Monday, September 15, 2014

[Part 18] Cote d'Ivoire, The Coup d'État, by Charles Onana, Chapter 16.--The End.


[Part 18, Chapter 16, is the finale.  The image we are left with, after this long discussion of the corrosive effects of Western policies on any remaining tendencies in Africa toward Independence or true Democracy, as expressed by this Coup d'État in Côte d'Ivoire, is of a brutally murdered old Libyan Revolutionary and the mythomaniacal American shrike who 'clasped her hands and shrieked with ecstacy' at the news of his gruesome death--and she's still threatening to offer herself as the next US president.--mc]

{In the Scheveningen prison, used in the 1940’s by the Gestapo, sits an African head-of-State: President Laurent Gbagbo: duly elected by the people of Ivory Coast in 2000; in 2011, after his November 2010 re-election was contested by opponent Alassane Outtara, he was overthrown in a coup arranged by the West, particularly by France and the USA; and, in April of that year, he was placed under arrest by French troops. He now languishes in the concrete cells of the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague. First dragged before the ICC in November 2011, he has not yet gone to trial. In keeping with the Kafkaesque legal procedures at the ICC, the hearing to confirm that there was sufficient evidence to charge him and proceed to trial was not held until March 2013.  No surprise to those who know the facts, the judges at the ICC found the prosecutor had failed to present sufficient evidence to establish the charges.

But, instead of immediately releasing President Gbagbo, the judges ordered that his detention continue while the prosecutor tried to come up with some kind of evidence. Such a ruling in any common law or civil law system in the world would be seen as blatantly political—its purpose, to keep Laurent Gbagbo out of Ivory Coast politics for as long as possible.

Finally, more than a year later, on June 12, 2014, the ICC, based solely on hearsay evidence, confirmed the charges and ordered the Ivorian President to stand trial. In their decision, the judges did not once mention the principal role of French forces in the violence that took place.  However, one honest judge, Hon. Christine Van den Wyngaert, in her dissent, stated emphatically, "I am unable to join my colleagues in their decision to confirm the charges.... I am of the view that the evidence is still insufficient…. There is a considerable quantitative increase in the evidence submitted by the Prosecutor.... However, the previously identified problem regarding reliance on anonymous hearsay remains." She then found that, even taken at its highest, the prosecution had failed to meet the standard required, and that the evidence they had presented could not reasonably result in a conviction at trial.

The Prosecutor of the ICC is a former prosecutor at the Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal [ICTR] in Arusha, Tanzania, where it was standard practice to charge first and then concoct evidence later. We can see that these same extra-legal methods are being used at the ICC, and that in actuality we are observing the criminalization of International Justice. For those who wish to know why Laurent Gbagbo, Simone Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are being held in the ICC prison, Charles Onana's comprehensive and dramatic account of the events in Ivory Coast is essential reading.  One can only hope that people around the world will wake up and stand up to call for justice for these political prisoners before their leaders, too, fall victim to what can only be described as “judicial fascism."

—Christopher Black, International Defense Counsel} 

          Élysée Palace, Paris                  White House, Washington, DC

16.

The awkward silence of the African leaders
African Union                                        CEDEAO

    Just before the coup d’État against the Ivorian president, it was as if the other African leaders were paralyzed by the incessant political pressures from France and the United States.  Some even believed that they had to seem hostile toward Laurent Gbagbo to better hold on to the attention of Paris and Washington.  No one dared clearly take a dissident position at the table where the fate of Côte d’Ivoire was being decided.  Just like “good, disciplined soldiers” and concerned with respecting the established order, the African leaders seemed to dread any thought that might contradict the Élysée or the White House.  Worse still, the main regional organizations, the African Union and the CEDEAO, regularly embraced then cosigned the positions of France and the U.S., both declared adversaries of the Ivorian regime.  This was a attitude that seemed out of line with the majority of Africans who did not understand the silence of their leaders in the face of this aggression against Côte d’Ivoire.  At this time, we spoke out against the bad judgment and the lack of political courage on the part of the African leaders.[1]

    It was in 1999 that we met with a high functionary of the World Bank in Washington.  Obviously well informed, he confided to us over lunch that if Mr. Alassane Ouattara did not become president of Côte d’Ivoire, there would be “fire in the country.”  At that time, we did not understand the exact meaning of those words.  A little later, there was the coup d’État by the Ivorian officer Robert Guéï and then a political crisis, the turbulent elections and the arrival to power of Laurent Gbagbo in 2000.  Côte d’Ivoire, since that time, has experienced incessant tensions and a war, at once overt and dormant, between the rebel forces close to Ouattara and the government forces of Laurent Gbagbo.  In April 2011, all this culminated in a coup d’État against Laurent Gbagbo and the arrival to power of Alassane Ouattara.  In ten years, not only has the promise of this high functionary been realized, but the cost to the Ivorian people has been very heavy.


