Response to article published in The Mail & Guardian
The articles by Judi Rever and Benedict Moran in The Continent of 28 November and the Mail & Guardian of 30 November 2020 are old allegations that are fundamentally false. They are based largely on the anonymous contributions of a single source, and “corroborated” with testimonials of defeated former Rwandan army soldiers involved in the Genocide against the Tutsis, which were thrown out by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
These fabricated stories mirror those used in the past by combatants who simultaneously sought to claim that the genocide did not happen, and that it was committed by Tutsis and the RPF. Internationally respected legal experts, academics and observers have consistently rejected these allegations as unfounded.
Judi Rever has for the past several years promoted a denialist narrative that exonerates the responsibility of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi from the perpetrators, and shifts the blame to the victims and the force that stopped the genocide, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA). Rever has been described as a “known denier of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi of Rwanda“ and her work dismissed as “conspiracy theories” in an open letter signed by 60 academics, researchers, lawyers and public officials from around the world.
The articles by Rever and Moran follow a similar pattern to previous Rever work, where she consistently uses anonymous sources with the same profile: every new “revelation” is brought up by a supposedly direct witness, a deserter, Tutsi, “consumed with remorse” who fled the RPF and Rwanda.
They also refer to many documents supposedly leaked from the ICTR collected by a Special Investigation Unit. Hassan Bubacar Jallow, the ICTR Prosecutor from 2003, has continuously shown his scepticism towards the information collected through these "special investigations" and declared to the Security Council on 4 June 2009 that his office did not have an indictment in relation to any allegations against the RPF. The selective approach to witnesses and sources, as well as the lack of verification, completely discredits Judi Rever’s work.
The accusations against the RPF of shooting down the plane of former President Habyarimana is a tactic used by deniers to deflect from the fact that the genocide had been meticulously planned and executed, and the downing of the plane only served as a trigger. This claim has been fully investigated and consistently rejected by numerous experts and researchers.
The findings of the Mutsinzi Independent Commission, and those of the ballistics specialists from the UK’s Cranfield Defence College, confirmed that President Habyarimana’s plane was downed by missiles fired from Kanombe Military Barracks, controlled by his own government forces. There is also substantial evidence that those responsible for the downing of the plane were extremist elements in President Habyarimana’s own network.
Judi Rever's thesis amounts to a dangerous denial and trivialisation of genocide. These articles published by the Mail and Guardian reopen old wounds on the basis of rejected evidence. They give credence to the views of those who seek to distort the historical record of the Genocide against the Tutsi, and undermine national reconciliation as well as the remarkable progress that Rwandans have made to rebuild a nation for the benefit of all.