Share Button

GENOCIDE PLANNING: HIGHLIGHTS FROM 8 TO 15 MARCH 1991-1994

 

Each week, the National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) sets out significant facts relating to the planning of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994; below are some of the events that marked the period from March 8 to 15, 1991-1994.

1.     The MRND has created a genocidal group in Butare City

The MDR and PL parties published a so-called special press release on March 14, 1992, denouncing the creation by the MRND, in the town of Butare, of a group of criminals called “Common Front against the Inkotanyi (FCCI)”, made up mainly of students from the National University of Rwanda. This group's mission was to harass students who were not members of the MRND, and in particular the Tutsi. This group was created by Dr. Jean-Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi who was vice-rector of the University. These Interahamwe had the support of their leaders at the national level, and some of these, such as Kajuga Robert, Mbonabaryi Léon, Mudahinyuka Jean-Marie-Vianney, Akingeneye Eugène and Rutaganda Georges, frequently held meetings in Butare with members of this group. One such meeting was held on March 12, 1992, after which Tutsi students and others who were members of opposition parties were attacked and beaten.

These events were preceded by a meeting held on March 8, 1992, organized by two MRND deputies from Butare, Laurent Baravuga from Kigembe, and Bernadette Mukarurangwa from Ndora. On February 8, 1992, Baravuga organized a meeting in Kigembe Commune, Kigali sector, and urged all participants in this meeting to "take their machetes, their bows and spears, and hunt down people who were not members of the MRND , and not to be impressed by shops and vehicles. " During the genocide, these two deputies played a major role in inciting the population to kill the Tutsi.

Another MDR press release of March 10, 1992 denounces the leaders of the MRND who in Butare caused disturbances in the localities where they were influential, even though the MRND held meetings in numerous communes causing unrest among the population. This press release states that these actions began in the Muganza commune (Butare) under the leadership of the president of this party in Butare, Amandin Rugira, who said that "the MDR has allied with the PL. They will give birth to stillborn babies "or that" Whoever is going to burn the husbands, begins by piling them together ". This is to sow discord between the Tutsi and the Hutu.

This statement explained that "It is truly deplorable to see certain prefecture and commune authorities, including the prefect Temahagali, continue to lean on the same side, and terrorize the members of the other parties." The press release ends by warning Temahagari “that he must learn that Butare of 1992 has nothing in common with Gikongoro of 1963.” This to allude to the fact that in 1963, it was Justin Temahagari who replaced André Nkeramugaba at post of prefect of Gikongoro, prefecture in which a genocide was committed during the month of December 1963.

2. The lies of Habyarimana Goverment on the Tutsi massacres 

When the Habyarimana government massacred Tutsi in the prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, no one was allowed to access places of these massacres, except the officials of the prefectures, the soldiers and the agents of the security services. Journalists also could not access it, except those from Radio Rwanda and Kangura. This explains why the massacres perpetrated by the Habyarimana government have long remained hidden.

On Radio Rwanda on March 12, 1991, the authorities of the Ruhengeri prefecture, the very people who carried out the massacres, stated that there was no ethnic problem in this prefecture. The head of the primary schools in this prefecture said that all the teachers were at their posts, that none of them was missing. Yet all the Tutsi teachers had been put in prison for complicity with the Inkotanyi, only to be killed afterwards. Because their lie had just been exposed, those who led the massacres declared that there had indeed been Tutsis who had been killed, but that they had been killed because some of them were fighting alongside the Inkotanyi, while others had joined them.

This lie was used by Habyarimana to the international community, as he did in his letter to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. But even if Habyarimana denied these massacres, the Minister of Justice at the time said that there were indeed and demanded investigations into these massacres. There was never an investigation because the prefect of the Ruhengeri prefecture, Nzabagereza Charles, said, during a meeting on security, that no investigation should be carried out because there was no no reason to “unearth events that were no longer current and that could cause unrest among the population.”

3.   Investigation of Independent Human Rights Associations reports the death of more than 300 Tutsi in Bugesera

After the systematic massacres of Tutsi in Bugesera on the night of March 4 to 5, 1992 five independent human rights organizations, ADL LICHREDOR, ARDHO, Kanyarwanda and AVP investigated the massacres, and published two reports, one on 10th March 1992, and a further report on the 30th March 1993. The 10th March report confirmed that 300 Tutsi had been murdered. Some had been thrown in local rivers to drown, some burned alive in their homes. The report put the number of displaced at 15,000 souls. It notes that the displaced, especially those who had sought refuge in schools in Nyamata, Maranyundo, Ruhuha, and Rilima, were in desperate condition.

The report heavily criticizes the authorities responsible for the massacres, including Fidèle Rwambuka, the mayor of the Commune of Kanzenze, Faustin Sekagina, the sub-prefect of Kanazi, Déogratias Ndimubanzi, the first deputy prosecutor in Kanazi, and Dominique Muhawenimana the head of the intelligence service in Kanazi sub-prefecture.

Following the 30th March 1993 investigations, the Human Rights organizations found that the Tutsi were still kept out of their properties, and remained in extreme danger from the CDR, which continued to use the pretext that the Tutsi were RPF collaborators. Attacks included rapes, some of them by soldiers from Gako military camp against underage girls.