    What is dangerous today is not the words of World Bank officials from 1999 or the role played by certain of Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbors, but the servile alignment of the Africans, themselves, through the African Union and the CEDEAO, behind the Élysée and the White House.   This is regrettable behavior on the part of these African institutions who pretend to represent sovereign States. 

    To take sides with one candidate, without taking any basic precautions, was very imprudent for the African Union and the CEDEAO.  To support the choice of Alassane Ouattara in a contentious domestic election under the pretext that “he is favored by the International Community” is not, to be sure, very “democratic” and even less “judicious.”  Who among the African leaders to take up a position in this way, either within the CEDEAO or the African Union, could claim to have won elections that were completely transparent and without known fraud?  How many were set up and legitimized while their opponents, laid low by the magnitude of the fraud, did not understand the silence of the representatives of the European Union and the other foreign observers present in their country?  How many African and Western observers have told us of having been complicit in or impotent witnesses to organized treachery during presidential elections in Central and West Africa?  Of all these chiefs-of-State, how many were defeated by electoral fraud or for not respecting the outcome of elections?

    It seems clear that the true motives of the pro-Ouattara campaign were willfully hushed up to focus on all the dubious arm waving over respect for “electoral legality.”  If this kind of charade becomes the norm, there is a real fear that West Africa will find itself, in the long run, ruled by the militias and “rebels” and other puppets of foreign interests, just like in Central and East Africa today.  This process, which has been in play since the early 90s, will gradually spread in various forms throughout a large part of the continent if Africans continue to doze off under their beautiful sun.

    To overlook the question of control over the wealth of Côte d’Ivoire and the reasons for two attempted coups d’État in the country in 2002 and 2004 is to pretend to have forgotten the reasons for the creation of a rebellion in this same country, to develop a selective amnesia about the role played by neighboring countries in supporting the Ivorian rebellion, financing and arming it, to willfully ignore all the pressures exerted to bring about organized elections in a country that had been cut in two, with one part controlled by rebels and the other by the national army, to blow off all of this is to refuse to understand the reality of “The New World Order.”  To choose political autism with regard to the Ivorian crisis is to turn one’s back on the future and willingly force Africans into a perpetual submission to the law of the gun, to instability, to political banditry, to chronic insecurity and systematic pillaging.

    To say this is neither defeatist nor fatalistic.  It is simply an attempt to bring a little insight to the new threats that are being posed against all African countries whose resources are coveted by the West and certain interest groups.  The Ivorian case has reduced all honest observers to skepticism on hearing the agreeable discussions about good governance, the respect of Human Rights, electoral transparency and other noble concepts.

    Unlike the people who often quickly get the gravity of things, some leaders still affect a free-flowing casualness toward the threats that weigh on their countries and their governments.  They still believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are in control of their situations.  This incredible lightness of being also explains the lack of understanding that they often have as to what is at stake and what are the real intentions of their enemies or their own collaborators.  If some of them are able to understand these various machinations, their responses remain, at the very least, subject to suspicion.

    But let’s get back to some essential points of this discussion.  While we are talking about the servility of the CEDEAO and the African Union toward the positions of certain Western countries, our analysis is, on this specific point, corroborated by that of an African observer well up on the electoral problem in Côte d’Ivoire.  He is Mr. Joseph Kokou Koffigoh, the former Togolese Prime Minister and head of the observer mission of the African Union at the time of the Ivorian presidential elections.  Here is what he said to an African journalist questioning him on the post-electoral crisis:

