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Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System

Edward S. Herman, professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power (1981), The Real Terror Network (1982), and, with Noam Chomsky, The Political Economy of Human Rights (1979) and Manufacturing Consent (2002). David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago. He is coauthor, with Edward Herman, of “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,” Monthly Review (October 2007). This article is taken from Herman’s and Peterson’s new book, The Politics of Genocide, just published by Monthly Review Press.

Excerpted from The Politics of Genocide (Monthly Review Press, 2009).

Elsewhere we have written that the breakup of Yugoslavia “may have been the most misrepresented series of major events over the past twenty years.”1 But the far bloodier and more destructive invasions, insurgencies, and civil wars that have ravaged several countries in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa over the same years may have been subjected to even greater misrepresentation.

To a remarkable degree, all major sectors of the Western establishment swallowed a propaganda line on Rwanda that turned perpetrator and victim upside-down. In the much-cited 1999 study, “Leave None to Tell the Story”: Genocide in Rwanda, on behalf of Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Human Rights in Paris, Alison Des Forges writes that “By late March 1994, Hutu Power leaders were determined to slaughter massive numbers of Tutsi and Hutu opposed to [Hutu President Juvénal] Habyarimana,” and that on April 6, 1994, with the assassination of Habyarimana, “[a] small group of his close associates…decided to execute the planned extermination.”

Although “responsibility for killing Habyarimana is a serious issue,” writes Des Forges, it pales in comparison to “responsibility for the genocide. We know little about who assassinated Habyarimana.” This is a false statement, as we show in detail below. “We know more about who used the assassination as the pretext to begin a slaughter that had been planned for months” is true enough, but in exactly the opposite sense reported by Des Forges.2

During testimony at a major trial of four Hutu former military officers before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Des Forges acknowledged that by April 1992 (i.e., a full twenty-four months before “The Genocide” is alleged to have been perpetrated), the “government in charge of Rwanda [had become] a multiparty government, including Tutsi representatives, and it is for that reason alone that it is impossible to conclude that there was planning of a genocide by that government.”3

Although Des Forges tried to salvage the Hutu conspiracy model, alleging plans by individual Hutu members of the coalition government to use their “official powers” to carry out a preplanned genocide, this model disintegrated on cross-examination.4 Des Forges could not explain how Hutu “individuals” used these “powers” without the knowledge of their Tutsi and Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) associates. Furthermore, she was forced to admit that pro-RPF ministers were in cahoots with the RPF and its plans for war (which we describe below), and that after the Habyarimana assassination, the RPF did not simply respond in self-defense to a Hutu-organized killing spree, but initiated its own killing spree. In other words, while the Hutu members of Rwanda’s power-sharing government would have had great difficulty organizing a genocide against the Tutsi, the Tutsi-led RPF was well-positioned to paralyze any government response to plans it had developed—and that were implemented—to avoid the threat of a free election the RPF was destined to lose, to assassinate the Hutu president, and to take over the country by military force. Yet Des Forges’s dramatic concessions before the ICTR never turned up in the Western media, and in her public statements thereafter she continued to repeat the official propaganda line about a Hutu conspiracy to commit genocide, right up to the very end.5

To accept the standard model of “The Genocide,” one must ignore the large-scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Hutus by the RPF long before the April-July 1994 period, which began when Ugandan forces invaded Rwanda under President (and dictator) Yoweri Museveni on October 1, 1990. At its inception, the RPF was a wing of the Ugandan army, the RPF’s leader, Paul Kagame, having served as director of Ugandan military intelligence in the 1980s. The Ugandan invasion and resultant combat were not a “civil war,” but rather a clear case of aggression. However, the invasion led to no reprimand or cessation of support by the United States or Britain—and, in contrast to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait just two months before, which was countered in the Security Council by a same-day demand that Iraq withdraw its forces immediately—the Council took no action on the Ugandan invasion of Rwanda until March 1993. It did not even authorize an observer mission (UNOMUR) until late June 1993, the RPF by then having occupied much of northern Rwanda and driven out several hundred thousand Hutu farmers.6

It is clear that Museveni and the RPF were perceived as serving U.S. interests, and that the government of President Habyarimana was targeted for ouster.7 UN Security Council inaction flowed from this political bias. In his assessment of the years he spent representing U.S. interests in Africa, former Assistant Secretary of State Herman Cohen raised the question of why, as of October 1, 1990, the “first day of the crisis,” as he calls it, “did [the United States] automatically exclude the policy option of informing Ugandan President Museveni that the invasion of Rwanda by uniformed members of the Ugandan army was totally unacceptable, and that the continuation of good relations between the United States and Uganda would depend on his getting the RPF back across the border?”8 This question is naïve but revealing—the answer, like that to the question of why the United States lobbied for the withdrawal of UN forces from Rwanda as “The Genocide” was getting under way in April 1994, is that the Ugandan army and RPF were doing what the United States wanted done in Rwanda.

The United States and its allies worked hard in the early 1990s to weaken the Rwandan government, forcing the abandonment of many of the economic and social gains from the social revolution of 1959, thereby making the Habyarimana government less popular, and helping to reinforce the Tutsi minority’s economic power.9 Eventually, the RPF was able to achieve a legal military presence inside Rwanda, thanks to a series of ceasefires and other agreements. These agreements led to the Arusha Peace Accords of August 1993, pressed upon the Rwandan government by the United States and its allies, called for the “integration” of the armed forces of Rwanda and the RPF, and for a “transitional,” power-sharing government until national elections could be held in 1995.10 These Peace Accords positioned the RPF for its bloody overthrow of a relatively democratic coalition government, and the takeover of the Rwandan state by a minority dictatorship.

As we have already suggested, the established perpetrator-victim line requires suppression of the crucial fact that the April 6 shooting-down of the government jet returning Rwanda President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundi President Cyprian Ntaryamira to Kigali, that killed everyone onboard, was carried out by RPF commandos (as discussed below), and had been regarded by RPF planners as an essential first strike in its final assault on the government. Although the mass killings followed this assassination, with the RPF rapidly defeating any military resistance by the successor to Habyarimana’s coalition government and establishing its rule in Rwanda, these prime génocidaires were, and still are today, portrayed as heroic defenders of Rwanda’s national unity against Hutu “extremists” and the Interahamwe militia, who were the RPF’s actual victims.

