soon as the RPF conquered Rwanda, they set their sights on invading Zaire, much sooner than most people realize.” 7 As the 38 completely ignore Kagame’s 18-year-long wars and genocide in the DRC, doesn’t their exclusive focus on Rwanda 1994 and the alleged Hutu conspiracy to exterminate the Tutsi make them apologists for the larger follow-up genocide? To the BBC 2’s credit — and in stark contrast to the silence of the 38 who attacked the BBC — the documentary raises precisely this issue. In fact, in a voiceover, Corbin reports: “The UN surveyed 600 alleged massacre sites [in the DRC]. … The UN report concluded: The apparent systematic and widespread attacks on Hutu civilians, if proven, could be characterized as crimes of genocide” (44:48). 8 But the 38 aren’t interested.
Who Shot Down President Habyarimana’s Falcon 50 Jet?
Turning to the mass killings in Rwanda in 1994, the 38 cite three “untenable claims” made in the BBC 2 documentary. The first is a “lie about the true nature of the Hutu power militia.” The second is an “attempt to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered in the genocide.” And the third is an “effort to place the blame for shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994 on the Rwandan Patriotic Front.”
Taking this last item first: The 38 claim that a “detailed report published in January 2012 by a French magistrate Judge Marc Trévidic . . . contains evidence from French experts, including crash investigators, who proved scientifically that the missiles that shot down the plane came from the confines of the government-run barracks in Kanombe.”
This is a blatant case of the selective use of evidence, in addition to being misleading in its own narrow framework. First, two French investigative judges are involved in this inquiry, not one: Judge Nathalie Poux as well as Judge Trévidic. Second, no report, preliminary or final, has ever been issued by Trévidic and Poux. The January 2012 report to which the 38 refer, released by Trévidic and Poux, was not written by them but was compiled by five “experts” who had been hired by the investigating judges to analyze certain data from a ballistics and acoustics point of view. 9
Third, and most important, none of the contributors to this nearly 340 page report at any point claims to know the identities of who actually fired the missiles that brought down Habyarimana’s jet, and nowhere in this report does anyone conclude definitively that the “missiles that shot down the plane came from the confines of the government-run barracks in Kanombe,” or in any other government-controlled area. Instead, they calculate “probabilities” for the locus of origination of the missiles which in the aggregate covers such a large range of territory that, as of April 6, 1994, the missiles could have been fired from government-controlled territory on its western edge as well as from territory well outside of government control, in the vicinity of Masaka Hill, to the southeast of Kanombe camp and the airport’s runway, which is exactly where the former RPF figures who have testified on this matter in multiple venues over many years claim the missiles were fired from. 10 In short, the highly-touted findings of the January 2012 analysis are so inconclusive as to the sites from which the fatal missiles were fired and the identity of the shooters that they are surely not the last word on the matter. 11
Also interesting is the fact that the Trévidic-Poux investigation’s own records show that in June 2010 their investigation accepted the sworn testimony of Abdul Ruzibiza, a former lieutenant in the RPF then living in exile in Norway, and the author of the 2005 book Rwanda, L’histoire secrète. 12 Consistent with his earlier testimonies before the investigation led by the French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière (Trévidic’s immediate predecessor in the same office, from which Bruguière retired in June 2008), his published writings, and his testimonies in trials argued before the ICTR, Ruzibiza shared with Trévidic-Poux’s representatives in Norway his knowledge of the RPF’s reconnaissance of the best site from which to fire the missiles (i.e., the aforementioned Masaka Hill, outside the government-controlled area); who comprised the assassination team and carried out the actual shooting (Deputy-Lieutenant Frank Nziza and Corporal Eric Hakizimana are named); where the missiles that were used that night had come from (they were smuggled from Uganda, through RPF-controlled territory in northern Rwanda, and then to Kigali); where the RPF stored the missiles prior to their use (in the RPF-occupied Conseil National de Développement [CND — National Assembly] complex in Kigali, in violation of the Arusha Accords’ prohibition that weapons in Kigali were to be secured by UNAMIR); and that he was a member of the RPF’s so-called “Network,” a covert team that carried out sabotage, false-flag operations, and assassinations of political figures on all sides so as to sow distrust and heighten tensions. 13 We believe that all of this is very important because, as noted above, Trévidic’s predecessor, Judge Bruguière, also heard the same sworn testimony of Ruzibiza, as had trial chambers of the ICTR; the crucial difference here is that whereas the 2006 Bruguière report made use of Ruzibiza’s testimony, at the time of this writing, Trévidic-Poux have taken no public position on Ruzibiza’s testimony, much less have they attempted to identify who they believe the shooters were. 14
