On October 12, 2014, 38 international researchers and historians wrote a letter (1) to the Director-General of the BBC. As its title indicates, the letter is a protest letter. 

The letter is written by foreign intellectuals except one I guess: Professor Josias Semujanga (2); Professeur titulaire, Département des littératures de langue française, Université de Montréal, Quebec. Intellectuals, historians, journalists and researchers, they may be; they may not well understand our history, as we Rwandese do; and especially we who were there when the genocide happened from 1990.

As an educated Rwandan citizen and a survivor of genocide (3) who was in Rwanda when the genocide happened, I intend in this article, to analyze this protest letter, the more objectively as possible. I will highlight the main points of protest, ask some questions and draw conclusion.

The protesters said: “We accept and support that it is legitimate to investigate, with due diligence and respect for factual evidence, any crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and to reflect on the contemporary political situation in Rwanda.”

For this I give credit to the protesters. At least, now they accept and support the legitimacy to investigate any crimes committed by the RPF. I wish they have said that loudly since 1994. Maybe their voices would have convinced Americans and ICC to bring on trial the RPF members who committed crimes against humanity and genocide.

Ten, twenty years back, the whole world blamed the Rwandan genocide on one part only, the Hutu part. Now it is becoming evident that the Tutsi also committed genocide. That is one of the truths the BBC is bringing out and it needs to be congratulated and applauded for this.
The protesters said: “However, attempts to examine these issues should not distort the reality of the 1994 genocide. It is not legitimate to use current events to either negate or to diminish the genocide. Nor is it legitimate to promote genocide denial.” 

The protesters claim that BBC distorts and denies the 1994 genocide. Here is what the spokesperson of the BBC has to say as reported by the newspaper Inyenyeri news (4):

  • “The BBC strongly refutes the suggestion that any part of the programme constitutes a ‘denial of the genocide against the Tutsi’. There are repeated references to the mass killings of Tutsis by Hutus in 1994 and that this constituted genocide. The programme also includes an interview with the Director of the Genocide Museum at Murambi, a Tutsi and genocide survivor, and a convicted Hutu genocidaire who spoke of his part in the killing of thousands of Tutsis.
  • “The BBC has a duty to investigate difficult and challenging subjects and we believe the programme is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the tragic history of the country and the region, and of the governance of Rwanda over the last 20 years.”

The protesters said: “The parts of the film which concern the 1994 genocide, far from providing viewers with an ‘Untold Story’ as the title promises, are old claims. For years similar material using similar language has been distributed far and wide as part of an on-going ‘Hutu Power’ campaign of genocide denial.”

There is a truth in what the protesters are saying: far from providing viewers with untold story as the title promises, are old claims. This is true; there is nothing new the BBC is telling that has not been said since 1990. In fact, since 1990, honest intellectuals, academics, scholars, lawyers, researchers and journalists have been all the time saying that RPF committed crimes against humanity and genocide. There was always a claim that Kagame ordered the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s airplan.

What is new is that these old claims as the protesters call it, they are now being told by respected, international well known world leader news broadcasting, the BBC. With regard to the shooting down of the Presidential airplane; what is new is the story being told openly on the camera, by the only then very close Kagame’s collaborators: General Kayumba Nyamwasa and Dr. Rudasingwa.

An important question here need to be asked: The very close collaborators of Kagame at the time of the shooting down of President Habyarima’s airplane are testifying and are ready to do so before a court of law. They ascertain that Kagame organized and ordered the shooting of President Habyarimana’s airplane. Who are the protesters or what credibility can they have to contradict what General Kayumba Nyamwasa and Dr. Rudasingwa are saying? Who should we believe? The protestors?

The protesters said“for years similar material using similar language has been distributed far as wide as part of an on-going ‘Hutu Power’ campaign of genocide denial.”