Acceptance of this line also requires the suppression of a key verdict in a December 2008 Judgment by the ICTR.11 This seven-and-a-half year trial of four former high-ranking Hutu members of the Rwanda military produced an acquittal of all four defendants on the Tribunal’s most serious charge: participation in a conspiracy to commit genocide against the country’s Tutsi minority. To the contrary, the court ruled unanimously that the evidence was “consistent with preparations for a political or military power struggle and measures adopted in the context of an on-going war with the RPF that were used for other purposes from 6 April 1994.”12

Of course, it was the RPF that had been organized to carry out a “military power struggle” against Rwanda’s Hutu majority for several years prior to April 1994; and with its Tutsi base a numerical minority in the country (at most 15 percent overall), the RPF recognized that they would suffer an almost certain defeat in the free elections called for by the Arusha Accords. But the fact that the RPF itself conspired to assassinate Habyarimana and to carry out subsequent mass killings remains entirely beyond the grasp of the ICTR. Although it has failed to convict a single Hutu of conspiracy to commit genocide, the ICTR has never once entertained the question of an RPF conspiracy—despite the RPF’s rapid overthrow of the Hutu government and capture of the Rwandan state. This, we believe, flows from U.S. and allied support of the RPF, reflected in media coverage, humanitarian intellectuals’ and NGO activism, as well as the ICTR’s jurisprudence. Like the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the ICTR was a creation of the Security Council.13 Both have served Western, and notably U.S., purposes throughout their remit, but the ICTR has acted far more uncompromisingly than the ICTY—which makes this particular Judgment even more striking and important.14

Paul Kagame and the RPF were creatures of U.S. power from their origins in Uganda in the 1980s. Allan Stam, a Rwanda scholar who once served with the U.S. Army Special Forces, notes that Kagame “had spent some time at Fort Leavenworth…not too far before the 1994 genocide.” Fort Leavenworth is the U.S. Army’s “commander general staff college…where rising stars of the U.S. military and other places go to get training as they are on track to become generals. The training that they get there is on planning large scale operations. It’s not planning small-scale logistic things. It’s not tactics. It’s about how do you plan an invasion. And apparently [Kagame] did very well.”

By 1994, Kagame’s RPF possessed, in addition to the necessary manpower and material, a sophisticated plan for seizing power in Rwanda that, in its final execution, Stam says, “looks staggeringly like the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 1991.” Stam adds that the RPF launched its final assault on the Rwandan government almost immediately after the assassination of Habyarimana, within 60 to 120 minutes of the shooting-down of his jet, with “50,000 [RPF] soldiers mov[ing] into action on two fronts, in a coordinated fashion”—clearly “a plan that was not worked out on the back of an envelope.”15

So the Hutu conspiracy model, still at the center of establishment belief even if implicitly rejected by the ICTR, suffers from the RPF-Kagame locus of responsibility for the triggering event (the shoot-down of Habyarimana’s jet during its approach to Kigali airport) and the incredible speed and coordinated nature of the RPF’s military response, which again suggest detailed planning, and a different set of conspirators.

But there is also the fact that the alleged Hutu perpetrators of “The Genocide” were the ones driven from power, with several million Hutus sent fleeing from Rwanda by July 4, the date by which the RPF had taken Kigali. We also see that, before the end of July, Washington withdrew diplomatic recognition from the ousted government and awarded it to the RPF—the “entity that exercises effective control in Rwanda,” a State Department spokesman explained. And we see that, at the same time, Washington began dispatching U.S. troops and large-scale aid to Kigali,16 after having lobbied and voted at the Security Council on April 21 for a withdrawal of virtually all UN troops, over the objections of Rwanda’s ambassador,17 positively facilitating both the slaughters and the RPF’s conquest of power. If the established narrative about “who used the assassination as a pretext” were true, then Rwanda would be the first case in history in which a minority population, suffering destruction at the hands of its tormentors, drove its tormentors from power and assumed control of a country, all in the span of less than one hundred days. We find this incredible in the extreme.

So does a body of important but suppressed research. An investigation in July and August 1994, sponsored by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to document Hutu massacres of Tutsis, found instead massacres of Hutu civilians in RPF-controlled areas of Rwanda on the order of 25,000-45,000. This finding led the UNHCR to take the extraordinary step of blocking Hutu refugees from returning to Rwanda in order to protect them. Prepared by Robert Gersony, the report, covered in the New York Times, “concluded that there was ‘an unmistakable pattern of killings and persecutions’ by soldiers of the [RPF]…‘aimed at Hutu populations.’” But the Gersony report “set off a bitter dispute within the world organization and led the Secretary General to demand that the United Nations officials refrain from discussing it,” in an effort to placate the RPF and, more importantly, its Western sponsors.18 Officially, the report “does not exist” at the United Nations,19 and Gersony was instructed never to discuss his findings (a ban he has largely respected).20

A memorandum drafted in September 1994 for the eyes of Secretary of State Warren Christopher reported that the UNHCR team “concluded that a pattern of killing had emerged” in Rwanda, the “[RPF] and Tutsi civilian surrogates [killing] 10,000 or more Hutu civilians per month, with the [RPF] accounting for 95% of the killing.” This memorandum added that “the UNHR team speculated that the purpose of the killing was a campaign of ethnic cleansing intended to clear certain areas in the south of Rwanda for Tutsi habitation. The killings also served to reduce the population of Hutu males and discouraged refugees from returning to claim their lands.”21 The added significance of this campaign was that the south of Rwanda shares a border with northern Burundi, where a majority Tutsi population long has dwelled.

