Friends of evil (Chapter 14): A Final Appeal and Conclusion

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Book
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Israel Charny rightly reminds us of a very important concept: personal interests can ultimately lead many people who are not initially bigoted or violent into participating in the actual commission of genocide.

Charny also says: “There may be ostensibly upright citizens who identify themselves with the search for truth and justice, yet who join forces with the deniers and revisionists because of conscious and unconscious economic or political interests or other aspects of expanding their power that are served by their co-operation with those who have committed genocide…”[1]

Charny’s profound warning strikes a chord when one looks at what happened in 2003, when four Dutch NGOs (OXFAM-NOVIB, CORDAID, ICCO and KERKINAKTIE) published a report titled “Rwanda Monitoring Project”. The report was mainly prepared for the Dutch and British governments, who are major donors to the Government of Rwanda.

The report strongly criticized the Rwanda Government, and was designed to put pressure on those Governments to restrict such financial aid.

The report was supported by some people, like the Belgian Filip REYNTJENS who is continuously predicting a grim future for Rwanda and Burundi. In his writing of May 2008, Reyntjens maintains that there is dictatorship in Rwanda, and that the Rwanda government does not acknowledge the segregation that exists in the country’s politics, whereas the population itself suffers from Tutsi domination, and the Hutu do not feel equally represented as the Tutsi.[2]

His assessment was contrary to that of the World Bank, which applauded Rwanda and Tanzania for their progress in good governance and fighting corruption over the last decade. [3]

According to those Dutch NGOs, lasting peace in the Great Lakes region will only be possible if what they call the “Inter-Rwandan dialogue” (Le dialogue inter-rwandais) comes as a solution to “the inter-Rwandan conflict” (Le conflit inter-rwandais),[4] as has happened in Burundi and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Those NGOs praised the Concertation Permanente de l’Opposition Démocratique Rwandaise/ Permanent Consultation of the Rwandan Democratic Opposition (CPODR) with its headquarters based in Belgium. Founded on April 12, 2002, the CPODR is made up of the UFDR (RDR together with FRD) as well as the ADRN-Igihango (FDLR combined with ARENA,[5] Nation Imbaga Nyarwanda and URD.)[6]

The NGOs’ reason for promoting this CPODR was its “claims to be willing to cooperate with the ICTR and to condemn the Tutsi genocide of 1994 as well as its ideology”. The NGOs attributed great importance to the COPDR as a potential interlocutor for the Rwanda government. They also say that the COPDR has written to the Rwanda Government requesting negotiations, but has not yet gotten any response. They do not hide their disapproval of Governments and donors who support the Rwandan Government.

These Dutch NGOs had watched with indifference while the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi was being perpetrated before the entire world, by those same people they were now defending. They now express discontent when they see that the Rwandan Government—which stopped the genocide and has since built national unity and sanity—does not want to negotiate with impenitent genocidaires. The NGOs conclude their chapter on negotiations by requesting the Governments which support the Rwandan Government not to abandon the COPDR, but to act as intermediaries in the inter-Rwandan dialogue instead. This is certainly an idea which serves well the philosophy of the RDR and FDLR—to treat genocide as a mere political conflict rather than a crime.

During the same year 2003, which interests were those NGOs pursuing when they went to meet the genocide master planners and purveyors of its ideology? In all political or other negotiations there are always what are known as “give and take” situations. What does it imply, when the COPDR, says it would be ready to “cooperate with the ICTR and denounce genocide?”

Genocide is a crime that must be denounced and punished; it is not a conflict which can be resolved through dialogue and political negotiations. Hence it is incomprehensible, except for a person who does not recognize the value of the human being, that the same Government which fought against genocide would be forced into negotiations with supporters of genocide and its ideology.

A Ugandan journalist, Andrew Mwenda, says: “It is unacceptable to attempt to create moral equivalence of the crimes of the Nazis with those who saved Western civilisation from fascism. Churchill and Roosevelt, whatever their acts or omissions cannot be put in the same dock with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Scholars like Gerald Punier and my own friend Prof. Rene Lemarchand who argue, (wrongly) genocide of the Tutsi against Hutu cannot make a similar argument in regard to Churchill and Roosevelt.”[7]

Those who think so, and request Governments to support politicians of crime and wickedness should also be denounced for complicity in the crime, since they do it consciously. On reading their report carefully, one realizes that these NGOs have espoused the ideas of those they qualify as “most important.” They know fully well that these are genocidaires, but they pretend to be unaware of this truth. Opening negotiations with the Rwanda Government is part of the FDLR’s and RDR’s raison d’être. What is new here is that they have found someone to pursue it on their behalf, and it is not the first time. Concerning the opening of negotiations, the contents of the Dutch NGOs report, in 2003, is quite reminiscent of what the FAR planned in the camps in 1994-95.

