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Rwanda: Recent Documents, Part 1
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Rwanda: Recent Documents, Part 1
Date Distributed (ymd): 950524
The mandate for the United Nations mission in Rwanda comes
up for renewal on June 9, approximately two months after the
first anniversary of the plane crash which marked the
beginning of last year's genocide in that country. In
recent weeks a number of reports have been released
concerning the current status in that country, but have
received only low-profile international attention. A
selection of recent documents received by the Africa Policy
Informatin Center follows, in two parts.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH / AFRICA
485 FIFTH AVENUE
NEW YORK, NY 10017-6104
TEL: (212) 972-8400 FAX: (212) 972-0905
1522 K Street, NW
Washington DC 20005
TEL: (202) 371-6592 FAX: (202) 371-0124
DES LIGUES DES DROITS DE L'HOMME
14 PASSAGE DUBAIL PARIS 75010
TEL: (331) 40 37 54 26
FAX: (331) 44 72 05 86
May 11, 1995
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH/AFRICA AND FIDH COMMEND PEACEFUL
END TO KIBEHO CRISIS BUT WARN RWANDAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM
NEEDS IMMEDIATE ACTION
Human Rights Watch/Africa and the International Federation
of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) today commended the Rwandan
government for the restraint shown by its troops during the
standoff which ended peacefully at the Kibeho displaced
persons' camp in southwestern Rwanda. The government had
closed the camp on April 18, but more than a thousand
displaced persons had refused to leave and had sought refuge
in a group of buildings. Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA)
officers at first planned to attack the compound and had
positioned their well-armed troops around the site but then
agreed to wait for the resisters to come out voluntarily.
Deprived of food and clean water and surrounded by human
waste, the resisters left by small groups over a two week
period. The last persons left the compound on May 9.
The restraint and good order shown by RPA troops during the
last two weeks contrasts sharply with their behavior during
the days when the camp closing was first being enforced. On
April 18, the troops fired in the air to herd frightened
refugees together into a clearing at the center of the camp.
Thousands of the displaced panicked and stampeded, causing
the deaths of nine persons, eight of them children. On
April 20, 21and 22, the troops fired directly into the crowd
of tens of thousands of persons and on April 23, they chased
and shot at people who were trying to flee the camp. The
death toll has been estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000 by
U.N. and other international observers. The Rwandan
government has declared that 338 persons were killed in the
incidents which resulted, they claimed, from provocation and
gunfire from the crowd.
At the request of the Rwandan government, an international
commission of inquiry has begun to investigate the Kibeho
killings. Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH call upon the
commission to focus its attention particularly on the
question of who gave the orders to fire in each of the five
successive incidents of shooting that occurred between April
20 and April 22 and on the circumstances in which such
orders were given.
On April 20 and 21, men armed with machetes killed and
wounded dozens of the displaced in night-time attacks. The
assailants, whose identity has not been established,
apparently intended to sow terror by random assaults in the
crowd. Three of the assailants were apprehended by U.N.
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH call upon the
international commission to interrogate these assailants and
others to determine who ordered the attacks.
Some 200,000 displaced persons had sought protection in the
camps because they feared arrest and insecurity in their
home communities. Many are thought to have participated in
the genocide that last year killed between one half million
and one million Tutsi. When the camps were closed, tens of
thousands of the displaced were escorted home by Rwandan
soldiers. Tens of thousands of others have either returned
on their own, fled elsewhere in Rwanda, or crossed into
neighboring Burundi or Zaire. Of the estimated 10,000 who
fled to Burundi, some 300 were forcibly repatriated on May
9 by Burundian authorities, in violation of the 1951 U.N.
Hundreds of returnees have been arrested on accusation of
having participated in the genocide and have been confined
in inhumane conditions in local lock-ups. Twenty-eight per
sons died of suffocation on April 26 after having been
forced with hundreds of others into a small jail in the
commune of Rusatira. The local military commander
subsequently released the other detainees. The public
prosecutor for the region then visited several other
communities and ordered the release of detainees against
whom charges had not been filed.