Separately, U.S. academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam estimated that more than one million deaths occurred in Rwanda from April through July 1994,22 concluding that the “majority of victims were likely Hutu and not Tutsi.” Initially sponsored by the ICTR, but later dropped by it, the Davenport-Stam work shows convincingly that the theaters where the killing was greatest correlated with spikes in RPF activity (i.e., with RFP “surges,” in their terminology), as a series of RPF advances, particularly in the month of April 1994, created roving patterns of killing. In fact, they describe at least seven distinct “surges” by the RFP (e.g., “they surged forward from the North downward into the Northwest and middle-eastern part of the country”), and every time, an RPF “surge” was accompanied by serious local bloodbaths.23 Then, in late 2009, Davenport-Stam reported what they called the “most shocking result” of their research to date: “The killings in the zone controlled by the FAR [i.e., the Hutu-controlled Armed Forces of Rwanda] seemed to escalate as the RPF moved into the country and acquired more territory. When the RPF advanced, large-scale killings escalated. When the RPF stopped, large-scale killings largely decreased.”24

With these facts, Davenport-Stam appeared to link the mass killings of 1994 to RPF actions. This work also suggests that the mass killings were not directed against the Tutsi population. Moreover, a number of observers, as well as participants in the events of 1994, claim that the great majority of deaths were Hutu, with some estimates as high as two million.25

Yet Davenport-Stam shy away from asserting the most important lesson of their work: not only that the majority of killings took place in those theaters where the RPF “surged,” but also that the RPF was the only well-organized killing force within Rwanda in 1994, and the only one that planned a major military offensive.26 Clearly, the chief responsibility for Rwandan political violence belonged to the RPF, and not to the ousted coalition government, the FAR, or any Hutu-related group. But Davenport-Stam are inconsistent on the question of likely perpetrators, with their evidence of probable RPF responsibility contradicted by assertions of primary responsibility on the part of the FAR.27

In short, their work does not break away from the mainstream camp, overall. However, they do acknowledge that forms of political violence took place, other than a straightforward Hutu “genocide” against the minority Tutsi—in itself, a rarity in Western circles. As with the suppressed Gersony report, the Davenport-Stam findings caused great dismay at the United Nations, not to mention in Washington and Kigali. Davenport and Stam themselves have been under attack and in retreat since they were expelled from Rwanda in November 2003, upon first reporting that the “majority of the victims of 1994 were of the same ethnicity as the government in power” and have been barred from entering the country ever since.28 The established narrative’s 800,000 or more largely Tutsi deaths resulting from a “preprogrammed genocide” committed by “Hutu Power” appears to have no basis in any facts, beyond the early claims by Kagame’s RPF and its politically motivated Western sponsors and propagandists.

We also know a lot more about “who assassinated Habyarimana.” In one of the most important, and also suppressed, stories about “The Genocide,” former ICTR investigator Michael Hourigan developed evidence as far back as 1996-1997, based on the testimony of three RPF informants who claimed “direct involvement in the 1994 fatal rocket attack upon the President’s aircraft,” and “specifically implicated the direct involvement of [Kagame]” and other members of the RPF. But in early 1997, when Hourigan hand-delivered his evidence to the ICTR’s chief prosecutor Louise Arbour, the latter was “aggressive” and “hostile,” Hourigan recounts in a 2006 affidavit,29 and advised him that the “investigation was at an end because in her view it was not in [the ICTR’s] mandate.” This decision, which “astounded” Hourigan, was rejected by former ICTR chief prosecutor Richard Goldstone, who told a Danish newspaper that the assassination was “clearly related to the genocide,” as it was the “trigger that started the genocide.”30

Suppressing evidence of the assassination’s perpetrator has been crucial in the West, as it seems awkward that the “trigger” for “The Genocide” was ultimately pulled, not by the officially designated Hutu villains, but by the Tutsi victors in this conflict, the RPF, long-supported by the United States and by its close allies (who very possibly aided the assassins in the shoot-down).31 It has also been important to suppress the fact that the first Hutu president of Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, had been assassinated by Tutsi officers in his army in October 1993, an action celebrated by the RPF and arousing fears among Rwanda’s Hutu.

A far more comprehensive eight-year investigation by the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière, who had been asked to rule on the deaths of the three French nationals operating the government jet that was shot down in April 1994, concluded that the assassination followed from Kagame’s rejection of the Arusha power-sharing accords of August 1993, and that for Kagame, the “physical elimination” of Habyarimana was therefore essential to achieving the goal of an RPF-takeover in Rwanda.32 Bruguière issued nine arrest warrants for high-ranking RPF members close to Kagame, and requested that the ICTR itself take up Kagame’s prosecution, as under French law, Bruguière could not issue an arrest warrant for a head of state.33

As best we can tell, the existence of Hourigan’s evidence has been reported only once in two U.S. newspapers (the Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times), and never in the New York Times, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal; Bruguière’s findings were mentioned in several U.S. newspapers (sixteen that we have found), including three short items in the Washington Post, a major report in the Los Angeles Times (reprinted in the Seattle Times), and one blurb apiece in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, which totaled ninety-four words.34 Interestingly, the U.S. media have reported fairly often on Bruguière’s work as a “counterterrorism” specialist in France, including several dozen items in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. But when we checked the U.S. media for Bruguière’s eight-year inquiry into mass killings in Rwanda—a case where his focus was on a U.S. client-agent as the primary villain—their interest declines to almost zero.35 The propaganda system works.

The invasions, assassinations, and mass slaughters by which the RPF shot its way to power in Kigali advanced many objectives, and their support by the “enlightened” states are regarded by many of the defense teams that practice before the ICTR as reflecting a quid pro quo between Washington and the RPF: Washington gains a strong military presence in Central Africa, a diminution of its European rivals’ influence, proxy armies to serve its interests, and access to the raw material-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, known as Zaire into 1997); while the RPF renews Tutsi-minority control of Rwanda, and gains a free hand to kill any perceived internal rivals, along with a client state’s usual immunities, money, weapons, foreign investment, and a great deal of international prestige.

