The reported dramatic surrender in the morning of Monday March 18, 2013 at the US Embassy in Kigali of ICC wanted General Bosco Ntaganda was greeted with a general “sense of relief” worldwide. For us, however, there is a sense of heightened and perplexed apprehension as to what’s coming next in this unending saga involving Rwandan warlords and their linchpins in the criminal devastation of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Indeed, it’s hard to decide whether to smile or cry, because as welcome as it is, the surrender does not remove the fact that General Bosco Ntaganda “The Terminator” and his Rwandan sponsors have killed so many millions of innocent people in Rwanda and DRC and have not been prosecuted. In view of this sudden development, the PDR-Ihumure would like to bring the following observations to the attention of the international community:

1.  General Ntaganda must not become the tree that hides the forest. Yes, he is a suspect in the mass crimes committed in eastern DRC and appears ready to testify at the ICC, but his Rwandan bankrollers, who are heavily implicated in the DRC tragedy, cannot be allowed to enjoy continued impunity. The fact that Ntaganda chose to “flee” to Rwanda when he could as easily have gone to Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, or surrendered to the MONUSCO or DRC authorities, removes any doubt that Rwanda is indeed his real sponsor, despite a gazillion denials from Kigali. However, something must’ve gone terribly wrong inside Rwandan borders to force Ntaganda to check himself in at the US Embassy – and we may never know exactly what happened. Nonetheless, Rwanda’s assertion that his whereabouts were unknown from the time he left his base in eastern DRC, and the suggestion that a General with an army can slip into Rwanda without being detected by “Special Forces” and ubiquitous security forces is hard to believe.

2.  Despite Ntaganda’s sudden surrender, one fundamental question remains: what’s the Rwandan regime going to do next? It still has control over Ntaganda’s army that crossed into Rwanda with him, it is sheltering some of the M23 army top brass and political leadership that crossed into Rwanda and have been taken to “safe locations” or “under treatment in a hospital”, and it still harbors General Laurent Nkunda and Colonel Jules Mutebutsi of a few years ago. None of these individuals have surrendered along with Ntaganda at the US Embassy, nor have any of them been handed over to the DRC authorities.  What is the RPF regime  going to do with them? The likely scenario seems to be that they will be sent back into DRC as a re-branded new rebel group to continue the killing and raping of innocent villagers and pillaging of mineral resources.

3.  In the meantime, Ntaganda’s surrender is making the RPF regime behave like it has something to hide, and in the process exposing its propensity for arrogance. The regime’s apparent refusal to cooperate in facilitating Ntaganda’s transfer to the ICC and Rwandan Foreign Minister’s firm stance that such a transfer “is a matter for the United States who are holding the suspect, the DR Congo — the country whose nationality the suspect holds — and the ICC, by whom the suspect is wanted” is stunning, coming from a country that is supposed to be a close US ally.  Equally stunning is Rwanda’s thinly veiled threat that it cannot guarantee the security of Ntaganda’s transfer from the US Embassy to the Airport in Kigali. The biggest favor the US government can do Rwandans, Congolese, and the entire international community is to put Rwanda squarely in front of its responsibilities. At the same time, while clearly engaged in helping to bring out the truth and putting an end to the tragedy in eastern DRC, the US government can choose to continue to work with a badly damaged RPF regime that is ready to resort to blackmail and brinkmanship, or work with new, clean and capable leaders in Rwanda who can build a powerful and lasting partnership based on mutual respect and comprehensive political and economic interests of both countries.

4.  The PDR-Ihumure has always maintained that the undeniable immediate cause of conflict and tragedy in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa is none other than Rwandan President Kagame and his ruthless RPF regime in Kigali. As long as the RPF regime is in power in Rwanda, there will never be peace in the region, and there will never be democracy in Rwanda. We call upon the international community to withhold aid assistance to Rwanda as a way to end crime and impunity in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and to set in motion instruments of international justice for the overdue prosecution of all people suspected of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Great Lakes Region of Africa as documented in the UN Mapping Report of 201o and the UN Expert Report on M23 of June 2012. We also urge our brothers and sisters in the Rwandan political opposition to join forces with us for democratic change in Rwanda and a final and peaceful end to the tragedy in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

For the PDR-Ihumure
Pio Ngilik
Executive Secretary
Washington, DC