The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) continues to share with you the key acts that marked preparation of the Genocide. The present piece of writing focuses on activities that happened on the dates of 19-25 January 1991-1994.
1) Establishment of steering committee on activities of ‘Auto-defense civile’
On 20th January 1992, the Minister of local government, Faustin MUNYAZESA wrote a letter that was designated to the prefects of RUHENGERI and GISENYI prefectures informing them that they had to work closely with army commanders in these prefectures so they could receive regulations to continue the distribution of arms to civilians and how military training would proceed. He was requesting them to follow up on this activity themselves and inform him via fax without loitering, the strategies taken to choose the youths who would be taken to trainings as well as the proceedings of those trainings. In conclusion, minister MUNYAZESA requested the Prefects that stringent measures be taken so that the weapons be neither stolen nor go missing.
In order to improve the flow of this activity, there was established in the Ministry of Defense, a commission that was dubbed “AUTO-DEFENSE CIVILE”, which was tasked to follow up its course across the country. This commission was made by Lt Col Ephrem RWABALINDA, Major Paul RWARAKABIJE, Major Alphonse NTERIRYAYO and Major Ruth KANKWANZI who was head of accountancy services within Rwanda armed forces.
On 22nd January 1992, Col Bernard CUSSAC, who was in charge of military cooperation between France and Rwanda, operating from France’s embassy to Rwanda in Kigali, wrote an official letter designated to the Ministry of Defense in France, in which he said that the guns were distributed to Interahamwe militia, by Rwandan armed forces and local leaders who were members of the MRND.
2) Investigation by Belgians revealed the genocidal plan within Rwandan Armed Forces
Belgian troops within UMAMIR had an officer who followed up on daily basis what was happening in Rwanda and reported to his superior. The 1997 report by the Belgian Senate on the role of Belgium in the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, revealed that the responsible for this task, Lt NEES, produced 29 reports between 19th January1994 and 11th March 1994 before he was replaced by Lt De Cuyper. All the information gathered by Lt NEES was submitted to the Chief of Staff of Belgian Defense Forces.
The report of Belgian Senate read and analysed all the daily information written by Lt NEES and deduced that he demonstrated on daily basis facts that proved that the Government of Rwanda was plotting implementation of the plan to exterminate the Tutsi . Lt NEES explained that the leadership of Rwandan Armed Forces did not support the ARUSHA Peace Agreement and that he saw a letter that was given to him by high ranking officers in the Rwandan Armed Forces, which confirmed that streak.
This information was also confirmed by Colonel Walter Balis who was among the high ranking Belgian officers within the UNAMIR, in the testimonies he gave Belgian Senate in 1997, which he reiterated in the testimonies he gave to the Mucyo Commission in 2007.
3) International experts alarmed the International community on the genocidal plan
On the dates of 7th- 21st January 1993, a delegation of international experts composed of Jean CARBONARE (France), Dr Philippe DAHINDEN (Sweden), Prof. René DEGNI-SEGUI (Ivory coast), Me Eric GILLET (Belgium), Dr Alison DES FORGES (USA), Dr Pol DODINVAL (Belgium), Rein ODINK (Netherlands), Halidou OUEDRAOGO (Burkina Faso), André PARADIS (Canada), and Prof. William SCHABAS (Canada) conducted an investigation on killings in Rwanda at the time
The head of this delegation, Jean CARBONARE, when arrived in France on 24th January 1993, was invited to the State owned TV (France2) and declared that in Rwanda, for a period of three weeks that they had spent there conducting investigations into the massacres that were carried out there, found some of the mass graves into which the killed Tutsi were dumped, and confirmed that there were facts proving that there weas the plan of genocide to exterminate the Tutsi, and that those involved in that plan were top leaders spearheaded by president Juvénal HABYARIMANA himself and his wife Agathe Kanziga.
He was the first person to state that the Genocide was being perpetrated in Rwanda ;he said it in these words:
“What struck us very much in Rwanda was the scale, the systematization, the organization, of these massacres! […] There is a mechanism which is set in motion […] We have talked about ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity […] we insist very much on these words”.
“Our country, which militarily and financially supports this system, has a responsibility. [...] Our country can, if it wants, influence this situation. "
"I insist a lot: we are responsible! You too, Mr. Masure, you can do something, you must do something ..., for this situation to change, because we can change it if we want! [...] We can do something, we have to do something ... ".