One year after ICTY and ICTR chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte (successor to Louise Arbour) opened what she called the “Special Investigation” of the RPF in 2002, she was terminated as chief prosecutor at the ICTR, despite taking her plea directly to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whom Del Ponte called “inflexible” on the question. In her memoirs, Del Ponte recounts a June 2002 meeting with Kagame at his presidential abode in Kigali, during which Kagame, “fuming,” told her: “If you investigate [the RPF], people will believe there were two genocides….All we did was liberate Rwanda.” This was followed by a May 2003 meeting with Pierre-Richard Prosper, the Bush administration’s ambassador-at-large for war crimes, who, in Del Ponte’s words, “backed the Rwandans,” and “suggested that [she] surrender responsibility for investigating and prosecuting the alleged crimes of the RPF.” By the time Del Ponte was able to meet with Annan in New York in late July 2003, she told Annan, “This will be the end of the Special Investigation,” to which Annan replied: “Yes. I know.”36

“It is clear that it all started when we embarked on these Special Investigations,” Del Ponte told an interviewer after her position with the ICTR ended, “pressure from Rwanda contributed to the non-renewal of my mandate.”37 Doubtless, pressure from other sources with a lot more clout with the Security Council played an even greater role. Former ICTR (and ICTY) spokesperson Florence Hartmann also recounts extensive interference by the United States, Britain, and Kagame’s RPF in every effort by the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate RPF crimes.38 Hassan Jallow, Del Ponte’s successor at the ICTR, has stated on the record that he does not believe the assassination of Habyarimana belongs within the ICTR’s mandate. Under his charge (from September 2003 on), the Office of the Prosecutor systematically dragged its feet when it came to the crimes of the RPF, always pleading a need to carry out “additional inquiries,” without ever bringing a single indictment.39 Through the end of 2008, 100 percent of the ICTR’s indictments for “serious violations of international humanitarian law” committed during 1994 have been brought against Hutu members of the former government and ethnic Hutus more generally, and none against members of the RPF, despite the ICTR’s Statute, making no distinctions on the basis of ethnicity or political allegiance.40 Neither the RPF’s violent takeover of Rwanda, its massacre of “10,000 or more Hutu civilians” per month in 1994, nor any of its other numerous postwar slaughters, have ever once been disturbed by criminal charges at the ICTR.

Very big lies about Rwanda are now institutionalized and are part of the common (mis)understanding in the West. In reality, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame is one of the great mass murderers of our time, far surpassing Uganda’s former dictator Idi Amin.41 Yet, thanks to the remarkable myth structure that surrounds him, he enjoys immense popularity with his chief patron in Washington, his image of big-time killer transmuted into that of an honored savior, deserving strong Western support. Philip Gourevitch, one of Kagame’s prime apologists for many years, portrays him as an emancipator, a “man of action with an acute human and political intelligence,” who “made things happen.” He also compares Kagame to “another famously tall and skinny civil warrior, Abraham Lincoln.”42 A more recent hagiography by Stephen Kinzer portrays Kagame as the founding father of a New Africa, “one of the most amazing untold stories of the modern history of revolution,” as Kinzer explains it, because Kagame overthrew a dictatorship, stopped a genocide, and turned Rwanda into “one of the great stars” of the continent, with Western investment and favorable PR flowing.43 In fact, what Kagame overthrew was a multiethnic, power-sharing, coalition government; what Kagame imposed was a Tutsi-dominated dictatorship; and what Kagame turned Rwanda and the whole of Central Africa into was a rolling genocide that is ongoing. But it is true that he is a shining “star” in the Western firmament and its propaganda system.

According to this same myth structure, “The United States did almost nothing to try to stop [the Hutu genocide],” in Samantha Power’s view, but instead “stood on the sidelines” as “bystanders to genocide.”44 But this is doubly false. What the United States and its Western allies (Britain, Canada, and Belgium) really did was to sponsor the U.S.-trained Kagame; support his invasion of Rwanda from Uganda and the massive ethnic cleansing prior to April 1994; weaken the Rwandan state by forcing an economic recession and the RPF’s penetration of the government and throughout the country; and then press for the complete removal of UN troops. They did this because they didn’t want UN troops to stand in the way of Kagame’s conquest of the country, even though Rwanda’s Hutu authorities were urging the dispatch of more UN troops.45

Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali also wanted to increase UN troop strength,46 and complained bitterly in his memoirs about the “obstruction” caused by the Clinton administration: “The U.S. effort to prevent the effective deployment of a UN force for Rwanda succeeded, with the strong support of Britain,” he wrote; the Security Council “meekly followed the United States’ lead.”47 (We may recall that Samantha Power also claimed that the United States “looked away” when Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, when in fact the United States gave Indonesia the go-ahead, the arms to carry out the invasion, and diplomatic protection in the United Nations. Whenever the United States colludes in a genocidal process, Power pretends that U.S. guilt, at worst, comes from remaining a mere “bystander”; never from acting as an accomplice, let alone a perpetrator.)

In the Rwanda “genocide” case, the “human rights” community played an unusually active role in supporting the real aggressors and killers, in close parallel with their own governments’ perspectives and policies. As in the case of the Western aggressions against Yugoslavia (1999) and Iraq (2003), Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations simply ignored the “supreme international crime” (or “act of aggression by Uganda,” in Herman Cohen’s phrase), while conveniently, and in hugely biased fashion, paying attention to lesser human rights violations.48 They downplayed or ignored entirely the refugee crisis created by the Ugandan-RPF invasion and occupation of northern Rwanda and the armed penetration and de facto subversion of the rest of the country by the RPF. Every response to these by the Habyarimana government, from October 1990 on, was scrutinized for “human rights” violations and framed as evidence of unlawful state repression. The NGOs systematically evaded the massive evidence of RPF responsibility for the April 6, 1994, shoot-down, surely because the finding conflicts with their deep commitment to the model of a preplanned Hutu genocide and the RPF’s self-defensive rescue of Rwanda—the twin components of the established perpetrator-victim line. We believe that their biases played an important role in supporting the RPF’s aggression, its penetration of the country, and the execution of its final assault on power. Above all, we believe that their biases and propaganda contributed substantially to the mass killings that followed—all in accord with the needs of actual U.S. policy.

On March 8, 1993, just days before the Security Council took up the situation in Rwanda for the first time, a consortium of four human rights organizations led by Human Rights Watch and calling itself the International Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda issued its Report.49 The Commission concluded that, rather than Rwanda’s having suffered an invasion by Uganda, from which the Habyarimana government had yet to liberate its country, the Habyarimana government was instead guilty of something very close to a genocidal rampage against the country’s Tutsi minority, with 2,000 dead since October 1990, “systematic killings,” widespread rape, and a “climate of terror.”50 Alison Des Forges, one of the Commission’s co-chairs, later commented that this report “put Rwandan human rights abuses squarely before the international community.”51 But it was only the Habyarimana government’s alleged abuses on which the Commission focused.

