Is the international community prepared for the next genocide in Rwanda?

Gerard Gahima, former Rwandan general prosecutor

Gerard Gahima, former Rwandan general prosecutor

This is a question that was in recent months asked not by anybody but Gerard Gahima, former general prosecutor, who was an important personality in the shaping of the Rwandan Patriotic Front before it took power in July 1994. As a former insider of the RPF system, his worries about a tragic future for the country should be taken seriously. 

Contrary to what many have been made to believe by the Rwandan regime, the genocide of 1994 did not occur in a vacuum. It did not come from nowhere. The conditions which enabled its occurrence had been intentionally prepared to take power in the midst of total humanitarian catastrophe.

What were those conditions? Political, regional and ethnic tensions had been purposely built up by the main actor interested in gaining political supremacy, so much so that there only needed a trigger to ignite the Rwandan society. The tipping point was reached on April 6th, 1994 with the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira respectively. From that date onwards, Interahamwe and RPF competed in the killing of Rwandans – Hutu, Tutsi and Twa alike. 

Since its time in the bush, the RPF regime has been building up ethnic tensions mainly between Hutu and Tutsi at the point that the time bomb is today ticking for its last moments. Without being alarmists, it appears evident to any informed observer of the Rwandan scenery that injustices of all sorts are presently affecting mostly Hutu but also Tutsi whose status was once wrongly assimilated to that of the ruling Tutsi elite.

Following recent years and ongoing development related to regional stability, it seems that the RPF regime is becoming more and more isolated diplomatically. As its predecessor, it is looking inside its structures to find means for its own preservation. And among them it is increasingly resorting to recruiting/ training and reinforcing Intore which are similar to Interahamwe of the past to face any eventuality.

At the difference of the previous MRND political militia, RPF’s Intore have been established in time of relative peace and provided with enough time and resources from the current oppressive regime in Rwanda to become effective in their missions.

RPF has accustomed people to its high capacity of deceit. During the period of genocide it managed to cover up all its killings of civilians and put the responsibility on the opposing side. For the last 19 years it has been in power. For all the killings which have occurred inside Rwanda and the region of which it bears total responsibility, it has maliciously presented them in ways that tell only lies to non informed public and which distort the truth.

What might happened during the potential next genocide is that RPF will have prepared so effectively its crimes that the ordinary and foreign public will end up with a narrative of events not close to what will have effectively happened. They will bear the usual RPF’s stamp of manufacturing facts.

And this among other things explains the question that Gerard Gahima asked of knowing if the international community was in a particular way prepared to face the next Rwandan genocide. Will rivers or toilets’ pits used again to drain or hide victims? Will the fine tuned media of deceit of RPF be effectively counter-balanced by any objective source of information on the ground?

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