Friends of evil-Introduction: When genocidaires come together

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Book
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It is hard to imagine that those who planned the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and their accomplices could still be meeting; in the very city that shelters the most powerful international tribunals. But—they are. One such meeting took place on April 26, 2008, at The Hague in Holland. The meeting was organized by Rwandese associations, Duurzaam voor Afrika (DVA) and Dusabane. It was funded by an influential Dutch NGO, Oxfam-Novib. Participants were claiming to promote peace in the Great Lakes region but the final communiqué of the meeting was vague as to its objectives recommendations.

The organizers of the meeting placed guards at the hall’s entrance, to stop anyone suspected of being a Tutsi. An observer, whom I spoke with, compared this action to the roadblocks which were erected during the genocide of 1994; where those who had the right to life could pass but those who were condemned to death could not. One of the participants told me they had accepted the participation of a single Tutsi, on condition that he does not take any photographs. The same conditions had been imposed at another meeting held earlier in Brussels in February 2007.

While justifying their action, the DVA and Dusabane denied the meeting had gathered negationists and committed genocide perpetrators.[1] The authors of their press release stated they would pay no attention to allegations about “genocide deniers” and “organizations known to be apologists of the Tutsi Genocide and close allies to Genocidal forces”, because they react to demonstrated “facts and not to allegations.” They also said “Inside Rwanda, the term “genocidal ideologies” was untimely, used to falsely accuse individuals and/or organisations that the Government wants to threaten or jail.”

Paul Rusesabagina, who gained fame because of the film “Hotel Rwanda,” was the guest of honour and key speaker[2] at this meeting of April 2008, as well the one that preceded it held in Brussels in February 2007. Rusesabagina was accompanied by other bigots such as the Frenchman Pierre Péan, known for his anti-Tutsi hatred and racism. Rusesabagina, according to his promoters and himself, is said to have shown a lot of courage during the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, and specifically, to have saved the lives of more than 1000 people.

Thanks to the film, Rusesabagina has become so famous that he is now the beacon of all the organizations which preach the rationale and inevitability of the genocide of Tutsi. He has for some time been travelling all over the world, giving conferences and raising funds from benefactors, pretending the money will be used as aid to genocide survivors.

Another speaker at the April 2008 meeting was Robert Krueger, former American ambassador to Burundi from 1994-1996, which made him a “specialist of the Great Lakes region’s issues”[3]. In his speech, Krueger told the participants that nobody should be prosecuted for the crime of genocide. At another meeting held in Chicago, on 19th May 2008, he had said the same thing. He declared that the courts should not prosecute those accused of genocide due to their large number. He proposed that in order to achieve truth and reconciliation, the genocidaires should confess and be acquitted.

An end must be put to the support given to the criminals

Those who prepared this meeting of April 26, 2008 knew full well that they were bringing together people who were in some way involved with the genocide. If they did not see any problem in supporting a meeting in which a high official of the ultra-extremist Hutu group Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), Jean Baptiste Mugimba took an active part, it follows that the peace they claimed as their goal is a peace founded on the culture of impunity and promotion of genocidaires.

To host a meeting involving hardliner members of CDR can only be interpreted as support for the acts and ideas of the Hutu power militia (Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi) as a whole, and specifically for well known genocide planners such as Ndereyehe and Mugimba.

Let us be clear. That, some Rwandans meet to discuss their problems is not in itself, a problem. It is a problem when those people are advocates of a genocidal ideology, and have the support of European NGOs funded by their governments or by international bodies such as the European Union. Some of these organisations are from Holland—the same country which hosts a significant number of international courts/tribunals!

During my last visit to Holland to investigate this meeting, I wanted to know to what extent the members of the Dutch government and NGO’s were informed about the nature of the group of criminals who had initiated this meeting. I met with officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr W. Wooter Plomp and Mrs Marjolein Jongman, head of the Central and Southern African Desk and Department of Sub-Saharan Africa and Chargée d’affaires in the Sub-saharan Africa Department and Central Africa Division respectively.

Among the heads of NGOs of that country, I met with Rolf Van De Maas, Central Africa Programme Officer in Oxfam-Novib and Kees Van Den Broek, Programme Officer in CORDAID. I spoke on telephone with Carl Jansen of ICCO-Kerkinaktie. I had one question for these five persons: whether they knew RDR and its political line. They all answered in the negative and they did not even know that RDR had its head office in The Hague! Those in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked me what RDR stood for and who its members were.

I briefly explained to them that it was a group of persons who had played a great role in the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda or who supported the genocide ideology. They asked me whether the RDR was the same as the FDLR. I answered that RDR gave birth to FDLR and that they are still together in what is called FDU-Inkingi. I could not believe that they knew nothing about the RDR. Firstly, the RDR has its head office in The Hague and carries out its activities there. Secondly, a number of their own NGOs have sometimes been the spokespersons of the RDR, while the Dutch Government has helped greatly these NGOs. It was with this Dutch government money that Dutch NGOs financed the meetings of these criminals.