In their report, the Dutch NGOs claimed that peace and security in the Central African region depended on dialogue with the groups that today make up the FDU-INKINGI. Ndereyehe, in his interview with Nyirubugara, was inviting the RPF to accept a dialogue with them; otherwise there would be war (since it was refugees who had attacked Rwanda in the first place, talking about the RPF).

Such a dialogue sounds like the one of TUR No 5 in 1994, which gave a platform to the genocidaires. At that time, Kambanda had declared that “the international community must put pressure on RPF so that it enters into negotiations with them or else they will do like the RPF (p. 12).

The same idea was expressed by James Gasana (p. 19). As for Stanislas Mbonampeka, he arrogantly declared that if the international community does not force the RPF into negotiations, he was ready for war. The same Mbonampeka declared in TUR that the Government in Kigali could not last more than six months (p.24), or could not go beyond May 1995.

In the same journal, Generals Augustin Bizimungu and Gratien Kabiligi as chiefs of the defeated army, who had crossed the border with all their armament, were also making menacing demands for dialogue. (p.32)

At the March 31, 2005 Rome negotiations between the FDLR and the DRC government under the aegis of the Catholic Sant’Egidio Community,[8] the FDLR had promised to abandon its military activities and to call on its members to go back home. They have yet to implement this promise.

With regard to those groups belonging to the COPDR, what do they mean if they say they are ready to cooperate with the ICTR and disassociate themselves from genocide and its ideology? What cooperation with the ICTR do they have in mind? In whose name would that cooperation be? The only bona fide contribution to the ICTR would be a genuine commitment to combat genocide and the culture of impunity.

Meanwhile, it is incontestable that none of the leaders of the RDR, FDLR, or any other hypocrites and hate mongers like Paul Rusesabagina have ever gone to the ICTR to testify against the genocidaires. The truth is that, on the contrary, most members of the RDR leadership are in the hands of the ICTR, being prosecuted for genocide. Some have been given heavy sentences by that tribunal and Rwandese justice. There are many examples, and the RDR and the FDLR know it more than anyone else.

In any case, as explained earlier, the RDR was founded with the objective of defending the genocidaires who were and are still in the hands of the ICTR. Even today, those people wanted by the tribunal still count on the support of the RDR and its network of “friends of evil.” The notion of cooperation between the RDR/FDLR and the ICTR is mere stage management.

The RDR treats the ICTR as an arena in which to continue preaching their hate ideology and genocide denial. On the  December 23, 1995, they published a document which was meant to be a “Message of the RDR to Rwandese Refugees”,[9] signed by Laurent Hitimana, who was the vice-president of that group of criminals in the area of Goma.

In that message, the RDR said it supported the ICTR. But what it wanted from the Tribunal is “the truth” about the events which plunged Rwanda into mourning (…) “when the RPF Inkotanyi attacked Rwanda.” In order to make the world understand Rwanda’s problem and so that the truth may be known, the RDR contacted lawyers.

The same document says that RDR will put whoever must appear before the ICTR into contact with those lawyers: “Let the accused, defend themselves courageously, since, they will be doing it in the name of the Rwandese people. Let them understand that they are giving testimony to the ills the RPF has subjected the Rwandese people to; and we shall keep showing them our solidarity”. The document goes on to say that the RDR is determined to “denounce and accuse members of the RPF, starting with their leaders” (…) “they are responsible for the ills which have befallen us all.”

It was within that logic that those within the CPODR collaborated with judges Jean-Louis Bruguière (Frenchman) and Fernando Andreu Merelles (Spanish), to accuse the present leaders in Rwanda with the intent to prove that the RPF military also killed in the same manner as the genocidaires. Perhaps the judges reason that both sides are criminal and should negotiate to nullify their crimes.[10]

In the text of indictment and arrest warrant issued by the Spanish judge, perpetrators of genocide are clearly presented as victims and their hate ideology valued as facts.