Joseph Kokou Koffigoh of Togo

    “The African Union has set up a panel of five presidents to talk about the Ivorian crisis, with an eye toward creating “binding propositions” for both the camps of Ouattara and Gbagbo.  How will this panel come up with something other than more of the same old same old?
    —Koffigoh:  The decision of the African Union to authorize five presidents to sort out Côte d’Ivoire is good, on the condition that the chiefs-of-State go to Abidjan without taking sides, that is to say, with a concern for proposing solutions acceptable to both parties.  I don’t really understand the term “binding propositions” in this case.  The binding would have to have been in play for the past eight years for the rebellions to be curbed, instead of the complaisance we have seen with the red carpet being rolled out for those who took up arms against their own country and scorned the agreements, pacts and protocols of the African Union and the CEDEAO.
    —Didn’t the African Union contradict itself by setting up this panel while completely “recognizing the victory of Alassane Ouattara” in the second round of the presidential elections of 28 November 2010?
    —The contradiction is flagrant.  The African Union, with it bias, erected an obstacle to itself on the road to resolving the crisis by establishing “the victory” of Alassane Dramane Ouattara as a fact.  The wisest strategy would have been to evaluate the post-election crisis both from the point of view of the facts alleged by the two camps and in the light of Ivorian Constitutional law.  The African Union acted like a judge who has decided on his verdict before the trial has even started.  And there lies a problem.
    —You were the head of the observer mission of the African Union to this presidential election.  In this capacity, what proposal for a lasting way out of this crisis will you be putting on the table?
    —The declaration by the observers from the African Union was adopted unanimously by the delegates.  It recommends that possible disputes over the results be submitted to authorities created for this eventuality.  Should this occur, it is the Constitutional Council that is supposed to resolve these electoral claims as a last resort.  Laurent Gbagbo addressed himself to the Constitutional Council, as did Alassane Dramane Ouattara.  Ouattara petitioned the Council to validate his oath of office, which he had taken in writing, but the Council found it unacceptable:  so much for the law.  But since there was a problem, it was necessary for all the protagonists to act simultaneously to reach an agreement and get the country out of this impasse.  Until now, the pressure has been unilateral and applied in violation of the sovereignty of Côte d’Ivoire.  Mr. Gbagbo offered an evaluation of the process.  I do not believe that is so difficult to admit or to do. (. . .)
    —Many of your countrymen, within the framework of this Ivorian presidential election, remember the image of you at the swearing in ceremony for Laurent Gbagbo.  Was this the wisest position for the Prime Minister to adopt, right in the middle of the controversy, even if your Observer Mission was finished?
    —The Observer Mission was over.  The electoral dispute meaningless, and the Ivorian Constitution anticipated only a short time for the swearing in.  I was invited to the ceremony.  I could not support those who chose to destabilize Côte d’Ivoire by calling into question a sovereign decision made by the Constitutional Council of an independent State. (. . .)
    —Thabo Mbeki, the first African Union mediator in the Ivorian crisis, recommended in his definitive report that Ouattara and Gbagbo be persuaded to accept the way of dialogue.  Were Ouattara and Gbagbo, themselves, fundamentally opposed to this or was it rather their respective entourages that did not want peace in Côte d’Ivoire?
    —What you just said was the subject of a conversation between Thabo Mbeki and myself, while he was in Abidjan, the day after Laurent Gbagbo was sworn in.  President Mbeki told me that Mr. Gbagbo was ready to discuss, but that Alassane Ouattara was intransigent because he had the support of the International Community.  Here’s the problem.  If the pressure had been exerted on both parties, instead of the situation that we know, dialogue could have been initiated and might have led to a way out of the crisis.  So I don’t think that it was a question of the entourages.  It was the International Community that aggravated the crisis. (. . .)”

    Let’s hold on just the first point Mr. Koffigoh brought up:  the panel of five African chiefs-of-State.  He speaks with tact about contradictions in the decision by the African Union.  We could instead speak of cowardice and the incapability of the African Union to assume its duty as a regional organization.  And here is the proof.

    We obtained different very confidential reports from the ONUCI, which testify to the way in which the African Union was perceived and treated by the handpicked panel of five African leaders chosen for the Ivorian case.  A classified report from the ONUCI from 10 February 2011 says this, for example:

    “The designation by the African Union of a ‘high-level panel’ is questionable because it came out of real confusion, and error excepted, it makes the following observation:
    —The African Union, the majority of which is made up of heads-of-State who were poorly elected or came to power by force of arms (there were three on the panel), has never made a firm decision that had definitive effects on any kind of case.  Quite the opposite, these chiefs-of-State, often stick together because they are likely to share the same behavior, always get rid of those of their own people who take actions similar to those of Laurent Gbagbo.
    —Along the same lines, the heads-of-State, probably confused, chose by way of this panel to worsen the situation and just call it even, so when the time came they could get rid of this Ivorian matter and leave things as they found them.  So, the ONUCI and the United Nations lost some serious face in what could be called the Ivorian tragi-comedy.” 