Rwandan authorities have acted appropriately in releasing
detainees held in inhumane and life-threatening conditions
or held in violation of due process regulations. But such
liberations return to the community persons suspected of
having massacred others and raise the danger of reprisal
attacks and killings against the suspects. Such killings
have already taken place in the commune of Huye, where at
least fourteen persons just returned from the camps were
found stoned and beaten to death at the end of April. The
forcible return of refugees from Burundi, most of whom are
young men--those most often accused in the genocide--will
increase further the number of potential suspects in the
The presence of suspects at large in the communities also
raises serious and understandable concerns among the
survivors of the genocide who may fear attacks intended to
eliminate them as potential witnesses against the accused.
Even before the camps were closed, more than 30,000 persons
were detained in the badly overcrowded Rwandan jails,
awaiting trials that have been delayed by lack of human and
material resources needed to make the judicial system
function. The paralysis of the judicial system has been
complicated by interference from the military, which has
been acting as a police force in the absence of a civilian
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH warn that continued
paralysis of the judicial system contributes to serious
insecurity within local communities and increases the
likelihood of violence either by or against survivors of the
genocide. The need to protect lives adds great urgency to
the need for prompt action to establish a state of law in
Although little progress has been made in the administration
of civilian justice, officers of a military justice system
took the oath of office before the Rwandan Minister of
Justice on May 2. They immediately began the trials of
twelve soldiers accused of theft and murder. Such progress
offers hope of dealing with the cases of some five hundred
soldiers charged with various crimes, including serious
human rights violations against civilians. Should the
international commission investigating the Kibeho killings
find evidence of criminal or negligent behavior on the part
of Rwandan soldiers, it should submit its findings to the
Rwandan military justice system.
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH also commend those
foreign judicial authorities who are beginning to take
action on cases of persons accused of participation in the
genocide. Belgian judicial authorities have detained two
suspects, Alphonse Higaniro and Vincent Ntezimana, and have
recently gathered evidence in Rwanda concerning their cases.
Canadian authorities are preparing to begin the trial in
late June of Leon Mugesera, accused of crimes against
humanity and violations of Canadian immigration law.
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH call upon the
international commission of inquiry investigating the Kibeho
1. Focus their attention on identifying the officers who
gave the orders to fire in the five separate incidents at
the camp between April 20 and April 22 and on establishing
the circumstances in which such orders were given;
2. Investigate the killings of displaced persons by machete
attack during the nights of April 20 and 21.
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH call upon the government
1. To make the beginning of the trials of persons accused of
genocide its priority;
2. To ensure that arrests and trials of persons accused of
genocide and other crimes are carried out according to due
3. To act promptly to bring to justice any soldiers or
officers against whom the commission finds serious grounds
for suspicion of criminal behavior;
4. To take every possible measure to ensure the security of
all Rwandans within their home communities;
5. To use the radio and other media to reassure the
population to encourage the orderly reception of returnees
from the displaced persons' camps and to inform people of
their lawful recourse against persons suspected of
involvement in the genocide.
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH call upon the
international community to:
1. Make available immediately the human and material
resources necessary to a ssist the Rwandan judicial system;
2. Continue to provide the resources needed for U.N. troops
and human rights monitors to contribute to the security of
Rwandans in their home communities.
Human Rights Watch/Africa and FIDH have set up a joint
office in Butare in order to document the genocide and
investigate current human rights violations in Rwanda. The
office is also working to assist Rwandan human rights
Human Rights Watch/Africa was established in 1988 to monitor
and promote internationally recognized human rights in
Africa. Human Rights Watch/Africa is a division of Human
Rights Watch, which was established in 1978 to monitor and
promote internationally recognized human rights worldwide.
Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme
(FIDH). The International Federation of Human Rights is an
international nongovernmental organization for the defense
of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights of 1948. Created in 1922, it includes 89
national affiliates throughout the world.
Source: Voice of America
19-May-95 10:19 AM EDT (1419 UTC) NNNN
DATE=5/19/95 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-179085
TITLE=RWANDA/KILLINGS (L) BYLINE=ALEX BELIDA
INTRO: AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY SAYS RWANDAN
TROOPS DID NOT PLAN LAST MONTH'S MASS KILLINGS OF HUTU
REFUGEES AT THE KIBEHO CAMP IN SOUTHWESTERN RWANDA. BUT, AS
V-O-A EAST AFRICA CORRESPONDENT ALEX BELIDA REPORTS, THE
PANEL DOES SAY THE TROOPS USED EXCESSIVE FORCE IN MOVING TO
CLOSE DOWN THE FACILITY.
