Karake Karenzi and Kayumba Nyamwasa: Heinrich Himmler AND Hermann Goering of the Rwandan recent history

After reading Judi Rever on the criminal record of General Karenzi Karake, I had goose bumps. The majority of Rwandans whose family members have perished and continue dying as a consequence of the regime that the Rwandan Patriotic Front has established in Rwanda since July 1994, are relatively aware of the many killing techniques and strategies RPF have used to reduce significantly Hutu populations and keep their survivors under total control as second category citizens.

When you read Rever’s article, you feel like transported in the time of the horrific tragedies of humankind most talked about in world history, probably because of the resilience of its victims in keeping alive their tragic past: the holocaust of Jews. The resemblance of the killing methods are so striking. They made me revisit what Jewish people experienced in the hands of the Nazi.

Two names come up in prominence from the Nazi era: 1) SS chief Heinrich Himmler had full responsibility for all security matters in the occupied Soviet Union. He had broad authority to physically eliminate any perceived threats to permanent German rule; 2) Nazi leader Hermann Goering had supervisory authority to  make preparations for the implementation of a “complete solution of the Jewish question.”

The roles that Generals Kayumba Nyamwasa and Karenzi Karake occupied in the RPF military and intelligence hierarchy – most importantly the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) – appear to be similar in implementing the final solution against Hutu and Congolese populations. I was particularly surprised by the similarity of modus operandi of the mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) that did most of the killing of hutus across Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, as reported by many ex-RPF soldiers who deserted ranks.

The irony of the story is that while the final solution against hutus was being implemented by General Kayumba Nyamwasa, before and during the “official” genocide of 1994, then thereafter pursued by General Karenzi Karake, from 1997 onwards, RPF was drumming at every ear in the international community about a genocide committed by hutus against tutsis, and ensuring that all hutus educated, leaders or not, were tracked anywhere on the globe for being genocidaires. In parallel, ample evidence has proven that tutsis have been killed because of who they were, which means they were victims of a genocide.

For a taste of the written piece referred to at the start of this note, please find below a  short extract:

Investigators at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) set out to discover what DMI did during and after the genocide. Their findings were compiled in a confidential report submitted to Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow and accessed by this journalist.

“The Directorate of Military Intelligence was created in late 1990 as part of the RPA military structure. From its creation and until the end of the war in 1994, Colonel Kayumba Nyamwasa was in charge of this directorate. The DMI is hated and feared by most of the Rwandan population, inside and outside of Rwanda due to its reputation for cruelty and killing operations. Most of the massacres attributed to the RPA were committed by the DMI,” the document states.

The report emphasizes that Nyamwasa was DMI chief until the formation of the RPF government and “‘nothing was done without his knowledge.” Investigators later state that Nyamwasa “was replaced by Lt Colonel Karenzi Karake.”

The report—written by the ICTR’s Special Investigations Unit that looked into crimes committed by the RPF—goes on to say that DMI representatives were in every military unit, and that special DMI forces were under the control of DMI headquarters, and special agents called ‘technicians’ were part of DMI operations.

The report states that technicians were trained to use pharmaceutical products to kill and poison water; they were given courses on how to murder with ropes and hoes, how to smother people with plastic bags, how to inject oil from syringes into victims’ ears, and how to tie people’s elbows behind their backs and bind their feet as a means of torture. The technicians were also instructed to use bayonets, guns and grenades, in addition to laying landmines.

Karake’s reign of terror at the helm of DMI

Immediately after Kagame’s troops seized the capital and in the smoky weeks before being named DMI chief, Karake directed a series of operations from all over Rwanda that lured and screened young male Hutus into the RPA, in schemes that brought them to killing centers, mainly in remote areas of Akagera Park which was off limits to the UN and NGOs, sources said. He worked closely at the time with Patrick Nyamvumba, who headed the Training Wing and is now Rwanda’s chief of defense staff.

The practice of screening Hutus and transporting them to execution sites started during the genocide but was implemented in earnest afterward, entrenching a deadly policy that continued, in varying degrees, for years to come.

From testimony collected from witnesses, investigators stipulated that “after the war, the Hutu population were arrested by DMI agents in given places and eliminated at a great rate. The bodies were incinerated and ashes were buried.” Sports grounds and military camps were often created over common graves.

To read the full article of Judi Rever which depicts a darker picture of General Karake Karenzi who was arrested in London on 20/06/15, please click HERE.


Ambrose Nzeyimana