    Here is, in a few words, what the intelligence analysts at the ONUCI thought of the African Union.  What is most serious is that before the panel came to Côte d’Ivoire, they were given a road map for imposing Alassane Ouattara at the head of the country.

    In a confidential report from 18 February 2011 by the ONUCI, three proposals were made to the panel of chiefs-of-State before meeting President Laurent Gbagbo.  It was above all a question of making him accept the desiderata of the Western Powers that insisted:

    “1- Alassane Ouattara is president of the Republic, it is demanded that Laurent Gbagbo leave power, with assurances, the lifting of international sanctions (freezing of assets, travel restrictions . . .), immunity from legal prosecution, the recognition of his position as former chief-of-State with all the privileges that entails.  2- Alassane Ouattara is president of the Republic, and Laurent Gbagbo is vice-president, with specific powers including standing in for the Chief in his absence.  3- Alassane Ouattara is the president and Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié are members of the High Council of the Republic.”

    So the panel came to Abidjan with the indisputable idea that Mr. Ouattara is president of the Republic and that Laurent Gbagbo must play a background role in a previously determined organization.  This untenable situation showed the total absence of power from the African Union in the face of major political questions concerning the destinies of millions of Ivorians.  Despite the irresponsibility of the African Union, its representative, Mr. Koffigoh, demonstrated some political courage and dialed up the provocation by attending the inauguration of President Laurent Gbagbo, thus creating embarrassment and ill will within the African Union.  Being mere employees, afraid of being reprimanded by their corporate superiors in the West, the officials of the African Union reacted by publishing a communiqué which said a great deal about their state of mind:

    “The Commission of the African Union (AU) was informed of the presence of Mr. Joseph Kokou Koffigoh, former Prime Minister of Togo and head of the electoral Observer Mission sent by the AU for the second round of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire, at the ceremony for the swearing in of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, which took place today, 4 December 2010.  The Commission would like to point out that Mr. Koffigoh was not representing the African Union, which in no way endorsed this individual action.”

    How can a continental organization enhance its prestige with Africans by giving the impression that it fears the reactions of the West in cases that, in appearance, come under its exclusive authority and even its discretionary power?  Who could imagine the European Union fearing to make decisions about a member-State, including those concerning African immigration, for example, because of the wrath of African leaders?  How can the African Union pretend to make sovereign decisions by constantly utilizing the great divide between the political positions of some Western countries and the political reality in Africa?  By all evidence, the credibility of the African Union—just like that of the CEDEAO—was very ceremonious in the Ivorian crisis.  From a look at the facts, the African Union showed its deficiencies and its lack of autonomy, a reality that many informed observers already knew.

    In Brussels, the representatives of African States to the European Union were just like their leaders.
    Guided by fear and their “eternal” inferiority complex, the ambassadors meeting in the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), ratified, without the slightest hesitation, every decision taken by the European Union and “the International Community” against President Gbagbo.  Undermined by instances of corruption and the misappropriation of public funds[2], the group of ACP was incapable of promoting respect for the basic principles of the electoral process in Côte d’Ivoire.  However, in a note from his secretary on “the situation in Côte d’Ivoire,” dated 26 January 2011, there is this conclusion:

    “The crisis that runs through Côte d’Ivoire is a serious and worrying crisis that has already had dramatic consequences for the country.  It could have repercussions in other West African States and in the whole of the African continent where fifteen popular consultations are scheduled over the course of the year 2011.  It should be recalled that a number of African countries were weakened by recent internal tensions.  The way in which the Ivorian crisis is resolved will most certainly have a significant impact on the handling of elections in Africa, but also in the ACP area in general.  The Group ACP must get actively involved right away in the search for a speedy and lasting resolution to this emergency.”

    After this laudable analysis, did the ambassadors of the ACP finally take up their responsibilities as they were invited to do in this note?  Alas, no!  We discovered this while going through their proposed declaration of 26 January 2011.  In this document entitled, “Declaration of the Committee of ACP Ambassadors on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire,” the authors wrote:

    “The Committee of ambassadors of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, having examined, in the course of its 836th session held on 27 Janaury 2011, the political situation that has existed in Côte d’Ivoire since the announcement of the results of the second round of the presidential elections, held on 28 November 2010; (. . .) ratifies the decisions of the UN, the joint ACP-European Union Parliamentary Assembly, the African Union, the CEDEAO and the European Union to recognize the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission of Côte d’Ivoire, as certified by the representative of the UN Secretary General, in accordance with Resolution 1765 (2007) of the UN Security Council of 16 July 2007; recognizes Mr. Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate president of Côte d’Ivoire, in conformity with the free choice expressed by the Ivorian people; demands that Mr. Laurent Gbagbo respect the results of the election and immediately cede power to Mr. Alassane Ouattara, the democratically elected president.”

