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article imageOp-Ed: Disputed histories of the Rwanda genocide

By Ann Garrison     Feb 6, 2010 in Politics
Tension around Rwanda's disputed genocide history is increasing as three opposition parties attempt to register and field candidates to challenge the ruling RPF's President Paul Kagame in the August 2010 presidential election.
Amidst reports of political repression of all three parties, Amil Omara-Otunnu published a one-sided essay, "Rwanda Genocide: Lessons for Human Rights Advocacy," in the Black Star News, a publication I usually rely on for investigative reporting and commentary about Africa.
Professor Omara-Otunnu's elegant English, rationality, and partial rightness put this essay leagues above the vicious propaganda currently being published in the Rwanda New Times or the confusion in the Rwanda News Agency, both of which are promptly reproduced on allAfrica.com, seemingly without editorial review or discretion, but his account of the Rwanda Genocide and its aftermath is wholly biased towards Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his ruling RPF Party, and the suffering of Rwandans identified as Tutsi. It disregards all the evidence that Kagame and the RPF are themselves guilty of major human rights violations, including compromised courts and elections, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocidal violence against Rwandan Hutus, and, of ruthless invasion and resource theft in Eastern Congo.
Omara-Otunnu also fails to mention the repression of opposition political parties in Rwanda now, as the nation's 2010 national elections approach.
And he makes no mention of the Human Rights Watch release pointing to the failure of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) to indict the ruling RPF, which makes the ICTR's legacy an example of one-sided justice rather than a historic example for human rights investigations and courts to emulate.
Nor does he mention Rwanda's prisons, which house the third highest per capita prison population in the world, including many political prisoners.
Though he decries the international community's "inaction," in accordance with the received Rwanda genocide narrative, he says nothing about evidence of foreign powers covert involvement, including that of the U.S. and its allies, and France, and/or of their ongoing involvement in Rwanda and the wider region now.
This essay is elegantly written, but the writer's disregard for disputed narratives of the Rwanda Genocide, including those of Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, FDU/UDF-Inkingi's 2010 presidential candidate, and the need to reconcile disputed narratives is dangerous and irresponsible.
I should add, however, that Professor Amara-Otunnu's has been outspoken in his opposition to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's state terror and genocidal violence against the Acholi people of Northern Uganda.
See:
"Rwanda's 1994 genocide and the 2010 elections"
"ICTR's legacy threatened by failure to charge Rwandan Patriotic Front,"
All Things Pass, Writings of Keith Harmon Snow
David Barouski's Z-Space Page
Rwanda Documents Project, created by Dr. Peter Erlinger, Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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