Some of the victims identified included Nyabyenda and Anastase who had worked for a senior official in the Ministry of Finance (MINECOFIN), Mbarute.  A well know local figure Butera was murdered by soldiers in Ngenda, Nyarutarama, on 6th March 1993.  Several people were badly beaten and left disabled. One of these was an elderly man, Mutabazi, who on 21st February of 1993 was badly beaten by police at the Kanzenze Commune offices. Justifying these murders and violent attacks, the commandant of Gako military camp, Lieutenant-Colonel Claudien Singirankabo, said that they were cause by the RPF war. He claimed that his mother had been killed by the RPF in Ruhengeri.

 

4. International Human Rights Organizations denounce the massacres perpetrated by the Habyarimana Government

March 15, 1994: organizers of the International Commission on Human Rights Violations in Rwanda: Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, the International Center for Human Rights and Development Union and the Inter-African Union for Human and Peoples' Rights published with Amnesty International a declaration in which they deplored the increase in violence in Rwanda, the distribution of weapons, the delay in the implementation of the Agreements of Arusha and the MRND's attempts to obtain a promise of amnesty for those who were implicated in previous human rights violations.

5. The Habyarimana Government eliminated those who were opposed to his Tutsi extermination plan

Planning the genocide went hand in hand with silencing all who could stand in the way. Many of them were murdered, others were thrown in prison, especially journalists who revealed the truth, for example Kameya André, the director of the newspaper Rwanda Rushya. It was in this context that Antonia Locatelli was murdered.

Antonia Locatelli, an Italian national, was director of the Center for Integrated Rural and Craft Education (CERAI) in Nyamata. His assassination occurred on the night of March 9-10, 1992 following a deliberately shot by Constable Épimaque Ulimubenshi. This Italian educator in Nyamata had welcomed Tutsi refugees fleeing the killers and had alerted several public and private institutions, including the Archdiocese of Kigali on which CERAI Nyamata depended. Antonia Locatelli had also provided information on the massacres against the Tutsi to Radio France Internationale (RFI). She was killed immediately after the broadcast of her interview in the evening newspaper of RFI. His executioner was never worried, a sign that it was an unmanned and supported act by the Rwandan regime.

Besides Antonia Locatelli, another foreigner, Brother François Cardinal, a Canadian, who ran the Butamwa Rural Youth Training Center in which young people were learning various trades, was also murdered. He lived in this center with three other brothers including the Canadian Paul Latraversse and the Rwandan Karake Evariste and Rwibandira Pierre Servillien.

As stated in the letter of 2 December 1992 from Dr Iyamuremye Augustin, director general of the intelligence service, on the night of 29 to 30 November 1992, Brother Cardinal, aged 50, had been murdered by a group of nearly 6 people wearing military uniforms. He was shot in front of the room he lived in. His assassins then entered his room and stole between 200 and 400 thousand Rwandan francs. In this letter the director general of the intelligence service ends by affirming that the population of the region complained of the poor functioning of the security services and the criminal investigation police and suspected that these services were accomplices of the criminals and other criminals.

The assassination of Brother Cardinal does not seem to have surprised those who knew him, in particular diplomats accredited to Rwanda. On November 30, 1992, the day after his assassination, the newspaper Kinyamateka met with diplomats who had gone to Butamwa to the place where the brother had died the day before. Kinyamateka reveals that one of these diplomats affirmed that this assassination was foreseeable as long as the brother was repeatedly warned on the phone that he will be killed, and that his death had been guided by Colonel Elie Sagatwa, the handsome -Brother and private advisor to President Habyarimana.

The genocide took place in 1994 before the assassins of Brother Cardinal were prosecuted, which proves that in his article Kinyamateka was correct in claiming that high authorities were behind his assassination.

6. The Habyarimana Government continued to prepare for war and Genocide

On March 10, 1994, a list of heavy weapons for the Habyarimana army was revealed. Belgian intelligence said that the number of weapons was increasing, as well as the number of soldiers. General Dallaire, who commanded UN forces, requested permission to seize the proliferation of weapons in the city of Kigali, which was denied to him by the UN Secretary-General. This was revealed by the Belgian Minister of Defense who, upon returning from visiting Rwanda, said that there were a large number of weapons in Kigali, which was contrary to the Arusha peace accords. UNAMIR attempted to seize weapons intended for the Rwandan army which had been sent by the English companies Mil-Tec and French Dyl-Invest.

There is no doubt that Habyarimana did not count on the Arusha peace accords, because the increase in arms in the country and in the population was solely aimed at exterminating the Tutsi and those who were there hostile. France continued to support the Habyarimana government by pleading its cause to increase the supply of weapons and the number of soldiers to continue the fighting.

On March 11, 1992, the director in charge of Africa and Madagascar at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paul Dijoud, advised Minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas, to increase France's military support to Rwanda and to send a high-ranking military adviser there to the Rwandan army headquarters.

CONCLUSION

As numerous events demonstrate, the Habyarimana government planned the Genocide committed against the Tutsi, and used all the tricks to hide its intentions. Habyarimana violated the Arusha peace accords by distributing weapons to the population and spreading terror throughout the country.