By Erasme Rugemintwaza
It is a cut-throat war waged between the United Nations (UN) and its members Niger and Rwanda. A war which engages all the diplomatic and legal subtleties where losing seems not to be allowed. What are the ins and outs of this diplomatic joust around 8 Rwandans that Niger is forcing to evacuate its territory after only 3 weeks of their resettlement?
On November 15, 2021, the UN and the Republic of Niger signed an agreement relating to “The resettlement of persons released or acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (ICTR) or the International Mechanism called to exercise the residual functions of the Criminal Courts”, henceforth “Mechanism”.
Article 1 of the this agreement stipulates, in paragraph 2: “This Agreement reacts to the procedure relating to the resettlement of the following released or acquitted persons on the territory of the Republic of Niger:
1) Jérôme-Clément Bicamumpaka
2) Prosper Mugiraneza
3) Tharcisse Muvunyi
4) Anatole Nsengiyumva
5) André Ntagerura
6) Alphonse Nteziryayo
7) François Nzuwonemeye
8) Innocent Sagahutu
9) Protais Zigiranyirazo
These 9 people with the exception of JC Bicamumpaka who remained in Arusha for health reasons, landed on the soil of Niger on 12/06/2021 and received Residence permits from the Government of Niger, as permanent resident, in accordance with the Agreement.
But a week after their arrival in Niger, the Rwandan Government, through its Permanent Representative to the UN, Ms. Valentine Rugwabiza, just on 12/13/2021, raised the issue of the transfer of these Rwandans to the UN Security Council alleging that her country was not informed.
Through intense and subtle activity, Kigali with the help of France obtained the Order for the expulsion of these Rwandans from the territory of Niger . The order of the Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization of Niger of December 27, 2021, just three weeks in the country, expelled the 8 Rwandans duly relocated in Niger. It was the astonishment of the whole world especially that the reasons,-very honest-, invoked by Niger do not appear in the Agreement: Diplomatic reasons!
Niger: lack of discernment
Niger has used malicious tricks to withdraw the residence permits that it has voluntarily given to 8 Rwandans for their resettlement on its soil in accordance with the Agreement signed with the UN. This damages its credibility as a state. They should not lure these people, to do so reveals the lack of reason that holds. In doing so, Niger of its own initiative broke the Agreement without respecting any of the procedures laid down. The diplomatic reasons that Niger invoked are unknown but we know that the Expulsion Order is the result of Rwandan diplomacy through France for purely geopolitical interests. Thus, by accepting foreign influence, Niger once again discredits its sovereign independence.
But what is worse is its pernicious desire to ignore the procedures provided for in the Agreement providing the ways and means of “Modification” as provided for in Article 10: “This Agreement may be modified, after consultation between the Parties, and by mutual written consent, thereof.” Or Article 11 states that “All disputes, controversies, disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement shall be settled by negotiation or by mutually agreed means.”
We learn from the Jeune Afrique of December 29, 2021, that the Niger side indicates that the United Nations had assured Niamey that Rwanda would not raise this transfer a problem. However, after the arrival of these Rwandans in the country, Kigali reportedly expressed its dissatisfaction. “We believe that the UN has misled us. It is therefore now up to the UN to find a resettlement for them,” commented an official Niger source.
Here the problem of the Niger government still arises in its decision-making. Any decision requires weighing the pros and cons and analyzing all the possible implications. The UN could not imagine the Rwandan devil in wanting to put these Rwandans in disarray, rather Niger could indeed speculate on this possible attitude of its friend Rwanda!
Kigali in turmoil
The RPF-Inkotanyi regime has and will always have this desire to get its hands on the dignitaries of the regime it overthrown. This seems to be moreover an almost human propensity: wanting to show the vanquished that they are vanquished! But Kigali is active in this affair for deep reasons.
In fact some find that Rwanda’s desire for these Rwandans is not a normal repatriation to their homeland, rather the Kagame regime wants to use them to strengthen its narrative, including the preparation of the genocide, not to mention the attack on Habyarimana Juvénal’s plane that triggered the genocide. Their fabricated witnesses, given at the cost of their lives, will consolidate the narrative of the Kagame regime. These two factors, the preparation for the genocide and the attack on the Habyarimana’s plane, are the priorities of the RPF-Inkotanyi government because they constitute subjects of great controversy which divide the international community and thus annoy the regime.
