International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

[Louise Arbour was the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTR and ICTY between 1996 and 2000.  Chris Black, since 2000, has been a lead counsel.]

Hourigan Report

Christian Davenport and Allan Stam

[2009] The Dallaire Genocide Fax by Christopher Black

[2011] Prof. Peter Erlinder Speaks on Rwanda Genocide  Erlinder explained that the ICTR has become a victor’s tribunal serving U.S. geo-political interests and that it therefore impedes reconciliation between African peoples of the region, and how this may affect the long-term interests of the American people.....  In May 2010, he was imprisoned in Rwanda while defending Rwandan presidential candidate, Victoire Ingabire, and charged with “genocide denial” for having won the acquittal of his ICTR client on “genocide conspiracy” charges.

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.
.......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, 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.”
    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). 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.
    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. 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. The propaganda system works.  [2009] Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

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.”
    “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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. [2009] Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

  Acceptance of this line also requires the suppression of a key verdict in a December 2008 Judgment by the ICTR. 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.”
    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. 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.
..........Separately, U.S. academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam estimated that more than one million deaths occurred in Rwanda from April through July 1994, 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. 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.”
    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.
    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. 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.
    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. 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.  [2009] Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

[2009] THE RWANDA GENOCIDE FABRICATIONS Human Right Watch, Alison Des Forges & Disinformation on Central Africa by Keith Harmon Snow    Since the inception of the ICTR its decisions have been decisively biased—victor’s justice—in favor of protecting the Kagame regime and its backers. Thus it is no surprise that the former top military leaders of the Habyarimana government—Colonel Théoneste Bagosora and Major Aloys Ntabakuze—were sentenced to life imprisonment for acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, an act of genocide is not an organized, calculated, systematic genocide.
“The real news was that ALL of the top Rwandan military officers, including the supposedly infamous Colonel Bagosora, were found not guilty of conspiracy or planning to commit genocide,” writes Erlinder. “And General Gratien Kabiligi, a senior member of the general staff, was acquitted of all charges! The others were found guilty of specific acts committed by subordinates, in specific places, at specific times—not an overall conspiracy to kill civilians, much less Tutsi civilians.”

December 18th, 2008 the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the ICTR, determined that there had been no systematic genocide in Rwanda in 1994. There was no conspiracy to commit genocide. Now this was their finding in December of 2008. They, there fore, cleared the top officials…They did sentence them to life in prison because the ICTR has always been about victor’s justice. Victor’s justice means that “We Won, the United States invaded Rwanda,” 1990 to 1994, the was a coup d’ etat. The United States, the Pentagon took control and put its proxy army in power. That’s the people who are in control today, Paul Kagame, and we blamed all of the killing on the Hutus and accused them of genocide. And that’s just total fiction. And this fiction has been created and propagated by people like Ben Affleck, who goes in and doesn’t tell you any of the truth…'But then there was Philip Gourevitch who wrote the book, “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow our Families will be killed,’ and some many people have read this piece of fiction, believing that its non fiction. And that basically was Clinton administration operatives providing information to Gourevitch, who was writing in the New Yorker, and claiming the Kagame and Usemini were the new breed of African leaders, and essentially covering up a Genocide. Most people believe and we all stood around when genocide happened and we should never have let this happen. We should never have that happen again.'---[2009 Interview] US Role In Rwandan Genocide

[2007]  THE GRINDING MACHINE: TERROR AND GENOCIDE IN RWANDA  keith harmon snow talks with Paul Rusesabagina, the ordinary man who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda.  They know nothing about the innocent people imprisoned, tortured or disappeared by the Kagame machine. They know nothing of the kangaroo courts of the ICTR—the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda—or the “shenanigans” of the prosecution.  Few people know about the November 2005 assassination of Juvenal Uwilingiyamana, whose body turned up floating naked in a canal in Brussels. And if they have heard of Juvenal Uwilingiyamana, then maybe they think he deserved his fate: he was, after all, a fugitive from genocide. That he had been threatened and intimidated by agents of the ICTR, and yet refused to collaborate to manufacture falsehoods to support the Kagame mythology, few people know.
......Well, I heard about the investigations, and I heard that, at a given time, they had come up with a result. But they couldn't declare the results [at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda], because the prosecutors didn't want the results to appear. And even today, which is still a mystery, the prosecutor does not take the assassination of President Habyarimana into his mission. And yet according to his mission given by his security council, given by the U.N. resolution of 1994, he was supposed to deal with the Rwandan genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes between January 1 and December 31, 1994, the whole year. So he is excluding the most important point of his mission—the investigation of the death of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. And he does not consider this, even now: the ICTR IS not concerned about Habyarimana’s death.