The ‘Hutu Power’ campaign does not exist. This is a pure invention of the RPF regime, intended to criminalize and diabolize all Hutus. People should not confuse the slogan the Party MDR used to use in 1993-1994 ‘MDR Power’ and the ‘Hutu Power’ campaign or ideology. This is a pure invention of RPF. MDR Power can not be equaled to Hutu Power. First because MDR did not represent all Hutus in Rwanda, secondly the MDR Power slogan was just intended to differentiate the two different wings or tendencies that emerged within the MDR Party in 1993-1994 as to how the Party should deal with the invasion of the RPF and its intention of ceasing the power in Rwanda.

Today, I do not know any influential Rwandan politician in the opposition who denies the genocide committed against Tutsi. All what I know, is that all Rwandan politicians in the opposition are demanding the genocide against the Hutu committed by the RPF to be recognized too.

I challenge the protesters of the letter sent to BBC, to name the Hutu politicians we know in the current Rwandan political arena who have the ‘Hutu Power’ ideology. Be it FDLR, FDU-Inkingi, RDI, Amahoro, PPR Imena, RNC, you name it; all Rwandan political parties agree on one thing: Rwanda is for all Rwandese and we shall all, Hutus, Twa and Tutsi alike live in the same country Rwanda. We are all Rwandese and there is no such ‘Hutu Power’ campaign except in the mind of RPF and foreigners such those signatories of the protest letter to BBC. They just recycle what they hear from RPF without making a proper intellectual critic and analysis.

The protesters said: “At the heart of this campaign are convicted génocidaires, some of their defence lawyers from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and their supporters and collaborators.”

Who are you calling convicted génocidaires? General Nyamwasa? Dr. Rudasingwa? Christian Davenport? Allan Stam? Carla Del Ponte? Luc Marshal, and other many brave writers, professors, researchers and journalists, human rights activists around the world who are telling the world what really happened in Rwanda? Convicted génocidaires, most of them are in jail and those who have been released after they completed their sentence, do not only have the means to campaign but also do not have the freedom to travel wherever they want to.

How can you dare think that those convicted génocidaires are behind or at the heart of this campaign…? Do you really think, that convicted génocidaires or their defence lawyers from ICTR have the power and the capacity to bribe or to influence a world leading broadcasting Institution like BBC? Do you take a minute to ask yourselves why it is so today and it couldn’t be like that 10 years ago?

The truth is: interests are changing, truth is coming out and the geopolitical situation in the Great Lac Region is going soon to be redesigned. Freedom is coming tomorrow as used to sing those young brave black South Africans during their liberation struggle. The protesters said: “The BBC programme Rwanda’s Untold Story recycles their (genocide deniers) arguments and provides them with another platform to create doubt and confusion about what really happened.”

Why do you want us Rwandese and the world to swallow the only RPF’s version of the Rwandan genocide as a biblical doctrine, or as the only truth? I think there is nothing wrong when another version of the story creates a doubt. This could be rather for intellectuals, researchers and historians you are, a motivation to deep further your research in finding the truth or in questioning what you thought was the only truth.

Three of the untenable claims the protesters mentioned:

1. A lie about the true nature of the Hutu Power militia
2. An attempt to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered in the genocide
3. An effort to place the blame for shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994 on the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

We will analyze those claims one by one.

1. A lie about the true nature of the Hutu Power militia

The protesters said: “the programme allows a witness to claim that ‘only ten percent of the Interahamwe (militia) were killers’. In fact, the majority of Hutu Power militia forces – estimated to have been 30,000 strong – were trained specifically to kill Tutsi at speed, and indoctrinated in a racist ideology, part of genocide planning. There is eyewitness testimony by several militia leaders who cooperated with the ICTR.”