The Commission produced its report after its members spent no more than two weeks on the ground in Rwanda in January of that year, and only two hours in territory controlled by the RPF. The Commission itself had close ties to the RPF, its sponsors “either directly funded by the RPF or infiltrated by it,” Robin Philpot reports.52 Prior to her work on this Commission, Des Forges had worked for the U.S. Department of State and National Security Council.

William Schabas, a Canadian member of the Commission, issued a press release at the time the full report was released that bore the title “Genocide and War Crimes in Rwanda”53—drawing attention to a category of crime that not even the establishment narrative alleges was to begin for another thirteen months. Stressing that, in the work of the Commission the “word genocide has been mentioned on a number of occasions,” Daniel Jacoby, the president of the International Federation of Human Rights League, stated that the situation in Rwanda “is not simply an ethnic confrontation. It goes beyond that. Responsibility for the killings can be placed extremely high.”54 Human Rights Watch’s annual World Report covering 1993 noted that, when the RPF launched its major offensive that year, “it justified the offensive in part by the need to counter human rights abuses of the Rwanda government” such as those put squarely before the world by the Commission’s report. In short, with the brunt of its findings coming down against the Habyarimana government, the Commission’s work served to delegitimize the government of Rwanda and enhance the legitimacy of the armed forces of the RPF. As the RPF quickly used the Commission’s claims to justify a new killing spree, we believe the case can be made that the overall impact of this report—and of the work of HRW and its allies with respect to Rwanda over the past two decades—was to underwrite the mass killings to follow, including the vast numbers in the DRC, regularly explained as carried out by the benevolent RPF and Uganda in search of Hutu “génocidaires.”

In a study we conducted for The Politics of Genocide, we found that the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda were referred to as “genocide” more frequently than in any other theater of atrocities—i.e., 3,199, or nearly triple the number for Darfur.55 This, we believe, follows from the successful framing of the Hutus as the villains, executing a preplanned “genocide” against the Tutsis (a nefarious and mythical bloodbath at one and the same time) and Kagame’s RPF as the defender-savior of the Tutsis and of Rwanda and Central Africa as a whole, with the RPF unexpectedly finding itself one day the new power in the country. But it also cleared the ground for Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni—Kagame’s ally and the two staunchest U.S. clients in the region—to invade and occupy the DRC and beyond periodically, without opposition from the “international community.”

The Pentagon has very actively supported these invasions of the DRC, even more heavily than it supported the RPF’s drive to take Kigali. This support led to the killing of many thousands of Hutu refugees in a series of mass slaughters (ca. 1994-1997), and also provided cover for a greater series of Kagame-Museveni assaults on the DRC that have destabilized life in this large country of perhaps sixty million people, with millions perishing in the process.56 In his letter of resignation to Chief Prosecutor Hassan Jallow, Filip Rentjens, a Dutch academic and one-time expert witness before the ICTR, took issue with the “impunity” that protects the RPF leadership from prosecution. “[RPF] crimes fall squarely within the mandate of the ICTR,” he wrote. “[T]hey are well documented, testimonial and material proof is available, and the identity of the RPF suspects is known….It is precisely because the regime in Kigali has been given a sense of impunity that, during the years following 1994, it has committed massive internationally recognized crimes in both Rwanda and the DRC.”57

This again has been compatible with Western interests and policy, as it contributed to the replacement of Mobutu with the more amenable Laurent Kabila (and later his son Joseph), and the opening up of the DRC to a new surge of ruthless exploitation of precious gems, rare industrial minerals, and timber by Western companies in a different kind of “resource war”—a fine illustration of “shock therapy” with murderous human consequences for the Congolese people. This plunder is the equivalent of “one tsunami every six months” for more than a decade,58 but with large gains for a small business and military elite. In a series of UN reports, which coined the phrase “elite networks” to denote the “politically and economically powerful groups involved in the exploitation activities” that lie at the heart of the DRC genocide, we read that “The war economy controlled by the three elite networks [Kinshasa, Kigali, and Kampala] operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo dominates the economic activities of much of the Great Lakes region….Years of lawlessness and a Government incapable of protecting its citizens have allowed the armed groups to loot and plunder the country’s resources with impunity….They have built up a self-financing war economy centered on mineral exploitation”—and sales to the transnationals that manufacture the personal computers and cell phones of our everyday lives.59

The U.S.-supported leaders Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni have undeniably been key actors in the terrible bloodbaths of the DRC. Considering their U.S. support, these were benign bloodbaths, in contrast with killings in Darfur or Kosovo. In research for our book, we found that in only seventeen items in the large number of newspapers we surveyed did someone refer to deaths in the DRC as “genocide.” This amounted to one “genocide” reference for every 317,647 deaths (based on an estimated 5,400,000 deaths for the period under consideration). When we contrast this with how the same newspapers treated, say, the nefarious bloodbath of the Kosovo Albanians that was attributable to an official enemy, where only twelve deaths were necessary to receive one “genocide” reference,60 the basic outline of the politics of genocide could not be made more stark or clear.