Since its inception, the RDR has had agreements with Belgian lawyers so that they give assistance to the genocidaires. One of them is Luc de Timmerman, a name well known in genocidaire circles. When refugees were still in the North and south Kivu provinces of the DRC, these lawyers had established their office in Goma where they worked with members of the RDR as mentioned earlier in this book.

I believe there was officious collaboration between the RDR and some officials at the ICTR aimed at including RDR agents among workers of the Tribunal, with the mission of “defending” the accused. In fact the Tribunal’s staff in Arusha included RDR’s leaders such as Aloys Ngendahimana, the RDR’s Vice-president in charge of social affairs, and Thaddée Kwitonda, at one time in-charge of Kashusha camp near Bukavu. The latter is also among the founder members of the CDR, to mention but a few. There are several others.

The Dutch NGOs which claim that the RDR is “very important” should read carefully the communiqués of this organisation written and available on the Internet in French, English and Kinywarwanda—and listen to broadcasts by those they defend. The discourse in all of their literature is replete with racism and genocide ideology. In these documents, the massacres and the genocide (which they prefer to call “the tragedy that befell Rwanda”) are constantly attributed to the RPF, a line the RDR/FDLR have been using from their beginning, like the “government in exile” and the FAR before them.

For the genocidaires, the country called “Rwanda” is a country of “killers”. In their opinion, whoever is accused of genocide by the ICTR or elsewhere represents the Rwandese people. But in order to feel represented by a genocidaire one has to approve the latter’s criminal acts, and be proud of them. But that admiration of criminals does not make perpetrators of such acts “most important”.

In the minds of those who subscribe to the ideology of the COPDR, which is supported by the Dutch NGOs, “the Rwandan” means the one who is counted among the genocidaires, or is related to them, or supports them. Anyone outside the group has no claim to Rwanda.

These are ideas of those who harbour the ideology of the extermination of the Tutsi, who affirm that the Rwanda of today is ruled by foreigners; exactly as the PARMEHUTU choir Abanyuramatwi were singing in their song “Turatsinze”, in the early 1960s, that its victory meant “Gahutu, wherever you are Rwanda is yours. Truly, Rwandans have recovered their own country.”

For Dutch NGOs to think that the RDR or FDLR have dissociated themselves from the genocide ideology is at best a nice fantasy, which in reality changes nothing. It is possible that these NGOs might have been deceived by their protégés about their supposed conversion; but just hearing such promises is not sufficient grounds in order to believe them and disseminate them as truth.

I have sought to demonstrate how critical support has been extended to the genocidaires, by a range of different organisations, associations and individuals. Imagine a person like Juan Carrero Saralegui operating under the false veneer of “Nobel Peace Prize nominee”, without anyone bothering to know who nominated him. Carrero could be a stick-in-the-mud or not, but clearly he has proudly supported genocidaires in denial and spreading their ideology using his NGOs. He is not the only one, but has gained prominence because he lacks the pangs of conscience, and has thrived because of indifference from the international community.

Humbly, I appeal to NGOs and to civil society in general to see the need to do more research, and be more careful if they are to avoid being duped into supporting people and organisations known to have a direct link to the genocide that was committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda.  The discourse of hate exuded on their websites and blogs provides enough tools of analysis. Indifference is fatal and will never fulfil the promise of “Never Again.” What is required is the will to say: NO SUPPORT TO FRIENDS OF EVIL.

[1] ISRAEL W. CHARNY, A classification of denials of the Holocaust and other genocides, Journal of Genocide Research (2003), 5(1), p.17

[2] Political annals of Rwanda and Burundi, 2007-2008.

[3] The East African June 30-July 6, 2008

[4] “Rwanda Monitoring Project” Report, 2003 p.28-30

[5] Means: “Alliance pour la Renaissance de la Nation (Alliance for National Renewal.)

[6] Means: “Union des Rwandais pour la République et la Démocratie”.

[8] International Crisis group report: The Congo: Solving the FDLR problem once and for all. On  and

[9] The document is in the author’s archives.

[10] The Spanish authorities break away from Judge F. Andreu Merelles; The New Times, February 10, 2008.