It is also important to note that the Trévidic-Poux investigation exists within a political context unique to France that is ignored by the 38. In May 2007, the right-wing Atlanticist candidate Nicolas Sarkozy succeeded the right-wing Gaullist Jacques Chirac as the new president of France. Chirac had served for 12 years (1995-2007), having succeeded the Socialist Party’s François Mitterrand (1981-1995) to the office. Sarkozy immediately set out to heighten France’s Atlanticist profile among the Western capitals, particularly Washington and London. In early 2010, Sarkozy visited Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame in Kigali, the first visit by a French president to Kigali since the 1980s. Within days of Sarkozy’s return to Paris, French police arrested Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of Rwanda’s late President’s Habyarimana, then living in exile in Paris; she was arrested on the basis of an arrest warrant drawn up in Kigali over her role in the events of 1994. Within weeks of this, Trévidic and Poux named the five ballistics and acoustics “experts” who were to re-examine the evidence that ultimately found its way into Bruguière’s 2006 report and the nine indictments of RPF figures. In other words, the origins of the Trévidic-Poux investigation took place within the context of President Sarkozy’s decision to mend fences with Kagame’s regime and align French with U.S. policy on Rwanda, and this political decision required something official to offset Bruguière’s findings against the RPF. But even now as late as November 2014, Trévidic and Poux have yet to publish a definitive conclusion, in contrast to Hourigan, Bruguière, and the Spanish National Court Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles’ February 2008 indictment of 40 members of the RPF for their alleged murder of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans after the war. 15
The 38 ignore the fact that the long and serious investigation of the shoot-down by Bruguière, which included the sworn testimonies of a number of participants in the planning for the shoot-down, concluded that it was Kagame who had given the orders for it. 16 Bruguière also made the important point that the shoot-down and military conquest of Rwanda were politically necessary for Kagame, as he and his RPF could never have won the free election called for by the 1993 Arusha Peace Accords, given an ethnic Tutsi voting block of some 10 percent of Rwanda’s population, versus an ethnic Hutu voting block closer to 90 percent. Under these circumstances, it would have been impossible for Kagame’s RPF to take power through Rwanda’s legal political channels at any time and in any way — except by military conquest. 17 As Filip Reyntjens tells Jane Corbin in the BBC 2 documentary: “[The RPF] felt they were not going to be able to take power through the ballot, and I think by the end of 1993, the RPF had decided it was going to take power by the bullet” (9:35).
The 38 also bypass the fact that the ICTR sponsored the original investigation of the shoot-down in 1996-1997, carried out by a 20-person, multinational investigative team headed by the late Australian lawyer, Michael Hourigan. The BBC 2 documentary returns to a discussion of this evidence more than once, in the person of James Lyons, Hourigan’s superior at the ICTR. A memo prepared by Hourigan for delivery to ICTR Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, based on what his team regarded as three solid RPF sources with firsthand knowledge of the shoot-down, found Paul Kagame ultimately responsible for it. But as noted earlier, this memo was suppressed by Arbour, and no charges have ever been brought against Kagame by the ICTR. 18 Given that the ICTR has strictly observed the principle of “victor’s justice” throughout its 20 year existence, and has indicted, tried, and convicted Hutus alone with only one exception19, (the BBC 2 documentary reports 63 convictions to date [39:56]), this history of prosecutorial suppression at the ICTR strongly suggests that the evidence for a Kagame role in the shoot-down simply was too solid for the ICTR and its major U.S. and U.K. sponsors to permit any further investigation.