    In the final version of 28 January 2011, the last two points have disappeared.  An absence of political courage or willful servility?  With this miserable situation, we could not avoid analyzing the problem of protecting the Ivorian people before their descent into hell.  Everyone noticed that the protection of the Ivorian population was never a priority, not during nor after the fall of President Gbagbo.  The mass killings perpetrated by the pro-Ouattara rebels, the targeted murders  of high Ivorian officials and pro-Gbagbo militants, the indescribable looting in Abidjan and in different cities of the country, only confirm the look and the implantation of a terrorist power in Côte d’Ivoire.  The Ivorians, who had previously only expressed their hostility toward the out-going president, discovered in stupefied agitation the brutality of the new regime.  Since the independence of Côte d’Ivoire in 1960, Abidjan has never known such a tidal wave of violence.  It is undeniable that Alassane Ouattara’s conquest and seizure of power mark a decisive turning point in the political culture for the next leaders of this country.

    The final point to be entered as evidence in our analysis is the phenomenon of the epidemic spread of political instability in West Africa, or just in Africa as one entire continent.  Two countries, one with a hostile attitude toward the government of Laurent Gbagbo and the other holding a position in conformity with that of the African Union, were shaken by the forces of destabilization.  These two nations were Burkina Faso and Libya.  The first supported and trained the pro-Ouattara rebels, while the second aligned itself with the West.  A few days after the fall of President Gbagbo, the Burkinabé chief-of-State, Blaise Compaoré quickly left his home in Ouagadougou fearing violent action on the part of unhappy elements of his army.  In Tripoli, a military action by the French Army, officially led by NATO, was launched against the regime of Colonel Muammar al-Khadafi.

The late Colonel al-Khadafi

    Their lack of solidarity with the Côte d’Ivoire of Laurent Gbagbo does not bode well for Africans.  Worse still, it led to what would ostensibly be mistakes during a meeting of the African Union, the African leaders, as was shown in the arrogant and vulgar speech of American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, delivered on 13 June 2011, just two months after the fall of Laurent Gbagbo.  On that day, Mrs. Clinton addressed the African leaders in these terms: 


Mrs. Clinton on Col. al-Khadafi:  
We came, we saw, he died. [laughter]

    . . . [W]e do know that too many people in Africa still live under longstanding rulers, men who care too much about the longevity of their reign, and too little about the legacy that should be built for their country’s future. Some even claim to believe in democracy – democracy defined as one election, one time.”

    After speaking these words, the U.S. Secretary of State was applauded by the audience.  Is it not a strange reaction from these African leaders to applaud their critic?!  Some might reply that the words Hillary Clinton spoke were true.  For sure!  But, how many of those African leaders who bully, torture and impoverish their people are supported by the United States?  How many African leaders known for their longevity in power and for their scorning of multi-party elections have the Americans propped up and defended?  The examples are legion and still on the evening news.

    With the Africans applauding at this kind of speech, one is entitled to wonder if they were awakened by, if they, indeed, understood the sense of, Hillary Clinton’s words.  She told them:

    “The United States pledges its support for those African nations that are committed to doing the difficult but rewarding work of building a free, peaceful, and prosperous future. And we look to institutions like the African Union, that are dedicated to democracy and good governance, to continue to encourage countries to walk that path or risk isolating themselves further.”

Taking advantage of this African pulpit, the American representative dictated to the Africans just what they would have to do:

    “Qadhafi must leave power. . . . I urge all African states to call for a genuine ceasefire and to call for Qadhafi to step aside. I also urge you to suspend the operations of Qadhafi’s embassies in your countries, to expel pro-Qadhafi diplomats, and to increase contact and support for the Transitional National Council. . . .”


Franco-American diplomacy at work.