In any case, I believe the NGOs I spoke to, knew RDR better than did the Dutch government officials because of the long history that linked them. The NGO representatives I spoke to knew to what degree the Dutch NGOs are linked to Rwandan civil society and to what extent they support local organisations in Rwanda. Dutch NGOs have forged friendship relations with several Rwandan individuals working in some registered NGOs in Holland, some of whom took active part in the genocide against the Tutsi. But this does not prevent these European NGOs and their leaders from continuing to support their Hutu protégés, despite the crimes they committed against the Tutsi in 1994.

In addition to the issue of the RDR, I asked the three Dutch NGOs about a report which they published in 2003 in which they acted as spokespersons for the genocide perpetrators. One of the employees of OXFAM-NOVIB answered that he wasn’t there at that time. When I asked about the collaboration they had with some Belgian NGOs such as VRADESEILANDEN, he answered that he did not even know of it. The answers I got from these NGOs made me conclude that in those organisations, there were probably people who have been collaborating either clandestinely or unknowingly with genocide perpetrators for some years. It is a story which resembles that of 1994 or even prior to 1994.

The senior officials of CORDAID and OXFAM-NOVIB with whom I met, asked me to give them some information on the RDR. Were they of good faith? I doubt it because I can’t imagine that an NGO can support a “political party” in exile without knowing its exact nature and the justification of its existence. Whatever the case, I would hope that, this book will help their understanding of the RDR. At least, those who will continue supporting RDR will know that they are supporting an organisation whose raison d’être is genocide and its denial, because its membership and leadership comprises people who were deeply involved in that crime. The choice is theirs.

On December 9, 2008, I wrote an open letter to Mr Tim Cooke, who used to head the Africa Service of the BBC. It was a reply to an open letter of his, which I timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. I concluded my letter with questions which he has not answered to date:

–        Should an individual or an association which denies that there was the genocide of the Tutsis have the right to speak on the airwaves of the BBC-Gahuzamiryango, of which he is the head?

–        Should a person or an association which states publicly that the authors of the genocide should not be publicly brought to justice be given a forum for discussion on the radio, for example the one he works for?

–        Does Cooke believe that an individual or an association that argues that the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda was a necessary political undertaking is defending ideas which are politically acceptable?

–        Tell me honestly, what kind of support is given them when they are provided with airtime, as BBC does so often on its radio?

–        Does Cooke believe that ideas which are intended to divide people, which are racist and genocide denials deserve to be aired publicly and to be given free air-time on any radio, and especially the BBC, which is listened to by so many people? When BBC gives them a platform, doesn’t the think that such an act could have harmful consequences on a national scale in a country like Rwanda?

–        When the BBC invites people or associations who dare to argue that the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda had neither perpetrators nor victims, and that no one put a stop to it, what does BBC think is going to learn from them?

–        Is the BBC aware of the fact that the perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda are always looking for ways of using the press, especially international radios, to propagate the genocide? Does the BBC know that it is among those radio stations the genocidaires identified to manipulate for this purpose?

–        Does Cooke not think that the denial of genocide constitutes a reprehensible criminal act, and liable to be condemned by anyone of decency?

–        Is Cooke knowledgeable about the different strategies (especially when it comes to language) used by those who spread the ideology of genocide and by those who deny the genocide?

–        Does Cooke not believe that certain kind of information, either written or broadcast, can put the security of a person, or a group of people at risk, and even endanger their lives?

–        In its history, did the BBC radio dare to give as much room for expression to known Nazis and to those who deny the Shoah? If not, then, why should Cooke and the BBC think that the denial of the genocide of the Tutsis should be freely granted so much space on BBC airwaves? Is there, in Cooke’s eyes, a genocide whose denial can be professed so publicly without a reaction?

I believe that upon reading this book the BBC, and those who read the letter, will understand why the questions were asked and what it means to be a friend of evil.[4]


[1] Press release titled: “Hague Conference: facts speak for themselves, let nobody manipulate them”. It was signed by Cyriaque Mbonankira, (Chairman Duurzaam voor Afrika) and Ignace Rukeribuga, (Chairman  Dusabane) See: http://www.duurzaamvoorafrika.org/docs/Press_Release_30.04.08_ok.pdf

[2] The press release is silent on this but the meeting’s program which I received later shows his role. It is also stated on  http://www.olny.nl/RWANDA/Videos/Hague_Peace_Conference_26_April_2008.html#rusesabagina

[4] This is because part of the answer, was published in a book “After genocide”.

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