Here we should add that the lead signatory of the open letter to the BBC, Linda Melvern, has long claimed that there never was an investigation of the shoot-down by an international organization. Thus in one place, Melvern has referred to the “failure to conduct an international inquiry,” 20 and elsewhere she has alleged that “[t]he international court established by the Security Council . . . is silent on the assassination of Habyarimana.” 21 Although these are outright lies and suppress both actual investigations and the evidence they’ve accumulated, they are the kind of lies that conform well with the biases and deep-seated mendacity of Melvern and her 37 fellow “scholars” (etc).
Among the Many Untold Stories about Life in Paul Kagame’s Rwanda . . .
The list of former Kagame associates who eventually testified to Kagame’s responsibility for the shoot-down is impressively large; Peter Erlinder, the U.S. defense attorney and former lead defense counsel before the ICTR, estimates that the number “now exceeds eight,” 22 but we suspect the total is considerably higher. But any number is especially impressive, given that former members of Kagame’s inner circle who provide such testimony place themselves at great risk, as Kagame and some of his underlings have been regularly engaged in the permanent silencing of critics. (On this, see the treatment in Rwanda’s Untold Story of the December 31, 2013 assassination of Kagame’s former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya, then living in exile in South Africa [51:40].) Estimates vary of the number of former allies who were later killed on orders from Kagame. Particularly vulnerable and at highest risk are figures who possess “knowledge of the regime’s darkest secrets and had themselves been involved in its crimes,” as Reyntjens puts it. Reyntjens quotes a former RPF member “exiled in Europe” who claims he was ordered to assassinate Kayumba Nyamwasa (who, in fact, has survived four assassination attempts) and could name 17 other former RPF officers “murdered on Kagame’s orders.” Anyone “considered a threat, Hutu and Tutsi alike, were physically eliminated.” Exiles from Kagame Power were eliminated either because they had knowledge of Kagame’s responsibility for the assassinations of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents in April 1994, or because Kagame suspected them of disloyalty and plotting against him, or of leaking sensitive information to the world outside his base of supporters. According to Reyntjens, Ruzibiza claimed the “physical elimination of over twenty military, in addition to several foreigners working in Rwanda who were suspected of having leaked information on RPF abuse. . . .” Kagame is also implicated in the January 2001 assassination of a third head of state, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, Kagame’s handpicked successor to Mobutu after Rwanda and Uganda drove Mobutu from power in May 1997. 23 In 2010, many of the most prominent surviving exiles from Kagame Power went on to found the Rwanda National Congress and called for the end of the Kagame dictatorship, once and for all. But the establishment U.S. and U.K. media have rarely given Kagame’s regime of terror and assassination the attention that it deserves, paralleling the United States’ and Britain’s longtime support of Kagame, and, of course, the 38 slavishly follow the same apologetic silence on this matter.
The 38 attempt to support their belief in “Hutu Power” responsibility for the shoot-down by claiming that this “carefully planned genocide” was followed immediately by “roadblocks . . . all over Kigali” and a rapid targeting of Rwanda’s political opposition, which was allegedly opposed to Habyarimana because they feared power sharing with the RPF under the Arusha Accords.24 This is what we might call streaming lies. As we feature in our recently published book, Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, even the U.S.- and U.K.-vetted ICTR uniformly rejects the charge that Hutu political and military figures engaged in a “conspiracy to commit genocide” against the country’s minority Tutsi population prior to the April 6, 1994 shoot-down of the Habyarimana jet. 25 But this has never prevented Linda Melvern and the open letter’s co-signers Roméo Dallaire, Gregory Stanton, Gerald Caplan, Frank Chalk, George Monbiot, Andrew Wallis, et al., from repeatedly asserting that such a conspiracy was fairly adjudicated and determined to be real by the ICTR’s trial and appeals chambers, and this repetition of the “conspiracy to commit genocide” fraud feeds into the lie stream here.