  1. Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,” Monthly Review 59, no. 5 (October 2007), 1.
  2. Allison Des Forges, “Leave None to Tell the Story”: Genocide in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999), 5-6, 185.
  3. See Prosecutor v. Augustin Ndindiliyimana (or Military II) (ICTR-00-56-I), Transcript, September 19, 2006, 4, lines 13-22. Here we note that, in contrast to the trials and related courtroom activity before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which transcribes and archives to its official website virtually everything (except for redacted materials), virtually none of the trial and related courtroom activity before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is archived on the ICTR’s official website. In consequence, we are unable to provide Web links to much of the ICTR’s material.
  4. For the extended testimony of Prosecution witness Alison Des Forges, see Prosecutor v. Augustin Ndindiliyimana, September 18, 2006, through October 16, 2006, which produced a total of seventeen days of testimony. Given that Rwanda’s civilian intelligence services were in the hands of a pro-Rwandan Patriotic Front minister, three consecutive prime ministers under a power-sharing accord had been either pro- or subsidized by the RPF, and Rwanda’s “integrated” military then combined the armed forces of the Tutsi-led RPF that was seeking the overthrow of the government alongside the government’s regular army, the cross-examination of Des Forges from September 21 on shows her failing to support the standard model of the “Rwandan genocide.”
  5. Alison Des Forges died in a commuter plane crash on February 12, 2009, while returning to her home in Buffalo, New York. An obituary written by Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth praised his longtime colleague for “her central role in the prosecution of the Hutus” (“A Heroine for Human Rights,” Huffington Post, February 15, 2009). It is true that Des Forges acted energetically on behalf of the Prosecution at the ICTR and in similar venues against the Hutu in general, but the perception of her “expertise” flowed less from her knowledge of Rwanda, than her tirelessness as an advocate for the standard model of the “Rwandan genocide,” and the thoroughness with which this model has been institutionalized in the United States and Britain. In 1991, Des Forges went to Rwanda on behalf of the U.S. government, and in her own words, “attempted to put my knowledge into a policy-oriented framework.” “What was new was the relationship to the United States government,” she explained. Later, “I went to Rwanda in July of ‘92 as a consultant to the United States government, again for the same democracy project. Then I went back in the first part of January ‘93 as the co-chair of an international commission to investigate human rights abuses in Rwanda.” (Here quoting Des Forges’s testimony in Prosecutor of the Tribunal Against Jean Paul Akayasu (ICTR-96-4), Transcript, February 12, 1997, 112-14.) As the real policy of the U.S. government from at least 1990 on was regime-change in Rwanda, namely, the ouster of the Hutu government by the RPF, as well as the ouster of France from the region (France had backed the Hutu government), we can easily see how Des Forges’s work beginning in 1991 helped provide cover for the U.S. takeover of as many as four countries via its proxies in Uganda and the RPF in Rwanda. In short, Alison Des Forges’s career is best understood in terms of the services she performed on behalf of U.S. power-projection in Central Africa, with this policy-oriented work couched in the rhetoric of “human rights.” In the process, Des Forges badly misinformed a whole generation of scholars, activists, and the cause of peace and justice.
  6. See Jonathan Clayton, “Rwanda to appeal to UN Security Council on rebel invasion,” Reuters, October 15, 1990; UN Security Council Resolution 812 (S/RES/812), March 12, 1993; and UN Security Council Resolution 846 (S/RES/846), June 22, 1993.
  7. For compelling evidence on this point, see Robin Philpot, Rwanda 1994: Colonialism Dies Hard (E-Text as posted to the Taylor Report Website, 2004), esp. Chap. 1-7.
  8. Herman J. Cohen, Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacemaking in a Troubled Continent (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 177-78.
  9. See Philpot, Rwanda 1994, esp. the Conclusion.
  10. See the Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front, signed at Arusha on 4 August 1993 (A/48/824-S/26915) U.N. General Assembly, December 23, 1993. A total of seven documents were gathered together as the “Arusha Peace Accords,” the earliest the N’Sele Cease-fire Agreement dating from 1991.
  11. See Judgment, The Prosecutor v. Théoneste Bagosora et al. (ICTR-98-41-T), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, December 18, 2008. The four defendants in this case were “Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, the directeur de cabinet of the Ministry of Defence, General Gratien Kabiligi, the head of the operations bureau (G-3) of the army general staff, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, the commander of the elite Para Commando Battalion, and Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, the commander of the Gisenyi operational sector” (para. 1).
  12. Ibid., para. 13, quoting from the Oral Summary of the case read in court the day the verdict was delivered. For the Judgment‘s full discussion of the acquittal on this charge, see Sect. 2.1, “Conspiracy to Commit Genocide,” para. 2084-2112.
  13. See UN Security Council Resolution 827 (S/RES/827), May 25, 1993, which established the ICTY to “prosecut[e] persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1 January 1991 and a date to be determined by the Security Council upon the restoration of peace.” (para. 2); and see UN Security Council Resolution 955 (S/RES/955), November 8, 1994, which established the ICTR to “prosecut[e] persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994” (para. 1).
  14. For criticisms of the ICTY, see Michael Mandel, How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity (Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2004); and John Laughland Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice (New York: Pluto Press, 2007). For criticisms of the ICTR, see Hans Köchler, Global Justice or Global Revenge: International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads (New York: Springer-Verlag Wien, 2003); and Charles Onana, Les Secrets de la Justice Internationale: Enquêtes truquées sur le génocide rwandais (Paris: Editions Duboiris, 2005).
  15. Allan C. Stam, “Coming to a New Understanding of the Rwanda Genocide,” a lecture before the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, February 18, 2009, our transcription.
  16. “Rwandan embassy closed, U.S. seeks to remove Rwanda from UN Council,” Agence France Presse, July 15, 1994; “Clinton Orders Nonstop Aid Flights for Rwandan Victims,” Associated Press, July 22, 1994; “U.S. recognizes new government in Rwanda,” Reuters, July 29, 1994; “200 U.S. troops going into Kigali to open airport,” Reuters, July 29, 1994.
