Bashir, Kabila, Kagame, Museveni: Who is not ‘genocidaire’?

Omar al Bashir is president of Sudan and Paul Kagame and Joweri Museveni are presidents of Rwanda and Uganda respectively. Joseph Kabila rules over the Democratic Republic of Congo. As for the vocabulary, the term ‘genocidaire’ has come to refer to those guilty of the mass killings of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Since July 1994 until today, the Tutsi government which emerged from the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front over Habyarimana Hutu regime, used extensively and politically that term to label all Hutus indistinctly, whether not they have participated in the killing of Tutsis.

War crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide are offences that many Africans leaders are accused of. In July an international prosecutor at the International Criminal Court accused president Bashir of acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Sudanese president’s government forces and affiliated militias – Janjawid have been condemned for being responsible for committing atrocities against Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. The scale of violence led to the humanitarian crisis of Darfur in the last couple of years.

The Mapping Exercise report of the UN meant to come out on October 1st accuses on its part forces and militias from different countries which were involved in Democratic Republic of Congo, between 1993 and 2003. Evidence contained in the report show that they have committed reprehensible serious atrocities including acts of genocide against Hutu refugees, Hutu Congolese and other Congolese ethnic groups. Among forces mentioned by the report are Rwandan Patriotic Army, Alliance des Forces Democratiques de Liberation, and Uganda People Defense Forces.

It has come to light that being in the favors of the West make some of the four presidents spared by the international judiciary system on crimes committed while pursuing their political or economic policies internally or regionally. Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, an international warrant has been issued for his arrest, while his colleagues Paul Kagame, Joweri Museveni and Joseph Kabila not at all. Sudan is an officially Muslim dominated country and mainly culturally Arabic in its mostly populated north. The south shares the civilization of black Africa, with important influence of Christianity and indigenous beliefs.

Sudan is also endowed with natural resources.  The following mineral resources have been discovered all over the country: iron, cooper, chrome, manganese, gold, silicon, in addition to lime stone, marble, gypsum, mica, talk, natural gas. The emergence of China as an economic power has pushed Chinese to search globally for raw materials for their booming industries in recent decades. Sudan became one of its many suppliers on the African continent. Moreover, in recent years, exploration and production of petrol have increased.

The fact of being an Islamist state which at some times harbored terrorists researched by the West, and which on top does business primarily with China, an aggressive competitor of the West for raw materials, could probably explain the lack of laisser-faire on the part of ICC while dealing with Sudanese human rights abuses. Atrocities committed by Sudanese forces and affiliated militias against Southern and Eastern populations were apparently investigated by ICC under such background. Having said that it is noteworthy mentioning that the court is seen in developing countries circles particularly African as a neo colonialist instrument set up to punish leaders who don’t serve well interests of the West.

This brings us to consider the attitude of the international criminal law in relation to Paul Kagame and Joweri Museveni and at a lesser level Joseph Kabila. The Congolese president inherited in 2001 a situation where he has apparently found himself being willingly or not used by most protagonists to the wealth of Congo except the Congolese population. In the case of Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has failed to investigate serious crimes Kagame’s government committed against Hutu populations internally and regionally. The Luwero Triangle guerilla war and treatment of northern Ugandan populations under Joweri Museveni bear plenty of evidence of serious atrocities which the Ugandan president has never been accounted for so far. The UN report to come out also mentions involvement of his forces in atrocities committed in Democratic Republic of Congo.

During the last two decades, Paul Kagame and Joweri Museveni have until today been the darlings of US and Britain through their multinationals sourcing minerals in the Great Lakes region, despite an almost 8 millions of dead the two leaders are directly and indirectly responsible of. But because they have been serving well the capitalist/inhuman system, when it comes to African lives, they can get away with their numerous crimes. Omar al Bashir’s forces are accused of violence which caused the death of an estimated number of 300,000 lives in five years and a displacement of over 2.5 million people. If the comparison had to look only at the number of victims, the question would be who among listed leaders would be less ‘genocidaire’?


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