While Melvern and the other 37 claim a readiness to spring into action by the alleged “Hutu Power” conspirators as of April 6, the fact of the matter is that the Hutu military and political leadership was completely unprepared for the post-assassination crisis, the Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR) were in immediate retreat from the advances of the vastly militarily superior RPF, and were unable to prevent Rwanda from being conquered by the RPF in less than 100 days — let alone putting a stop to localized killing sprees. By contrast, Kagame’s RPF — including armed RPF cells in hiding across the country — was ready to initiate a military offensive at the moment that the shoot-down of Habyarimana’s jet was confirmed. The further lie by the 38 is that the Hutu conspirators carried out their nefarious plans because they feared power-sharing with the RPF and the loss of privileges this would have entailed. But as Bruguière and many others have pointed out, it was Kagame and his RPF that was confronted with losing everything via the free and fair elections scheduled by the Arusha Accords, given the ethnic voting blocks that had prevailed in Rwanda for decades.
The 38 contest the finding of University of Michigan academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam that more Hutus than Tutsi were killed in Rwanda in 1994, but they refute it solely by mentioning “eye-witness testimony” and by listing the names of alleged research reports by Amnesty International, UNICEF, and others, while failing to cite any specific findings of estimated numbers killed and the ethnic composition of the deaths. The 38 also resort to the conventional accusatory tactic of charging Davenport and Stam with “attempts to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered, a typical tactic of genocide deniers” — when the going gets tough, sling mud.
Davenport and Stam use an aggregating methodology that we find logical and plausible in dealing with a very confusing environment — working from data estimating total pre-April 6, 1994 Tutsi and Hutu members of the population, and post-July 1994 numbers of Tutsi survivors. We use a similar method in Enduring Lies, taking Rwanda census data breakdowns of Tutsi and Hutu numbers as of August 1991, and post-July 1994 estimates of Tutsi survivors ranging from 300,000 to 400,000. Without going into too many details here, we found that, for example, on the assumption of 800,000 total deaths for the period April through July, 1994, plausible estimates of Hutu and Tutsi deaths ranged from between 100,000 and 200,000 Tutsi deaths, and between 600,000 and 700,000 Hutu deaths. 26 We also show, again relying on the logic of Davenport and Stam’s method, the crucial lesson that (quoting from our book) “the greater the total number of deaths, the greater the number of Hutu deaths overall, and the greater the percentage comprised of Hutu.”27
Hence, the following crucial exchange between Corbin and Stam (30:31):
Allan Stam: If a million people died in Rwanda in 1994 — and that’s certainly possible — there is no way that the majority of them could be Tutsi.Jane Corbin: How do you know that?Allan Stam: Because there weren’t enough Tutsi in the country.Jane Corbin: The academics calculated there had been 500,000 Tutsis before the conflict in Rwanda; 300,000 survived. This led them to their final controversial conclusion.Allan Stam: If a million Rwandans died, and 200,000 of them were Tutsi, that means 800,000 of them were Hutu.Jane Corbin: That’s completely the opposite of what the world believes happened in the Rwandan genocide.Allan Stam: What the world believes, and what actually happened, are quite different.
Notice the conditional “if” with which Stam begins his explanation. He could have stated “If 500,000 people died,” or “If 2 million people died,” and their method would have generated different results. It is also notable that the 38 dismiss Davenport and Stam simply as academics who “worked for a team of lawyers defending the génocidaires at the ICTR.” In fact, Davenport and Stam started work in Rwanda under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and at one time Stam served in the U.S. Army Special Forces. And the defense counsels before the ICTR often were defending clients eventually found to be innocent of all charges, but here the same clients are found guilty in advance by the 38, who call all of them “génocidaires” and would presumably deny them the right to defend themselves.
