Yesterday President Nkunziza of Burundi became the second erring head of State in our region to be brought back in line: ‘The only reason he is free to talk, is because he hasn’t crossed the line. I’m sure he knows where it is. If he crosses it, he won’t know what hits him…’ -President Kagame at the Youth #MeetThePresident in Kigali yesterday, reacting to latest denial of the Genocide against Tutsi and anti-Rwanda propaganda in Burundi
Although the said line is imaginary like the equator, people living in this region have a rather clear understanding of where it is drawn. But let me illustrate for those who don’t ;
Read also: https://gateteviews.rw/politics/kikwete-and-his-friends-the-fdlr-posted-20th-august-2013/
Recently Rwanda opted out of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) after known genocide perpetrators and deniers wanted to use it as their new platform to revise the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, thereby clearing their names.
A non-Rwandan lawyer, representing one of the Rwandan complainers at the court went to see Rwanda’s Ambassador in South Africa and explained to him that Rwanda leaving the African Court was a diplomatic faux pas and a regression of Rwanda’s Human rights record internationally.
The Ambassador did not hesitate to clarify the magnitude of the matter to the Zambian learned friend: ‘Genocide denial is a non-starter. We left the African Court, but we are ready to leave the African Union; as a matter of fact, we are ready to leave the United Nations! Our people were killed while the entire world watched, so we do not expect them to understand what it means. We will come back to the court soon, but we shall make clear reservations on which line should not be crossed. Your clients mislead the Court into crossing the line. If you do not understand, that is your problem.’
Late last year, I was asked to assist in a legal case where a Rwandan pastor having lived in the United States of America since the end of the genocide had just came back to Rwanda and gave a sermon in one of the churches.
In that sermon my client uttered words that the Judge found as constituting denial of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi and revisionism. One sermon and the pastor was sentenced to five years in prison.
As a lawyer I may not say much on the case, but when I read it I found the client to be a victim of mistaking freedom of expression from the American legal system, for freedom of expression from a Rwandan System.
I believe for people’s own sake it is important to understand that Genocide denial, devisionism, revisionism, etc., are not permitted under Rwandan law and that trumps any freedoms, inluding of expression, assembly (you can’t create a one tribe association), of worship (you can’t pray for one tribe only – or against another), etc.
Think of it like ‘torture’ or ‘slaving in international law. Torture isn’t permitted under NO circumstances, including state of emergency, war times, anti-terrorist measures ; None of those times permits for torture in international law ; what lawyers call Peremptory Norms. Prohibition of Genocide denial, divisionism, revisionism, are jus cogens under Rwandan law ; Peremptory Norms from which no derogation is permitted.
Read also: https://gateteviews.rw/politics/dont-say-rwandan-genocide-say-genocide-against-the-tutsi/
That debate is closed. That Rwandan Courts, UN courts, some Europeans, Canadian Courts, American Courts, and a UN Resolution have all established that a genocide against the Tutsi took place. When international courts converge on the same conclusion, that becomes what is refered to as ‘Customary International Law’. Not two adjacent genocides : one against Tutsi, one against Hutu, not a civil war, not massacres. Equally, there are no longer Hutu or Tutsi or Twa. We are all Rwandans – and that, in spite of how western media and experts want to continue defining us as two groups of savages ever opposing each other…
Read also : https://gateteviews.rw/politics/is-western-media-nurturing-genocide-denial/
In other words, what Donald Trump is doing is totally illegal in Rwanda. For libeling Hispanics, mocking a Journalist with disability, for abusing black people, he faces minimum two to three years in a Rwandan prison.
That said, it is true that we won’t go to war with a neighbouring country because their president has genocide ideology. Many politicians in this region, in France, in the Catholic Church – and from this country have genocide ideology. They still believe – or they are ill-advised that denying the genocide against Tutsi is a political tool; It isn’t.
Our job as a country that suffered a genocide is first to try and exorcise them using soft measures, namely : education, prior warnings, isolation, dismissal, etc. It is when their demons take over that the response goes to second gear.
For a longtime, former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete collaborated with FDLR (A Rwandan rebel group in Eastern DRC, whose founders are genocide perpetrators) ; but he never crossed the line. He was similarly warned, isolated and dismissed until he discretely faded out.
Read also : https://gateteviews.rw/politics/tanzania-the-gift-that-keeps-ungiving/
His predecessor Magufuli turned out to be a decent man and his positive energy is helping the East African Community catching up with ten years of time wasted by Kikwete’s two term presidency in Tanzania. Magufuli has overturned the so called ‘Coalition of the Willing’ and secured major railway projects linking Uganda and Rwanda to the Indian Ocean, which had shifted to the ‘Northern Corridor’. Everyone in the community is happy with him.
Burundi’s Nkurunziza – a Kikwete disciple – is dancing on a cliff (denying genocide, flirting with FDLR, creating his own militia and carrying out initial massacres). Soft measures and exorcism have been initiated;
Nkurunziza should learn from Mobutu. By providing a backbase in the Mugunga refugee camp for training and rearming of the Genocidaires, from where they made numerous incursions into Rwanda to perpetuate their Genocide agenda, Mobutu crossed the line. And as President Kagame likes to say, he didn’t know what hit him…