Once again the fabricated word ‘Hutu Power militia’. The MRND Party, like the other Political Parties had youth wings. Interahamwe used to be MRND’s youth wing that unfortunately radicalized themselves to a militia as millions of refugees from RPF controlled territory started to come in Kigali reporting atrocities and crimes committed by RPF. Interahamwe were MRND youth wing and not Hutu militia because all Hutu did not belong to Interahamwe. In Interahamwe you would find Hutu as well as Tutsi. Surprisingly Interahamwe Chief at the National lever was a Tutsi (Robert Kajuga). The majority of Interahamwe were of course Hutu. That is normal as Hutu are majority in Rwanda.
If the number of Interahamwe militia was estimated at 30 000 people. And every body knows that the majority of Tutsi who were killed by Interahamwe; why does the RPF vehicles this ideology that all Hutu are génocidaires, and all Hutu must apologize? 30 000 Interahamwe militia they do not even represent 0.5% of the population at the time of genocide. In 1993 according to International Monetary Fund-2011 World Economic Outlook (5), the population of Rwanda was 7 609 000.

No body has the truth as to what exact percentage of the 30 000 Interahamwe killed the Tutsi as no body made this census. Or what we know is that not all Interahamwe killed the Tutsi. Whatever number of Interahamwe killed the Tutsi, this could not be the issue. The truth remains that Interahamwe killed the Tutsi and within Interahamwe there were Tutsi. The only objection we strongly make is to equal Interahamwe or those who killed the Tutsi to all Hutu or to insinuate the existence of a so called ‘Hutu Power’ who wanted or who wants to exterminate the Tutsi.

2. An attempt to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered in the genocide

The protesters said: “the programme attempts to minimise the number of Tutsi murdered, a typical tactic of genocide deniers. The false figures cited are provided by two US academics who worked for a team of lawyers defending the génocidaires at the ICTR. They even claim that in 1994 more Hutu than Tutsi were murdered – an absurd suggestion and contrary to all the widely available research reported by Amnesty International, UNICEF, the UN Human Rights Commission, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Africa Rights, a UN Security Council mandated Commission of Experts and evidence submitted to the ICTR and other European courts who have successfully put on trial several perpetrators.”

Let us allow the figures and not sentiments speak by themselves.

In 1960 the population of Rwanda was estimated to 2.9 millions (6). From the colonial time; at the time our parents and grand parents were having what they used to call “amabuku” meaning the books -an old identity cart in which the colonial time mentioned the ethnicity identity of each Rwandese- Hutu were estimated at 85%, Tutsi at 14% and Twa at 1%.

This means that in 1960, the Hutu were 2 465 000, Tutsi were 406.000 and Twa were 29 000. By 1965 an estimated number of 130 000 Tutsi (approximately one third of all Tutsi) are said to have fled to the neighboring countries (8) leaving only 276 000 Tutsi in Rwanda which represent 10% of the whole population.

In 1991 Tutsi were 596 387 as reported in a Table: “Rwanda’s national population as of 1991, broken-down by its two largest ethnic groups official Rwanda Census” (9). In 1993 the population of Rwanda was estimated to 7 609 000 (7). Tutsi being almost 9% in 1993 this represents 684 810. This number is not far from 667 000 the number Gen. Dallaire reported himself to the Security Council in 1993 as reported by Peter Erlinder in his article : “The BBC must be congratulated in launching the scrutiny with Rwanda Untold Story” (10)

From Rwanda Government sources, we are told that: “A systematic count by the government of Rwanda in collaboration with genocide survivor organizations established that 1,074,017 people were killed, of whom 934,218 have been identified by name: 93.6% were killed because they were Tutsis; the others either because they were Hutus married to Tutsis, resembled Tutsis, had hidden their Tutsi neighbours or were Hutus who opposed genocide.” (11) Those figures were released by the Government of Rwanda in February 2002 as the result of the census that aimed to establish the number of people who were killed during the period 1990-1994.

Simple logic and simple mathematics oblige: If 1 074 017 people died in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and Ibuka (a Tutsi genocide survivor organizations) and the Government of Rwanda estimate the number of Tutsi who survived the genocide to 300 000; who are the remaining 774 017? I leave the reader of this article to answer this question him/herself.

There is no doubt about it, according to research results and the statistics available at the moment, Tutsi who died during the 1994 genocide were about 380 00 and the Hutu were about approximately 690 000. In other words the number of Hutu who died during the 1994 genocide was almost the double the number of Tutsi who died.

Why is the number of Tutsi or Hutu who died so important?