The 38 are also pained by the BBC 2’s raising doubts over whether Paul Kagame’s RPF stopped the genocide. They quote Lieut.-General Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian force commander of UNAMIR, as the “authority on this subject.” “Dallaire is categorical,” the 38 write. “‘The genocide was stopped because the RPF won and stopped it’, he says.” 28 This is actually a bit ambiguous because the mass killings could have stopped because the powerful army then conquering Rwanda — the RPF — had won its war and could itself stop doing the killing. We have elsewhere cited the report by Robert Gersony to the United Nations claiming that in several of Rwanda’s southern prefectures he found an “unmistakable pattern” of “systematic and sustained killing and persecution of their civilian Hutu populations by the RPF,” with between 5,000 and 10,000 Hutu killed per month. 29 We should also note that Dallaire is hardly a neutral observer on the recent history of Rwanda, and, in fact, is one of the 38 signatories to the letter to the BBC which, as we are showing throughout, is error-laden and biased. We may also point out that there are not one but two Dallaires — one in his term as force commander of UNAMIR (1993-1994), and the other subsequently acting as a spokesperson for the standard model of the “Rwandan genocide” and an apologist for Kagame Power (1995-). In the earlier role, while biased in favor of the RPF, he at least could recognize and acknowledge the relative weakness and demoralization of the Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR, the then national army of Rwanda) and the military superiority and readiness of the RPF; about the RPF, Dallaire had reported to the United Nations as early as September 1993 that it “displayed the potential to easily defeat the [FAR].” 30
The 38 devote considerable space to charging the BBC 2 documentary’s producers and guests with “genocide denial,” which they describe as the “final stage” of genocide that “ensures that the crime continues. It incites new killing.” Recall that, after conquering Rwanda in 1994, Kagame invaded Zaire-DRC two years later, with estimated subsequent killings there running into the millions. This was not a result of any “genocide denial,” it was justified on the basis of the need to clean out the “génocidaires.” That is, the new killings were built on the claim of a Hutu genocide of Tutsis that required what turned out to be large-scale massacres of an allegedly genocidal Hutu population that had fled to Zaire-DRC. If the Hutus were the primary victims in 1994, and the April 6, 1994 assassination of President Habyarimana was attributable to Kagame, both of which we believe to be true, these extended killings in Zaire-DRC would be harder to rationalize. By misrepresenting the reality of that history, the 38 help justify this further and larger genocide.
Concluding Note: Many Untold Stories
So, in fact, the 38’s cry of the immorality of “genocide denial” provides a dishonest cover for Paul Kagame’s crimes in 1994 and for his even larger crimes in Zaire-DRC. The 38 thus belong to a sizable contingent of apologists for Kagame Power, who now and in years past have served as intellectual enforcers of an RPF and U.S.-U.K.-Canadian party line. We may note here the amazing claim by the 38 that the events of 1994 “should be treated by all concerned with the utmost intellectual honesty and rigour.” Their own violation of this appeal in their open letter is both systematic and comprehensive.
We have seen that the 38 have a penchant for slander as well as straightforward misrepresentation. It is for committing the grave intellectual and moral crime of providing an alternative but, we believe, entirely credible and evidence-based reinterpretations of what really happened in Rwanda in 1994 that the 38 would like Rwanda’s Untold Story expunged from the BBC archives and its production team sent to the woodshed.
Jane Corbin and John Conroy, Rwanda’s Untold Story, BBC 2, October 1, 2014. Whenever we cite the time-stamp for something that we take from the documentary (e.g., 51:19), we are referring to the copy of the documentary as posted to the Vimeo website.