TEXT: THE CRITICAL QUESTION STILL LINGERING AFTER LAST
MONTH'S ERUPTION OF VIOLENCE AT THE KIBEHO CAMP IN
SOUTHWESTERN RWANDA IS HOW MANY REFUGEES WERE KILLED.
U-N OFFICIALS AND RELIEF WORKERS SAY THE NUMBER OF HUTU
REFUGEES WHO DIED EXCEEDED TWO-THOUSAND. RWANDAN
AUTHORITIES PUT THE DEATH TOLL AT JUST UNDER 400.
IN A REPORT RELEASED FRIDAY, THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION
SIDESTEPS THE CONTROVERSY. IT GIVES NO FIGURE AT ALL,
SAYING ONLY THAT IT WAS PROBABLY MORE THAN THE FIGURE
REPORTED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
INSTEAD, THE PANEL FOCUSES IN BROAD, GENERAL TERMS ON THE
VIOLENCE, WHICH BROKE OUT AFTER RWANDAN AUTHORITIES ORDERED
KIBEHO AND OTHER DISPLACED CAMPS IN THE SOUTHWEST CLOSED.
THE REPORT SAYS RWANDAN OFFICIALS HAD, WHAT IT TERMS, A
LEGITIMATE INTEREST IN ORDERING THE CAMP SHUT DOWN, BOTH FOR
SECURITY REASONS AND TO REMOVE AN OBSTACLE TO THE COUNTRY'S
EFFORTS TO RECOVER FROM LAST YEAR'S GENOCIDE, IN WHICH HALF
A MILLION OR MORE MEMBERS OF THE TUTSI ETHNIC MINORITY WERE
SLAUGHTERED BY HUTU EXTREMISTS.
BUT THE COMMISSION SAYS THERE IS SUFFICIENT RELIABLE
EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE REFUGEES WERE SUBJECTED TO
WHAT THE REPORT CALLS ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF LIFE AND
SERIOUS BODILY HARM BY RWANDAN TROOPS. IT SAYS THIS WAS IN
VIOLATION OF RECOGNIZED STANDARDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND
AT THE SAME TIME, THE COMMISSION SAYS THERE IS ALSO EVIDENCE
SHOWING THE REFUGEES WERE SUBJECT TO SIMILAR VIOLATIONS BY
OTHER REFUGEES -- AN APPARENT REFERENCE TO ARMED HUTU
EXTREMIST ELEMENTS KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN IN KIBEHO WHO KILLED
OTHER HUTU REFUGEES TO PREVENT THEM FROM LEAVING.
AND IT ALSO CRITICIZES RELIEF AGENCIES FOR FAILING TO
CONTRIBUTE TO A SPEEDIER EVACUATION OF REFUGEES FROM THE
THE PANEL, CONVENED BY THE RWANDAN GOVERNMENT, MAKES SEVERAL
RECOMMENDATIONS, INCLUDING A CALL ON RWANDAN AUTHORITIES TO
BRING TO JUSTICE THOSE AMONG THE ARMED FORCES WHO MAY HAVE
BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR ILLEGAL ACTIONS. IT ALSO CALLS ON U-N
OFFICIALS TO REVIEW THEIR PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH CRISES
SUCH AS THE ONE THAT OCCURRED AT KIBEHO AND IT CALLS ON THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO OFFER MORE SUPPORT TO THE RWANDAN
GOVERNMENT TO SPEED RECONSTRUCTION AND RECONCILIATION
A RWANDAN MILITARY SPOKESMAN DESCRIBES THE REPORT AS
GENERALLY FAIR. BUT THE SPOKESMAN INSISTS THE TROOPS ACTED
IN SELF-DEFENSE AT KIBEHO AFTER COMING UNDER ATTACK FROM
WHAT HE DESCRIBES AS CRIMINALS AMONG THE REFUGEES. (SIGNED)
Source: Voice of America
20-May-95 11:39 AM EDT (1539 UTC) NNNN
DATE=5/20/95 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-179123
TITLE=RWANDA SHATTUCK (S & L) BYLINE=SONYA LAURENCE GREEN
INTRO: U-S ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEMOCRACY, HUMAN
RIGHTS AND LABOR JOHN SHATTUCK ANNOUNCED SATURDAY A NEW
SEVEN-MILLION DOLLAR PACKAGE OF U.S. SUPPORT FOR HUMAN
RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN RWANDA. OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES HAVE
ALSO PLEDGED NEW AID TO RWANDA, TO HELP FINANCE AN
INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL, WHICH UNTIL NOW HAS BEEN
DESPERATELY SHORT OF MONEY AND STAFF. SONYA LAURENCE GREEN
REPORTS FROM OUR EAST AFRICA BUREAU.