Simple reason:

  • If the real number of Hutu who died during the 1990-1994 genocide is to be known and more importantly is bigger than the number of Tutsi who died, this would be enough element to prove that RPF rebel forces killed Hutu because Interahamwe militia and or the Rwanda Government Army could not have killed their own majority ethnic group Hutu in a such big number.
  • No one, no academic, no historian, no researchers, no government will ever know with certainty the exact number of Hutu and Tutsi who died during the 1990-1994 genocide. All figures advanced will be hypothetical and some people depending on the interest they want to defend or the ideology they want to vehicle will always argue until Jesus-Christ returns. However if all agree to accept the estimate, based on my calculations, I estimate that Hutu died in much bigger number than Tutsi.
  • But number of who died is not what matter most to us Rwandans. What matter more to us is justice for all. What we know as Rwandese who seek the truth and justice for all, is that genocide and crimes against humanity has been committed by both sides as well as RPF rebel army and the Interahamwe militia and some elements of the army and other individuals who have been convicted and some others who got away with.
  • It is therefore a sign of courage and some thing to support when a world leading news broadcasting like BBC brings to the attention of the world the crimes committed by President Kagame and the RPF.

3. An effort to place the blame for shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994 on the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

The protesters said: “the film argues that the shooting down of the plane on April 6, 1994 was perpetrated by the RPF. This same story was promoted by Hutu Power extremists within a few hours of the president’s assassination and promoted ever since by génocidaires and a few ICTR defence lawyers. ”

We discussed this issue earlier above. If the former very close collaborators of Kagame, affirm and testify that Kagame planned and ordered the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s airplan, who are the protesters to claim the contrary?

The protesters continued saying: “The film pays no heed to a detailed expert report published in January 2012 by a French magistrate Judge Marc Trévidic. This 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 on the airport’s perimeter – one of the most fortified places in the country, and where it would have been impossible for the RPF, armed with a missile, to penetrate.”

The BBC film “Rwanda Untold Story” as the title indicates is mainly meant to tell the untold story. The RPF version story and expert’s stories that comfort RPF version is not the only story, BBC wanted to tell the world the untold story. And it did it brilliantly! We need also to mention that the Habyarimana regime and the Gevernment’s Army were so infiltrated by RPF elements at high level that one can not say that it would have been impossible for the RPF to penetrate the Kanombe military camp with a missile. RPF was able to do every thing including shooting the President Habyarimana’s airplane whenever the shooting originated.

The protesters said“Within hours of the president’s assassination, in this carefully planned genocide…”

The genocide was not planned let alone mentioning it was carefully planned. If that was so, no single Tutsi would have left in Rwanda. The creation of Interahamwe militia was meant to defend civilians when the arm forces were on the battle ground field. Unfortunately it turned out that when the President airplane was shoot down, no institution no leader no politician could not control Interahamwe. We however recognize that there was very little effort or none on the part of the Government to control Interahamwe.

The Protesters said: “The film-maker, Jane Corbin, who presented the programme, even tries to raise doubts about whether or not the RPF stopped the genocide. The authority on this subject is Lt.-General Roméo Dallaire, the Force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), and present in Rwanda throughout the genocide. Dallaire is categorical. ‘The genocide was stopped because the RPF won and stopped it’ ”

Prominent members of the RPF said and continue to say that Kagame’s main intention was not to stop the genocide against Tutsi but to cease power, the whole power at whatever cost even the massacre of his own ethnic group members, the Tutsi. Tutsi survivors survived because of different raisons some of which are:

  • Tutsi who were in areas where Interahamwe did not go to kill;
  • Tutsi who were sheltered by Hutu neighbors or relatives by inter-ethnic marriage
  • Tutsi who were protected by local administration authorities such as ‘Bourgmestres des communes’
  • Tutsi who managed to flee into the area controlled by RPF
  • Tutsi who were in a French controlled area: ‘ Zone Turquoise’

Lt-General Roméo Dallaire opinion can not be considered as authority on the subject of genocide in Rwanda. Dallaire’s opinion is one among others and do not deserve the authority the protesters claim. Should a proper investigation done in the way Lt-Roméo Dallaire conducted his mission in Rwanda, we will not be surprised of his complicity with the RPF rebels.