- In Rwanda’s Untold Story, the term “genocide” is used repeatedly but without hardly any definition or explanation as to what it means. By all appearances, however, the term refers to an alleged Hutu conspiracy to commit genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi minority 2, as well as to the execution of this alleged conspiracy during the period from April through July 1994. Thus at one point Jane Corbin, the documentary’s presenter, describes “the genocide” as “the killing of a million people in three months” (13:59). And immediately thereafter, she adds that once the assassination of Habyarimana had occurred, “It quickly became part of the accepted story that extremist Hutus shot down the plane. They wanted to unleash a wave of ethnic killing and rid the country of its Tutsis” (14:09).
- For some of Christian Davenport and Allan Stam’s relevant work, see Rwandan Political Violence in Space and Time, unpublished manuscript, 2004, especially pp. 27-33. Also see their website, Understanding Rwandan Political Violence in 1994, GenoDynamics. And see their “What Really Happened in Rwanda?” Miller-McCune, October 6, 2009:
- Linda Melvern et al., “Rwanda’s Untold Story: Letter to the Director-General of the BBC October 12, 2014″
- Filip Reyntjens, Political Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Ch. 5, “Dealing with the World and the Region,” pp. 124-162; especially the section “Dealing with Critical Voices,” pp. 127-134.
- “Jailed Rwanda Opposition Figure Lodges Complaint with African Court,” Agence France Presse, October 24, 2014. Also see Rwanda: Eight-Year Sentence for Opposition Leader, Human Rights Watch, October 30, 2012.
- Jason K. Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa (New York: Public Affairs, 2011), p. 77.
- Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, August. 2010, esp. para. 500-522. Therein, we read that the RPF and its proxy forces had carried out “systematic and widespread … attacks, which targeted very large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees and members of the Hutu civilian population, resulting in their death.” Such attacks, the report continues, “reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified crimes of genocide” (para. 515).
- Claudine Oosterlinck et al, Rapport d’Expertise: Destruction en Vol du Falcon 50 — Kigali (Rwanda), Cour d’Appel de Paris, Tribunal de Grande Instance Paris, Instruction n. 2272/00/13&1314 — Parquet n. 9729523030, January 5, 2012.
- Google map of the Kilagi International Airport and the territory which surrounds it. Immediately south of the airport’s runway are the Kanombe military barracks; much farther to the southeast of the airport’s runway and the Kanombe barracks is the topographic representation of Masaka Hill. According to the analyses of the “experts” released by Trévidic and Poux in January, 2012, all of these locations fall within the range of possible firing sites for the missiles that shot-down the presidential jet on April 6, 1994.
- Barrie Collins, “Shooting Down the ‘Truth’ about Rwanda,” Spiked Online, April 16, 2012.
- Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza, Rwanda, L’histoire secrète (Paris: Editions du Panama, 2005).
- Audition sur Commission Rogatoire Internationale, Joshua Ruzibiza, Devant nous, le mardi 15 juin 2010. … Commissaire de Police Havard AALMO du Kripos, en exécution d’un demande d’entraide pénale de la France en date du 15 décembre 2009 (Numéro du dossier en Norvège: 8911179) a comparu: Joshua RUZIBIZA.
- See the statement titled “Testimony of Abdul Ruzibiza about How Mistakes by both the Rwandan Government and the RPF Led to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994,” as posted to the Hungry for Truth, Peace, and Justice blog on January 9, 2009, specifically the section titled “LAST PHASE: The Assassination of President Habyarimana on April 6, 1994,” para. 5.
- Al Goodman, “Spanish Judge Indicts 40 Rwandan Military Officers for Genocide,” CNN.com/Europe,February 6, 2008
- Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, Request for the Issuance of International Arrest Warrants, Tribunal de Grande Instance, Paris, France, November 21, 2006, p. 11. The nine RPF figures indicted by Bruguière were: James Kabarebe, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Charles Kayonga, Jack Nziza, Samuel Kanyemere, Rose Kabuye, Jacob Tumwine, Frank Nziza, and Eric Hakizamana (pp. 46-48). Paul Kagame, notably absent from this list of indictees, “enjoys the immunity granted in France to incumbent Heads of State and therefore cannot be prosecuted within the framework of this proceeding” (p. 46).
