By David Himbara
Open Letter to General Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
Dear General Paul Kagame, this letter refers to a speech delivered by General James Kabarebe, your former defence minister and currently your defence and security adviser. As you are aware, on November 3, 2019, Kabarebe addressed the members of an exclusively Tutsi youth organization, the Association des Etudiants et Elèves Réscapés du Génocide (AERG). Kabarebe’s main message to AERG was that Rwanda has two sets of youths — Hutu and Tutsi — who live in entirely different worlds that are about to collide. According to Kabarebe, the Tutsi youths must prepare to defend the gains made during the past twenty-six years, because the Hutu youths are determined to destroy the gains. In Kabarebe’s own words, the Hutu youths are enemies of Rwanda in the footsteps of their parents.
Mr President, I put it to you that General James Kabarebe has committed genocide ideology crimes.
Mr President, your adviser Kabarebe went to great lengths to explain how the Tutsi and Hutu youths quite literally belong and operate in different worlds. Unity and reconciliation do not feature in Kabarebe’s universe — the two groups are in perpetual competition for dominance and destruction. While previously disorganized, says Kabarebe, the Hutu diaspora in Southern Africa and Europe have put their act together. They now have achieved a sophisticated level of organization and stability in two ways. First, they have achieved economic powers in the host countries to the extent the Hutu ”are charge of the economy in Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and elsewhere.” Second, the Hutu children now ”succeed brilliantly” in schools. This development, says Kabarebe, reminds him of the Tutsi diaspora of his own generation in the 1970s. These are Kabarebe’s own words:
”When we were in Uganda, and I was at the end of my primary school shortly before I entered secondary school, when the results were announced, the top 100 were all Rwandans. Similarly, today, after 20 years of disorganization, they [Hutu] are the ones who come out on top in all competitions.
In the most hateful and venomous parts of Kabarebe’s speech, he said that the desire for education among Hutu youth is a problem. This is how he put it.
It should not be a problem if they were kids who think normally. The problem is that their thinking is that of their parents, thinking to destroy the country. You understand then that there are going to be two opposite generations: there are on the one hand you, survivors of the genocide who have the country, and on the other hand these others who have just stabilized and who say to themselves “we have today all economic power today.”
These statements prove that Kabarebe has committed the crime of genocide ideology. Article 3 of The Rwandan law of the Crime of Genocide Ideology and Other Related Offences Law, defines genocide ideology as follows:
”Genocide ideology shall be any deliberate act, committed in public whether orally, written or video means or by any other means which may show that a person is characterized by ethnic, religious, nationality, or race-based with intent to: 1) advocate for the commission of genocide; 2) support the genocide. Any person who commits an act provided for by the preceding paragraph commits the crime of genocide ideology.”
The Rwanda genocide laws are very clear
As indicated above, genocide ideology is any deliberate act which is committed in public whether orally, written or video means or by any other means. Such deliberate acts may show that a person committing them is characterized by ethnic, religious, nationality, or race-based hatred with intent to two things. The person committing these acts is advocating for the commission of genocide, and therefore supports genocide. Clearly, General Kabarebe publicly, orally, and on video committed the crimes of genocide ideology by unleashing hatred against the Hutu ethnic group. Kabarebe also incited the Tutsi to hate their Hutu compatriots.
General Kabarebe must be tried for committing crimes of genocide ideology
In conclusion, there can be no doubt that Kabarebe committed the crimes of genocide ideology whose punishment is described in Rwanda’s Penal Code. Article 93 titled ”other acts punished as the crime of genocide” identifies ”direct or indirect incitement to commit” as a punishable offence. We therefore call upon you, Mr President, to immediately suspend Kabarebe from his position as your defence and security adviser. More importantly, the relevant authorities in your government should arrest and try General James Kabarebe according to the laws of Rwanda.