The protesters said: “In broadcasting this documentary the BBC has been recklessly irresponsible. The programme has fuelled genocide denial. It has further emboldened the génocidaires, all their supporters and those who collaborate with them. It has provided them the legitimacy of the BBC. Denial of genocide causes the gravest offence to survivors. For them, the genocide is not a distant event from 20 years ago but a reality with which they live every day.”

I will say the protesters’ accusation to BBC is false and baseless. Throughout the document BBC has never denied the genocide that happened in Rwanda, the BBC is telling what hasn’t been told in the Rwanda genocide story. I am myself a genocide survivor, I don’t see any offence to me, when a journalist or a researcher bring to the open, other facts, other truth of what really happened in our genocide history. They will be no reconciliation in Rwanda unless the truth and the whole truth of what really happened during the genocide in Rwanda is known and told and all perpetrators hutu and tutsi alike are brought to justice or demand forgiveness. The BBC documentary is contributing to that.

The protesters said: “The 1994 genocide of the Tutsi should be treated by all concerned with the utmost intellectual honesty and rigour. We would be willing – indeed see it as our duty – to meet with journalists and to debate in a follow up programme the serious inaccuracies in Rwanda’s Untold Story.” 

When the protesters say “the 1994 genocide of Tutsi”; they say the half truth and they are lacking intellectual honesty and rigour. The whole truth is that the genocide that happened in Rwanda was not only “the genocide of Tutsi” but the genocide of Hutu too. Without in anyway denying the genocide committed against the Tutsi, the BBC documentary has the credit to tell the world the other half of the truth, the genocide committed by RPF against the Hutu.

I welcome the willingness of the protesters to meet with journalists and to debate in a follow up programme the serious inaccuracies in Rwanda’s Untold Story. It becomes a duty for the Rwandan intellectual, political and civil society community to invite both sides, the protester’s letter signatories and those who support the BBC documentary, in an open intellectual debate. The protesters conclude: “Rwanda’s Untold Story tarnishes the BBC’s well-deserved reputation for objective and balanced journalism. We urge the BBC to apologise for the offence this programme has caused for all victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.”

This conclusion is the protesters’ opinion. It is not the only one opinion. The other opinion, including mine; is that: Rwanda’s Untold Story is a courageous journalistic act of investigation that poses critical questions in what the conqueror (RPF) and its allies want the world to swallow as the only truth without the right of questioning all the cover up in the Rwandese tragedy.

The BBC documentary may have caused offence to some victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda for what they believe to have happened. The protesters letter need to know that for what we believe and know happened in the 1994 genocide, to some other victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, including myself, the BBC documentary has not caused any offence, on the contrary. Therefore, the BBC should not apologize to any one for its journalistic work. Simply put, for various reasons, the BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story, some like it and others do not like it. None of those who like or who do not like has the right nor the authority to dictate to BBC how to carry out his job.

Defending the undefendable 

War crimes, mass killing, crimes against humanity committed by RPF or commissioned by President Kagame are reported by different sources, individuals and organizations such as Human rights Organizations and United Nations just to name a few. Why are eminent intellectuals, professors, academics, journalists, such as:

Prof. Linda Melvern, Senator Roméo Dallaire, Prof. Gregory H. Stanton, Mehdi Ba, Bishop Ken Bahram, Dr. Margaret Braerly, Dr. Gerald Caplan, Prof. Frank Chalk, Dr. Phil Clark, Boubacar Moris Diop, Jean François Dupaquier, Hélène Dumas, Prof. Margee Ensign, Tim Gallimore, Peter Greaves, Fred Grunfeld, Dr. Helen Hintjens, Dr. Geogina Holmes, Richard Johnson, Eric Joyce, Amb. Karel Kovanda, Françoise Lemagnen, Amb. Stephen Lewis, W. Alan McClue, Roland Moerland, George Monibio, Jacques Morel, Barbara Mulvaney, Dr. Jude Murison, Peter Raymont, Prof. Josias, Semujanga, Jonathan Salt, Keith Somerville, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry, Dr. James M. Smith, Rafiki Ubaldo, Andrew Wallis and Lillian Wong ; are defending the undefendable ?