Jean CARBONARE died on 18th January 2009 at 82 years old. We will always remember him.
4) France support the genocidal streak of the Government of Rwanda which considers Inkotanyi as Ugandans
On 23rdJanuary 1991, president HABYARIMANA requested France to send troops to help him counter the RPF soldiers and remove them from the town of Ruhengeri arguing that the invaders were from the Ugandan army. In his response to HABYARIMANA’s request, Georges MARTRES, France’s ambassador to Rwanda at the time, he accepted the support saying that the Rwandan crisis was more ethnocentric arguing that Rwanda had been invaded by Tutsi from the Hima, a tribe from which he said president Museveni too, is descendant. This way of denying that Inkotanyi are Rwandans is one of the powerful ways used by HABYARIMANA’s extremists to continue the streak of war and genocide.
In the night of 23rd to 24th January 1991, French soldiers in the opération NOROIT under the command of Col René GALINIE came to Ruhengeri for rescue on behalf of the government of Rwanda.
In a letter he wrote on 24th January 1991, ambassador MARTRES said that they did it with outstanding valor especially in the last two hours preceding the night: “the respect of the instructions did not rule out a certain audacity which the French paratroopers had to show in the last two hours before nightfall. The state of shock in which the displaced population was found did not make it possible for them to undergo the test of a new night of confrontations”.
5) President Mitterrand warned the Tutsi
As revealed by two French writers, Gabriel PERIES and David SERVANAY in their book: « Une guerre noire: enquête sur les origines du génocide rwandais (1959-1994) », on 23rd January 1991, president MITTERRAND held a meeting with his closest advisors including Admiral Jacques LANXANDE and the Secretary General Hubert Verdrine talking about RPF’s attack on the town of Ruhengeri and security for French nationals who were living in that town and what they called the role of Uganda in the war in Rwanda.
President MITTERRAND proclaimed that the war in Rwanda was between French and English speakers, which means that France had to fight to protect their language. He added that they had to warn president MUSEVENI, and would not bear with minority Tutsi to take power and rule over the majority. This shows that the war MITTERRAND and his soldiers were fighting in Rwanda was ethnocentric and bursting with genocide ideology, which encouraged HABYARIMANA’s government in its genocidal plan. He expressed himself in the following words: "We are on the edge of an Anglophone front. Uganda should not allow itself of anything. President MUSEVEN must be told; it is not normal that the Tutsi minority seeks to impose its law on the majority"
On 30th January 1991, president MITTERRAND wrote to president HABYARIMANA informing him that French soldiers would uphold support to him as promised in October 1990 : "I decided (...) to maintain temporarily and for a period of time related to the developments of the situation, the French military contingent sent to Kigali last October .”
This constant military support led president HABYARMANA to feel that he was backed by a powerful country, which caused him to brushing off any attempt to seek peaceful solution.
6) Distribution of arms to Interahamwe continued, UNAMIR knew it but did not confiscate them
On 24th January 1993, the envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Jacques Roger Booh-Booh said that the stockpiles of arms in Kigali and its surroundings were many and worrisome.
On 25th January 1993, Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda, Johann Swinnen informed Belgian foreign affairs minister that Dallaire continuously requests the United Nations to entrust him with the power to seize weapons that were hidden in Kigali, or if not so, he and UNAMIR troops would return home. This envoy also said that he had talks with Donat Murego, the Secretary General of MRND who told him that INTERAHAMWE we preparing to cause a war inside the country, and that this war would target also Belgian soldiers within UNAMIR.
7) France supplied weapons in breach of UN decision
After the signing of the Peace agreement between the Government of Rwanda and FPR-Inkotanyi, the UN Security Council made the decision to halt supply and distribution of weapons in order to facilitate implantation of this agreement. However, France breached this decision and continued to supply weapons and ammunitions to the Government of Rwanda. The famous example is that during the night of 21st-22nd January 1994, when a French plane of model DC-8 landed secretly to Kanombe airport. UNAMIR checked it and found 90 boxes full of ammunitions meant for Rwandan Armed Forces.
The above mention activities show that the Genocide against the Tutsi was the result of a thorough plan by the government with the support from some foreign countries. This reminds every one of the responsibility to fight those who continue to deny and minimize the Genocide against the Tutsi as well as those who continue to alter its history for their own interests. This also reminds some countries that continue to shield its perpetrators that they should arraign them to their respective courts or extradite them to Rwanda in order to fight the culture of impunity and to promote human rights.