TEXT: THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER WESTERN NATIONS HAVE
PLEDGED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN NEW AID TO HELP FINANCE AN
INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA, TO FINALLY
BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF LAST YEAR'S GENOCIDE IN
WHICH UP TO ONE MILLION RWANDANS PERISHED.
U-S ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN SHATTUCK ANNOUNCED A
NEW FIVE-PART PACKAGE OF AID FOR RWANDA. IT INCLUDES A
THREE-MILLION DOLLAR CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR CRIMES
TRIBUNAL, U-S PROSECUTORS AND INVESTIGATORS TO HELP STAFF
THE TRIBUNAL, AND U-S INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION THAT COULD BE
USEFUL TO PROSECUTORS. OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ALSO PROMISED
NEW AID FOR RWANDA AT A 20-NATION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
WHICH ENDED LATE FRIDAY IN RWANDA'S CAPITAL.
MR. SHATTUCK SAID THAT WITH THE NEW INFUSION OF CASH, AND
WITH AT LEAST 33 PROSECUTORS AND INVESTIGATORS NOW ON BOARD,
THE INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL -- HEADED BY JUSTICE
RICHARD GOLDSTONE -- IS READY TO BEGIN ITS WORK IN EARNEST.
///CUT HERE FOR A SHORT CR///
/// SHATTUCK ACT///
I THINK THE BOTTOM LINE HERE IS THAT THIS TRIBUNAL IS
REAL, IT IS UP AND RUNNING, AND IT IS FULLY FUNDED.
///END SHATTUCK ACT///
MR. SHATTUCK SAID HE THINKS IT IS POSSIBLE THE FIRST TRIALS
COULD BEGIN BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR.
NOT ALL THE U-S AID WAS EARMARKED FOR THE TRIBUNAL, THOUGH.
MR. SHATTUCK SAID THE AID PACKAGE INCLUDES FOUR MILLION
DOLLARS TO HELP RWANDA REBUILD ITS OWN INTERNAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM, AND ANOTHER CONTRIBUTION TO STRENGTHEN THE U-N HUMAN
RIGHTS FIELD OFFICE IN RWANDA.
///B SHATTUCK ACT///
THE OVERALL POINT HERE I THINK IS THAT RECONCILIATION AND
PEACE IN RWANDA WILL FOLLOW JUSTICE, BUT JUSTICE IS
ESSENTIAL. AND THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THE
PROSECUTION OF THOSE WHO WERE ENGAGED IN THE WORST CRIMINAL
CONDUCT THAT MANKIND KNOWS -- WHICH IS GENOCIDE -- MUST
PROCEED. AND IN ORDER TO LIFT THE CLOUD OF COLLECTIVE
GUILT AND FEAR AND DISTRUST THAT IS NOW ON RWANDA IT
ISESSENTIAL THAT A JUST PROSECUTION OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE
FOR GENOCIDE PROCEED.
WHILE ABOUT 400 SUSPECTS ARE WANTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL
TRIBUNAL,TENS OF THOUSANDS OF OTHER SUSPECTS ARE BEING HELD
INTERNALLY INSIDE RWANDA, AWAITING THEIR DAY IN COURT UNDER
RWANDA'S TATTERED JUSTICE SYSTEM. MR. SHATTUCK SAID THE U-S
WAS OFFERING SUPPORT TO BOTH SYSTEMS, TO ENSURE JUSTICE FOR
THE PEOPLE OF RWANDA, AND THE VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE. (SIGNED)
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