I will ask the protesters few questions:
1. Did the RPF and Uganda invaded a sovereign State in 1990?
2. Did the RPF commit war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1990-1994 war and after?
3. Did the RPF and Kagame regime mass murder thousands of refugees protected by UN forces in the Kibeho camps in Rwanda?
4. Did the RPF and Kagame regime mass murder thousands of refugees protected by UNHCR in the Democratic Republic of Congo Refugee Camps?
5. Did the RPF and Kagame regime proxy launched wars in DR Congo that killed millions of civilians?

If your answers to all the five questions are Yes, You have a A+. But if you have answered No to any of above questions, you have an intellectual disability and you need an academic treatment.


The recent debate (12) and controversy on the BBC Documentary Rwanda Untold Story, is a healthy debate that should motivate intellectual, journalists, historians and researchers to revisit their previous hypothesis in search of further facts and truth.

Be ready, more chocking revelations will be soon coming out as to who shoot the President Habyarimana’s airplan. We still want to know why a country like Burundi 20 years after, never investigated or failed to bring to justice people who killed their President Cyprien Ntanryamira who was assassinated together with President Habyarimana on April 6, 1994. We still want to know why, the UN Security Council and countries who claim to be the champion of democracy and human rights like UK and USA are protecting the President some regard today as the worst criminal on power the world has ever known after Hitler.

We support encourage and call upon serious news broadcasting Organizations like BBC to help us answer those questions. By so doing, you are contributing to the real reconciliation of all Rwandese People what will happen only through telling the truth, only the truth and the whole truth.

Jotham Rwamiheto
Montreal, Canada

A freedom fighter: My gun is my pen, my ammunitions are my ideas.


1. BBC Genocide film: Protest letter by 38 international researchers and historians

2. By name he could be a Rwandese or a Burundi national. If there is other Rwandese who changed their names to look like Western Europe or North American names and are among the signatories, I apologize it is not intentionally.

3. Genocide survivors are not only Tutsi. Tutsi could be killed by extremists Hutu and some elements of the National Army who committed genocide against the Tutsi and Hutu could be killed by Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Army and its infiltrés who committed the genocide against Hutu inside Rwanda and in the DR Congo. Consequently, Tutsi and Hutu who survived the genocide are all genocide survivors
4. Inyenyeri News, BBC spokesperson refutes Rwanda genocide denial allegations

5. International Monetary Fund – 2011 World Economic Outlook: . In 1993 according to International Monetary Fund-2011 World Economic Outlook , the population of Rwanda was 7 609 000.
6. Trading Economics, Rwanda Population 1960-2014 (
7. International Monetary Fund, Ibid

8. Crowder, edited by Michall (1984). The Cambridge history of Africa : volume 8, Cambridge University Press.
9. Rwanda’s 1991 Census by David Peterson ( )
10. Peter Erlinder: The BBC must be congratulated in launching the scrutiny with Rwanda’s Untold Story ( )
11. James Uwizeye in the Guardian,To claim the Tutsi caused Rwandese genocide is pure revisionism
12. If you like this article, I recommend you to read also:
• Inyenyeri News: Jacqueline Umurungi, The Untold Stories: International Academics misguided by greed and opportunism on Rwanda ( )

• Black star news: Prof. Peter Erlinder,The BBC Must Be Congratulated For Launching Scrutiny With « Rwanda’s Untold Story » – ( )
• Global Campaign for Rwandans’ Human Rights: Letter to BBC Director-General, Rwandan Community Representative in UK ( )

• The Rwandan: Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa (RNC Cordinator): Letter to BBC Director General ( )
• Ann Garrison, the BBC asks what really happened in Rwanda ( )