  17. See UN Security Council Resolution 912 (S/RES/912), April 21, 1994, para. 8. The force levels of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda were reduced to a target of 270 infantry, down from 1515 on April 20, and 2,165 as of April 6. In the words of Rwandan UN Ambassador Jean-Damascène Bizimana: “[T]he international community does not seem to have acted in an appropriate manner to reply to the anguished appeal of the people of Rwanda. This question has often been examined from the point of view of the ways and means to withdraw [UNAMIR], without seeking to give the appropriate weight to the concern of those who have always believed, rightly, that, in view of the security situation now prevailing in Rwanda, UNAMIR’s members should be increased to enable it to contribute to the re-establishment of the cease-fire and to assist in the establishment of security conditions that could bring an end to the violence….The option chosen by the Council, reducing the number of troops in UNAMIR…is not a proper response to this crisis.” “The situation concerning Rwanda,” UN Security Council (S/PV.3368), April 21, 1994, 6.
  18. Raymond Bonner, “U.N. Stops Returning Rwandan Refugees,” New York Times, September 18, 1994. Also see Chris McGreal and Edward Luce, “Death Threats Force Out Aid Workers,” The Guardian, October 3, 1994; Jean-Michel Stoullig, “UN spotlights claims of summary Rwandan reprisal killings,” Agence France Presse, October 4, 1994.
  19. See the treatment of the Gersony Report in Des Forges, “Leave None to Tell the Story,” specifically “The Gersony Mission,” 726-732, which reproduces the UNHCR letter stating that the Gersony Report “does not exist” (727).
  20. See the recollection of a meeting with Robert Gersony in Gérard Prunier, Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 15-16; and n.59-62, 373. As Prunier describes it: “Gersony’s conclusion was that between early April and mid-September 1994 the RPF had killed between 25,000 and 45,000 people, including Tutsis. The UNHCR, which had commissioned the study for quite a different purpose, was appalled” (16).
  21. George E. Moose, “Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda,” Information Memorandum to The Secretary, U.S. Department of State, undated though clearly drafted between September 17 and 20, 1994. This document was called to our attention by Peter Erlinder, the director of the Rwanda Documents Project at William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, ICTR Military-1 Exhibit, DNT 264.
  22. Christian Davenport and Allan Stam, Rwandan Political Violence in Space and Time, unpublished manuscript, 2004 (available at Christian Davenport’s personal website, “Project Writings“). For all of Rwanda from April through July 1994, these authors report a total of 1,063,336 deaths (28), based on their analysis of a minimum of eight different mortality estimates for the relevant period.
  23. Ibid., see esp. 30-33.
  24. Christian Davenport and Allan C. Stam, “What Really Happened in Rwanda?“ Miller-McCune, October 6, 2009.
  25. In 1999, former RPF military officer Christophe Hakizimana submitted a letter to the UN Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of the United Nations during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda (S/1999/1257). In his letter, which detailed the RPF’s military strategy from 1990 on, Hakizimana claimed that the RPF was responsible for killing as many as two million Hutu in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and he informed the Commission that by indicting Hutu, the ICTR was focusing on the wrong side in the conflict. We base this on personal communications with the international criminal lawyer Christopher Black of Toronto, who, since 2000, has served as defense counsel before the ICTR on behalf of the Hutu General Augustin Nindiliyimana, a former Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Gendarmerie (or National Police).
  26. For a more critical discussion of these issues, see Stam, “Coming to a New Understanding of the Rwanda Genocide,” and our discussion of this above.
  27. See Davenport and Stam, Rwandan Political Violence in Space and Time, 2004. Davenport-Stam organize their work according to three “jurisdictions” that we find deeply flawed: Namely, territory controlled by the Rwandan government and army, by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, and territory that falls along the lines of battle between the two. They write that “the actor with the greatest monopoly of coercion within a specific locale is generally held to be responsible for violent behavior in that locale” (25). (Also see Figure 1, “1994 Rwandan Political Violence: Total Deaths by Troop Control,” 29.) On the basis of this problematic assumption, Davenport-Stam contend that as “the majority of deaths took place within areas under the control of [the Rwandan government and army]—totaling 891, 295,” the government and army are responsible for these deaths, which “could be classified” as genocide, among other possible crimes (28). But as the RPF in fact moved rapidly and decisively from battlefield success to battlefield success to control of the entire country, it is frankly counterintuitive to treat the badly out-gunned, out-maneuvered, and ultimately routed government forces as in control of anything. On the contrary, the chief responsibility for Rwandan political violence in 1994 lay with the RPF and its project of driving the coalition government from power and seizing the Rwandan state.
  28. Davenport and Stam, “What Really Happened in Rwanda?“
  29. Affidavit of Michael Andrew Hourigan, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, November 27, 2006. For other sources that discuss the suppression of the Hourigan memorandum, see Philpot, Rwanda 1994, esp. Chap. 6, “It shall be called a plan crash”; Mark Colvin, “Questions unanswered 10 years after Rwandan genocide,” PM, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 30, 2004; Mark Doyle, “Rwanda ’plane crash probe halted’,” BBC News, February 9, 2007; and Nick McKenzie, “UN ’shut down’ Rwanda probe,” The Age, February 10, 2007.
  30. Richard Goldstone’s remarks were reported by the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende. We are taking them from ”ICTR/Attack—April 6th 1994 Attack Fits the ICTR’s Mandate (Goldstone),” Hirondelle News Agency, December 13, 2006.
  31. See Philpot, Rwanda 1994, Chap. 6, “It shall be called a plane crash.”
  32. See Jean-Louis Bruguière, Request for the Issuance of International Arrest Warrants, Tribunal de Grande Instance, Paris, France, November 21, 2006, 15-16 (para. 100-103).
  33. Andrew England, “Rwanda president faces arrest,” Financial Times, November 22, 2006; Chris McGreal, “French judge accuses Rwandan President of assassination,” The Guardian, November 22, 2006; Fergal Keane, “Will we ever learn the truth about this genocide?” The Independent, November 22, 2006.
  34. Findings based on both Factiva (tnwp) and NewsBank searches from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2008. The sole truly serious effort in a U.S. newspaper to report and analyze both Michael Hourigan’s and Judge Bruguière’s work was Sebastian Rotella, “French Magistrate Posits Theory on Rwandan Assassination,” Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2007 (later reprinted in the Seattle Times).
  35. Findings based on both Factiva (tnwp) and NewsBank searches from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2008. Using the Factiva database to search the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post for mentions of the name ”Bruguière,” we found approximately 100 items; but when we narrowed this search down to Bruguière’s work in relation to Rwanda, we found only five items in all. Likewise with the NewsBank database for all U.S. newspapers: Bruguière’s work was reported in well over 400 items, but his work in relation to Rwanda in only 17.
  36. Carla Del Ponte, with Chuck Sudetic, Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity: A Memoir (New York: Other Press, 2009), esp. Chap. 9, “Confronting Kigali: 2002 and 2003,” 223-241. Also see Steven Edwards, “Del Ponte says UN caved to Rwandan pressure,” National Post, September 17, 2003.
