Posts Tagged ‘Rwanda’

New York Times, JEFFREY GETTLEMAN and JOSH KRON Aug 31 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya — Rwanda stepped up its threats on Tuesday to withdraw thousands of peacekeepers from Sudan if the United Nations publishes a report that accuses Rwandan forces of massacring civilians and possibly committing genocide in Congo years ago. Rwanda appears to be trying to play hardball with the United Nations and is using the fact that the country plays a linchpin role in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan for maximum leverage. Rwanda has 3,300 peacekeepers in Darfur, and a Rwandan general is in charge of the entire 21,800-strong United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission there.

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Max Fisher August 29, 2010 The Atlantic Wire

A leaked United Nations report on the Rwandan genocide makes the explosive charge that the Rwandan Army, long credited with helping to end the infamous 1994 genocide of ethnic Tutsis, committed hundreds of acts of genocide against ethnic Hutu refugees in 1996-1997. The document, first reported by French newspaper Le Monde, states, “The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces.” The report implicates much of Rwanda’s current government, including President Paul Kagame, in joining with Congolese rebels to slaughter Rwandan refugees who had fled to the Congo. Rwanda is challenging the accusations, saying they only attacked members of the Hutu militias responsible for the 1994 genocide. The UN report risks seriously complicating the always-tenuous politics of Central Africa, where Rwanda has become a beacon of stability. Here’s what reporters and Rwanda-watchers have to say about the report.

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UN Dispatch

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From InLawGrrls’ Naomi Norberg, 24 May 2009

In the first-ever application of Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000), the Cour supérieure of Québec found Désiré Munyaneza (left, credit) guilty of all 7 counts pending against him since 2005: genocide (intentional murder and serious bodily or mental harm), crimes against humanity (intentional murder and sexual violence) and war crimes (intentional murder, sexual violence and pillage). The charges stem from acts committed between 06 April and 04 July 1994 in Rwanda. The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act implements the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court and the Québec court’s decision, delivered by Judge André Denis, addresses an international audience, abundantly citing case law from the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
Commentators are saying this may be just the beginning of further such trials. Indeed, one of the major obstacles in transnational trials was overcome here: almost all the witnesses hailed from beyond Canada and spoke a foreign language (Kinyarwanda). The judge’s “unshakable faith” in their testimony apparently surprised the defense, which has has already made its intention to appeal known.The decision is available here.

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AFP, 22 May 2009

KIGALI (AFP) — A Rwandan high court has rejected a bid by the wife of Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda to release him, a rights group said Friday.

The High Court of Rwanda said on Thursday that Elisee Nkunda’s appeal “did not respect the law” and ordered her to pay legal costs, the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL) reported on its website.

Elisee Nkunda’s lawyer said earlier this month she had filed legal papers demanding for her husband’s release, after he was arrested by Rwandan forces on January 22 and held in a secret location.

The former general’s wife had launched an appeal to the High Court after a Rwandan tribunal had earlier dismissed her case.

One of the lawyers for Nkunda, who had led the Tutsi rebel group the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), Richard Rwihandagaza vowed Thursday to track down the person responsible for his client’s arrest.

Nkunda’s arrest was a dramatic turnaround, with Rwanda accused only weeks earlier by Democratic Republic of Congo of backing the cashiered Congolese general.

Nkunda had claimed to be protecting local Tutsis from Rwandan rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), some of whom participated in the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.

He accused Kinshasa and pro-government Mai Mai militia of backing the Rwandan rebels, while the Congolese authorities in turn accused Kigali of backing Nkunda.

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AFP, 06 April 2009

MONTREAL (AFP) — Fifteen years after the Rwandan genocide, which saw the massacre of some 800,000 people, prosecutors say hundreds of suspected perpetrators are still at large.

They include many of those on the wanted list of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), presumed to be living under false identities in Belgium, Canada, France, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) experts say.

Some are out in the open claiming political refugee status, as they are eyed with suspicion by families of the victims.

After the massacre of the Tutsi minority many Hutu militants fled the troops of Rwandan President Paul Kagame to neighboring DRC, still holding on to their weapons.

Some, like Felicien Kabuga, who allegedly bankrolled the 1994 massacre, stayed in Africa, in places Kenya, which according to the ICTR refuses to apprehend him.

But others chose to leave Africa’s Great Lakes region and are now living in exile in North America and Europe, especially in Belgium and Canada where hundreds reside, according to Rwandan prosecutors.

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AFP, 23 March 2009

THE HAGUE (AFP) — A court in The Hague on Monday sentenced a Rwandan man to 20 years in prison for torturing to death two women and their four children during the 1994 genocide in his country.

The prosecution had called for a life sentence.

An appeal court had previously ruled he could not face charges of genocide in the absence of sufficient evidence.

Joseph Mpambara, 40, was tried in the Netherlands as part of an agreement between several European countries and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) under which they try genocide suspects in their national courts.

He was the first Rwandan to be condemned in the Netherlands for crimes during the genocide in which 800,000 Tutis and moderate Hutus died, according to United Nations estimates.

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AFP, 20 March 2009

FREETOWN (AFP) — Up to eight people sentenced by Sierra Leone’s war crimes court can serve their sentences in a new Rwandan prison under a deal with Kigali, the court said Friday.

Signed in the Rwandan capital Wednesday, the deal offers one answer to where to send prisoners convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, since local jails do not meet United Nations standards. The court has been in negotiations to have other African countries accept them.

Rwanda’s newly built Mpanga prison has a special wing to house those convicted by the separate Tanzanian-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which judges suspects in the east African country’s 1994 genocide.

It is setting aside several places for those sentenced by the Sierra Leone court.

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