It is for this evil goal that the government in Kigali is doing everything possible to bring these Rwandans back home. All means are fine for Kagame to get hold of his opponents, particularly the dignitaries of the Habyarimana regime. So Kigali has just launched an intoxication campaign by its propadandist Tom NDAHIRO. We actually read on his twitter account a message about Major Ntuyahaga who was brought back to Kigali after having served his sentence in Belgium. It should be noted that Major Ntuyahaga was brought back to Kigali without his consent so that one day, in a situation like this one, he would serve as an example to lure the international community. Major Ntuyahaga is an ambush, a bait to catch uninformed people. How really the RPF-Inkotanyi can want to repatriate the people whom it calls inveterate criminals to whom it asks Niger to be careful, according to the statements of Mrs. Valentine RUGWABIZA. Does Rwanda have a purgatory to purify these people whom he takes for the brains of a genocide which despite its acceptance still arouses controversy 27 years later, or it has crematoria ovens to wrest vows from them to consolidate its narrative? Miraculously, through its spokesperson Alain MUKURARINDA, the Rwandan Government has just accepted, the evening of 12/29/2021 on BBC, that it had a role in the decision of Niger, always brandishing the example of Major Ntuyahaga who was forcibly, we know it very well as the the matter sparked in uproar, sent to Rwanda from Belgium.
The UN: A humanitarian obligation
The UN Charter of October 24, 1945 as well as and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948 are tools or better still instruments for guaranteeing human rights. However, what Niger has done not only violates the Agreement it signed but also is in deep contradiction with the spirit of the UN: to guarantee human rights. It is for this reason that the UN Courts quickly seized the case to try to put in order the turmoil or the chaos created by the Nigerian Order of expulsion of 8 Rwandans.
Thus, on 12/30/2021, despite the period of leave, President Judge Carmel Agius publicly sends the instructions to the Registrar:
“INSTRUCTION TO THE REGISTRAR
IN THE MATTER OF
HEREBY INSTRUCT the Registrar to continue to engage with the relevant authorities of Niger, including in line with the procedures provided for by Articles 2 and 11 of the Agreement, and to take all necessary actions in order to ensure that the Expulsion Order does not cause any prejudice to the fundamental rights of the Relocated Persons;
INSTRUCT the Registrar to provide me with frequent updates on the situation as it unfolds, including through public filings pursuant to Rule 31(B) of the Rules as appropriate;
REQUEST the Registrar to transmit the Motions and the present Instruction, as well as any further public filings before the Mechanism relating to this matter, to all counsel recognised by the Mechanism as currently representing the Acquitted or Released Persons, as well as any of the Relocated Persons acting pro se in relation to this matter; and
REQUEST the Registrar to also transmit the Motions and the present Instruction, as well as any further public filings before the Mechanism relating to this matter, to the Office of Legal Affairs ofthe United Nations.”
In the same wake of reactions and still by Judge Carmel Agius, this December 30, 2021, he issued another document whose content is as follows:
“ORDER ASSIGNING MOTIONS TO THE DUTY JUDGE FOR THE ARUSHA BRANCH
IN THE MATTER OF
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER NZUWONEMEYE PROSPER MUGIRANEZA PROTAIS ZIGIRANYIRAZO
HEREBY ASSIGN the Motions to Judge Joseph E. Chiondo Masanche.”
Let us recall that Judge Carmel Agius is the President of The Hague and it is he who, during Rwanda’s claim, in the meeting of the Security Council on 12/13/2021, stressed that the transfer of these Rwandans was done well, with respect for the Agreement signed between Niger and the UN.
The Duty Judge in Arusha, Joseph E. Chiondo Masanche, in full power conferred on him by the Presiding Judge, ordered the Nigerian Government to suspend the expulsion of these 8 Rwandans for a period of 30 working days. Here is the content:
“ORDER TO THE REPUBLIC OF NIGER TO STAY THE EXPULSION ORDER OF RELOCATED PERSONS AND ORDER FOR SUBMISSIONS
IN THE MATTER OF
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER NZUWONEMEYE PROSPER MUGIRANEZA PROTAIS ZIGIRANYIRAZO ANATOLE NSENGIYUMVA ALPHONSE NTEZIRYAYO ANDRÉ NTAGERURA
HEREBY INSTRUCT the Registry to serve the present Order on Niger;
INVITE the Government of Niger to provide, within 30 days of service of the present Order,written submissions regarding the validity of the Expulsion Order and its compliance with theRelocation Agreement;
ORDER Niger to stay the Expulsion Order and to allow the Relocated Persons to remain on its territory, in accordance with the terms of the Relocation Agreement, pending the final adjudicationof this matter;
INSTRUCT the Registry to serve the present Order on all the Relocated Persons, includingMuvunyi and Sagahutu, and on all counsel recognised as currently representing them;
INSTRUCT the Registrar to file submissions, within 30 days of the present Order; and
REMAIN SEISED of the matter.”
In sum, here is the diplomatic and legal war going on between the UN and its own member Niger, which is just a puppet whose strings are in the hands of Kagame and Macron. The UN, as the guarantor of human rights, should not give in to political trivia to betray its spirit and and abandon the people in the hands of the executioners instead of protecting them. Let’s keep an eye on it.