Friday, November 26, 2010
Posted by Ann Garrison at 8:50 AM
Audio link: http://goo.gl/gm5QE
And turning now to news from Africa, the dispute over who is responsible for the bloodshed in East/Central Africa over the past 16 years intensified this month when, on November 9th, Rwandan President Paul Kagame's former bodyguard testified at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda. Following that testimony he told a newspaper and website that Kagame summarily executes political enemies. On November 12 Rwanda's High Court sent an opposition leader back to prison. Now a new Dutch Parliament seems close to confirming that it will no longer support Kagame's government. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame's former bodyguard Aloys Ruyenzi testified, at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, that the President of the Interahamwe, the militia said to have massacred the Rwandan Tutsi population in 1994, was himself a Tutsi and Rwandan Patriotic Front and Army agent. Ruyenzi, in an interview with The Newsline East Africa, also described what he called "killing spots," where, he says, the Kagame regime continues to sort, classify, and then systematically execute those it perceives as enemies.
The Kagame regime's High Court in turn denied opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza's bail appeal, and sent her back to prison to await trial for conspiring with terrorists and genocide ideology, which means disagreeing with the official history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
Rwandan exiles and supporters have demonstrated in Brussels, the Hague, and London since Ingabire's arrest, and the new Dutch Parliament seems to be moving toward a vote to sustain a 2008 decision to cut economic aid to Kagame's Rwandan regime because of its human rights abuses in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and because of Ingabire's imprisonment.
Vincent Harris is a Dutch new media consultant and writer. Harris says that the Dutch Parliament's decision could raise the question of why other European nations and the U.S. continue to provide economic and military aid to Rwanda:
In December the final decision concerning budget support, whether the Netherlands will resume budget support to Rwanda, will be made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kigali's reputation is at stake. Once the Dutch government freezes budget support again, it's a strong signal to all European partners, and also to, for instance, the US and the UK to explain why they think they should keep supporting this regime.
Harris says that Ingabire was a respectable, working, lawabiding, resident of the Netherlands, where her family still resides, for 16 years, before her return to Rwanda, and that church groups with significant influence are collecting petition signatures, to be addressed to the Dutch Parliament, asking the legislative body to lobby for her safety and human rights.
Harris reports that the Dutch Parliament has already asked its embassy staff to attend her trial as witnesses, though they do not believe that she can receive a fair trial in Rwanda.
For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.