  37. Interview with Carla Del Ponte—‘If I Had Had the Choice, I Would Have Remained Prosecutor of the ICTR’,” Hirondelle News Agency, September 16, 2003.
  38. See Florence Hartmann, Paix et Chatiment: Les Guerres Secretes de la Politique et de la Justice Internationales (Paris: Flammarion, 2007), 261-75.
  39. ICTR/Military I—Dallaire Wanted Americans to Investigate on Presidential Plane Crash,” Hirondelle News Agency, February 9, 2004. In one illustration of Jallow’s foot-dragging, he told the UN Security Council in December 2005 that the “allegations made against the Rwandan Patriotic Front have also been under consideration. Following the evaluation of the results of earlier investigations, it has become necessary to carry out additional inquiries into these allegations.” (UN Security Council (S/PV.5328), December 15, 2005, 14.) But Jallow’s “additional inquiries” were strictly pro forma, and the same delaying tactics served him through the end of 2008, at which date, no member of the RPF had ever been indicted by the ICTR, notwithstanding the chief prosecutor’s “additional inquiries.”
  40. For the ICTR’s founding Statute, see the Annex to UN Security Council Resolution 955 (S/RES/955), November 8, 1994. For a complete list of every case ever to have been indicted by the ICTR, see “Status of Cases.”
  41. Conservative estimates of the number of Ugandans killed under the Idi Amin dictatorship (1971-1979) are 100,000 victims, with high-end estimates of some 300,000. See Richard H. Ulmann, “Human Rights and Economic Power: The United States Versus Idi Amin,” Foreign Affairs, April, 1978. As Ulmann noted at the time, “In any contemporary lexicon of horror, Uganda is synonymous with state-become-slaughterhouse.” This is manifestly not true of Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo in the areas under Kagame-RPF control: No matter how many lives Kagame and the RFP have taken, and these number many times the Idi Amin toll, their reign of terror has never entered the contemporary lexicon of horror.
  42. Philip Gourevitch, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda (New York: Picador, 1998), 225. Gourevitch concludes: “Kagame had proven himself quite effective at getting what he wanted, and if Kagame truly wanted to find an original response to his original circumstances, the only course open to him was emancipation. That was certainly how he presented it, and I didn’t doubt that that was what he wanted.” 226.
  43. Stephen Kinzer, A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008). Here we are quoting Kinzer’s own words from a two-minute promotional video that his publisher circulated in 2008. (See “Kinzer speaks about the President Kagame,” as posted to YouTube.) At the hagiographic extreme for the literature on Paul Kagame and Rwanda, every chapter of Kinzer’s book is introduced by quotes from Kagame (“For me, human rights is about everything” (Chap. 18)). “Kagame is the man of the hour in modern Africa,” Kinzer writes. ”The eyes of all who hope for a better Africa are upon him. No other leader has made so much out of so little, and none offers such encouraging hope for the continent’s future.” 337.
  44. Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Harper Perennial, 2002), 334-335. Also see Power, “Bystanders to Genocide,” The Atlantic, September, 2001.
  45. See the statement by the Rwandan UN Ambassador Jean-Damascène Bizimana at n.17, above.
  46. See Special Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (S/1994/470), April 20, 1994, specifically “Alternative 1,” para. 13-14, which Boutros-Ghali himself endorsed.
  47. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Unvanquished: A U.S.-U.N. Saga (New York: Random House, 1999), 129-41; here 138, 135. According to Robin Philpot, Boutros-Ghali told him on the record that “The genocide in Rwanda was 100 percent the responsibility of the Americans!” See the Introduction to Philpot, Rwanda 1994.
  48. See Edward S. Herman, David Peterson, and George Szamuely, “Human Rights Watch in Service to the War Party,” Electric Politics, February 26, 2007.
  49. See Report of the International Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in Rwanda since October 1, 1990 (New York, March, 1993). Besides Africa Watch (Human Rights Watch, USA), the other NGOs behind this Commission were the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (France), the Inter-African Union for Human Rights and the Rights of Peoples, and the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada).
  50. Ibid. In a section titled “The Question of Genocide,” after laying out Article II of the Genocide Convention, the Commission concluded that “many Rwandans have been killed for the sole reason that they were Tutsi,” although it added that “casualty figures…may be below the threshold required to establish genocide,” 29. Besides Africa Watch (Human Rights Watch, USA), the other NGOs behind this Commission were the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (France), the Inter-African Union for Human Rights and the Rights of Peoples, and the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada).
  51. Des Forges, “Leave None to Tell the Story, 93.
  52. Philpot, Rwanda 1994, Chap. 4, “Scouts at Her Majesty’s Service.”
  53. Linda Melvern, A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide (New York: Zed Books, 2000), 56.
  54. “Rwanda: Report blames government for mass slayings,” Inter Press Service, March 8, 1993.
  55. See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2010), Table 1: “Differential attributions of ‘genocide’ to different theaters of atrocities,” 35.
  56. See Benjamin Coghlan et al., Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: An Ongoing Crisis, International Rescue Committee-Burnet Institute, January, 2008, ii. Also see the accompanying Press Release, January 22, 2008.
  57. Filip Reyntjens’ January 11, 2005 letter of resignation to Hassan Jallow is quoted in John Laughland, A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein (New York: Peter Lang Ltd., 2008), 211. The Reyntjens letter continued: “Article 6(2) of the [ICTR’s] Statute explicitly rules out immunity, including for Heads of state or government or for responsible government officials. This principle is contravened when, as is currently the case, a message is sent out that those in power need not fear prosecution,” 211-12.
  58. The phrase “one tsunami every six months” was used in reference to the eastern Congo by then-head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, based on the belief at the time that the December 26, 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean had taken 300,000 lives. Hence, in Egeland’s words: “In terms of the human lives lost…this is the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today and it is beyond belief that the world is not paying more attention.” In Peter Daou, “Congo Crisis: ‘One Tsunami Every Six Months,’” AlertNet, March 17, 2005.
  59. See the final two reports by Mahmoud Kassem et al. of the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: S/2002/1146, October 8, 2002 (para. 152-153, 12); and S/2003/1027, October 15, 2003. Also see Björn Aust and Willem Jaspers, From Resource War to “Violent Peace”: Transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bonn International Center for Conversion, Paper No. 50, 2006. These authors note that approximately one-third of the earth’s known cobalt deposits, and two-thirds of its known columbo tantalite (coltan) deposits, are to be found in the DRC (Appendix 2, 149).
  60. Based on an estimated 4,000 deaths for the period under consideration.
2010, Volume 62, Issue 01 (May)
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