- Ibid., p. 12. As the Bruguière report puts it: “[D]ue to the numerical inferiority of the Tutsi electorate, the political balance of power did not allow [Kagame] to win elections on the basis of the political process set forth by the Arusha Agreements without the support of the opposition parties. … [I]n Paul Kagame’s mind, the physical elimination of President Habyarimana became imperative as early as October 1993 as the sole way of achieving his political aims.”
- For copies of documents related to Michael Hourigan’s experience as the head of the National Investigative Team on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICTR, see Annexe 49 : Le rapport de Michaël Hourigan, enquêteur du TPIR, à la procureure Louise Arbour sur l’attentat du 6 avril 1994 (janvier 1997). This PDF reproduces partially redacted copies of Hourigan’s original 1997 memorandum to Louise Arbour (pp. 2-5); an August 1, 1997 confidential note in which Hourigan assesses his experiences as the head of the National Team (pp. 6-8); a February 7, 2007 report about Michael Hourigan written by Nick McKenzie for The Age (Australia) (pp. 9-13); and the November 27, 2006 Affidavit of Michael Andrew Hourigan used by defense attorneys before the ICTR (pp. 14-20).
- The one exception to the Hutu-only rule at the ICTR was the December 1998 indictment of Georges Henri Yvon Joseph Ruggiu, a Belgian national who had moved to Rwanda, and later became one of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines on-air personalities both before and during the RPF’s final offensive in 1994. Eventually, Ruggui pled guilty to “incitement” related charges. See Judge Navanethem Pillay et al., Judgment, The Prosecutor v. George Ruggui, Case No. ICTR-97-32-I, June 1, 2000
- Linda Melvern, “Expert Refutes Bruguiere Claims,” All Africa, November 27, 2006.
- Linda Melvern, “The Perfect Crime“, Prospect, January 31, 2008.
- Peter Erlinder, The Accidental . . . Genocide (St. Paul, MN: International Humanitarian Law Institute, 2013), n. 49, p. 25.
- Reyntjens, Political Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda, “The RPF Challenged from Within,” pp. 85-96
- Here we are referring to the Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front, signed at Arusha, Tanzania, on August 4, 1993, U.N. General Assembly (A/48/824-S/26915), December 23, 1993, specifically the two Protocols of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on Power-Sharing within the Framework of a Broad-Based Transitional Government, October 30, 1992, and January 9, 1993, pp. 22-58.
- See Herman and Peterson, Enduring Lies, Sect. 7, “The Alleged Hutu ‘Conspiracy to Commit Genocide’ That Never Was,” pp. 43-46; and Appendix I, pp. 78-82.
- Ibid., Sect. 4, “The ‘Rwandan Genocide’ by the Numbers,” pp. 32-35.
- Ibid., p. 34. [↩]
- Here we note that this quote attributed to Roméo Dallaire by the 38 does not derive from the documentary.
- Robert Gersony, “Summary of UNHCR Presentation Before Commission of Experts,” October 11, 1994, pp. 4-8. Gersony had been dispatched to Rwanda on behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Emergency Repatriation Team, and he reported to the UN Commission of Experts in October 1994.
- Report of the Secretary-General on Rwanda (S/26488), September 24, 1993. Dallaire’s Reconnaissance Mission Report was circulated among members of the UN Security Council as an appendix to S/26488, but since it was classified for “UN Eyes Only,” it was not made publicly available at the time. For a copy of Dallaire’s Report, see Peter Erlinder, ed., Report of the UN Reconnaissance Mission to Rwanda — August 1993 (Saint Paul, MN: International Humanitarian Law Institute, 2011), here para. 67, p. 40.