Sunday, November 28, 2010

KPFA News: Kagame wants Professor Peter Erlinder "dead or alive"


Law Professor Peter Erlinder, with his Kenyan lawyer Kennedy Ogetto, who is also one of his fellow criminal defense attorneys at the Interational Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.  Erlinder wears the pink prison garb of Rwandan prisoners that Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, whom he had traveled to Rwanda to defend, wears now.  

                                                   Audio link: http://goo.gl/hToVb.
Transcript:

KPFA Weekend News Host Cameron Jones:
Minnesota William and Mitchell Law Professor and International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda Defense lawyer Peter Erlinder has issued a press release stating that, according to high-level Rwandan officials present at a meeting in Rwanda's capitol Kigali in mid-October, Rwandan President Paul Kagame ordered that he, Erlinder, be brought back to Rwanda “dead or alive.”  KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
Law Professor Peter Erlinder says that former members of the Rwandan government, now in exile, report that Rwandan President Kagame said “Erlinder’s release was a mistake” and that he and Paul Rusesabagina, the author of "An Ordinary Man," the book that the film Hotel Rwanda was based on, were responsible for drawing worldwide attention to the detailed 600-page UN report released Oct. 1, that exposes the role of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front and its army in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and massacres of Hutu civilians.


Erlinder says that he has notified federal and local law enforcement officials and the U.S. State Department of the danger, and requested protection both for himself and for his confidential source.   Speaking to KPFA today, from his home in St. Paul-Minneapolis, he explained why he will not be returning to Rwanda:


Law Professor Peter Erlinder:
On Oct. 6, the UN Tribunal for Rwanda issued a decision in which it said that the prosecution against me was illegal under UN immunity rules.  As a result I have no obligation to answer to an illegal prosecution in Rwanda.  And since that time, UN reports of the mass murders by the Kagame regime in Rwanda and in the Congo make it clear that returning to Rwanda would be suicide for anyone that Kagame considers a threat to his absolute power, and my returning to Rwanda is out of the question at this point."

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
What do you think about Kagame's growing enemy list?  


Peter Erlinder:
Well, within the last several months, of course, nearly all of Kagame's opponents and journalists in the independent press have either been arrested or killed.  The government newspaper has reported that Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda's foundation is part of an Obama Administration/UN conspiracy to discredit the Kagame regime.  And Rwanda's Ambassador to the U.S. has actually accused the former U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda,  Robert Flatten, of being a gun runner.  And as the enemies' list grows, this desperation only makes the regime more dangerous anywhere in the world, and I must take seriously the death threats that have been reported to me.  


UN documents that are in evidence at the UN Tribunal, which of course are the reason for the charges against me in Rwanda, show that Kagame is responsible for the Rwanda Genocide already.  And RPF culpability for the six million deaths in the Congo, reported in the UN Report that was made public October 1st, is in the public record too.

And a regime capable of these crimes is capable of eliminating its opponents anywhere it can reach them.


KPFA/Ann Garrison:
Has anyone from the State Department responded to the information that you gave them?

Peter Erlinder:
I haven't heard back from the State Department in any official way.

For more coverage of Peter Erlinder's case and related news reported from East/Central Africa, Europe, and the U.S., see the website of the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, www.sfbayview.com.

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.






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