    It is difficult to believe that freedom and democracy are suitably expressed in these words.  Apparently, African leaders are used to these kinds of humiliating lectures and are familiar with this kind of offensive interlocutor.  Nailed into their easy chairs by the fear of Western military intervention, the African leaders resolved to keep a low profile.  How many among them really thought they could escape these brutal methods?  Blaise Compaoré, one of the zealous servants of the initiatives to destabilize Côte d’Ivoire, had seriously to consider just what fate awaited him after having spent nearly thirty years as the head of his country without holding free and transparent elections.
Far from any inferiority complex, a few African countries have, nonetheless, taken courageous positions.  Countries like Angola and Gambia.  The former, while completely respecting diplomatic courtesy, has consistently rejected Western pressures to impose Alassane Ouattara as leader of Côte d’Ivoire[3], while the latter officially refused to recognize him as head-of-State.  These countries also testify to the hope that another way is possible and desirable for the political future of African States.



[1]  Cf. Le Potentiel of 30 December 2010.
[2]  Cf. Onana, Charles, Ces tueurs tutsi au cœur de la tragédie congolaise, Duboiris, Paris, 2009, 320pp.
[3] The Angolan government sent a note to the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) in Brussels on 30 December 2010. The Angolan authorities said they were concerned about the speed with which the International Community had taken extreme and radical measures against the candidate Laurent Gbagbo and was shocked by its refusal to consider the requests made by Gbagbo concerning electoral fraud.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

[Part 17] Côte d'Ivoire, The Coup d'État, by Charles Onana, Chapter 15.



[Part 17, Chapter 15, is the 'Abidjan-Kigali, aller-retour, with a lay-over in Paris'-part of the story.  How French President Sarkozy, with the connivance of nearly the entire national political class, dumped on Laurent Gbagbo and his democratic government in favor of his insurrectionist opponent Alassane Ouattara, while mending fences with another fascist rebel movement led by Rwandan president Paul Kagame--all this amounting to a craven betrayal of the French military and an abandonment of its many African martyrs.  France's dancing for its American trick has recently become painfully grotesque.--mc]

{In the Scheveningen prison, used in the 1940’s by the Gestapo, sits an African head-of-State: President Laurent Gbagbo: duly elected by the people of Ivory Coast in 2000; in 2011, after his November 2010 re-election was contested by opponent Alassane Outtara, he was overthrown in a coup arranged by the West, particularly by France and the USA; and, in April of that year, he was placed under arrest by French troops. He now languishes in the concrete cells of the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague. First dragged before the ICC in November 2011, he has not yet gone to trial. In keeping with the Kafkaesque legal procedures at the ICC, the hearing to confirm that there was sufficient evidence to charge him and proceed to trial was not held until March 2013.  No surprise to those who know the facts, the judges at the ICC found the prosecutor had failed to present sufficient evidence to establish the charges.

But, instead of immediately releasing President Gbagbo, the judges ordered that his detention continue while the prosecutor tried to come up with some kind of evidence. Such a ruling in any common law or civil law system in the world would be seen as blatantly political—its purpose, to keep Laurent Gbagbo out of Ivory Coast politics for as long as possible.

Finally, more than a year later, on June 12, 2014, the ICC, based solely on hearsay evidence, confirmed the charges and ordered the Ivorian President to stand trial. In their decision, the judges did not once mention the principal role of French forces in the violence that took place.  However, one honest judge, Hon. Christine Van den Wyngaert, in her dissent, stated emphatically, "I am unable to join my colleagues in their decision to confirm the charges.... I am of the view that the evidence is still insufficient…. There is a considerable quantitative increase in the evidence submitted by the Prosecutor.... However, the previously identified problem regarding reliance on anonymous hearsay remains." She then found that, even taken at its highest, the prosecution had failed to meet the standard required, and that the evidence they had presented could not reasonably result in a conviction at trial.

The Prosecutor of the ICC is a former prosecutor at the Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal [ICTR] in Arusha, Tanzania, where it was standard practice to charge first and then concoct evidence later. We can see that these same extra-legal methods are being used at the ICC, and that in actuality we are observing the criminalization of International Justice. For those who wish to know why Laurent Gbagbo, Simone Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are being held in the ICC prison, Charles Onana's comprehensive and dramatic account of the events in Ivory Coast is essential reading.  One can only hope that people around the world will wake up and stand up to call for justice for these political prisoners before their leaders, too, fall victim to what can only be described as “judicial fascism."

—Christopher Black, International Defense Counsel} 




15.

Sarkozy attacks Abidjan and cozies up to Kigali


Two African heads-of-State & three French civilians 
among those murdered by RPF.

There is no merit in it, but let’s emphasize it all the same, that we were among those rare voices that were raised in demanding Truth and Justice in the murders of two African chiefs-of-State and three French pilots in a terrorist attack on 6 April 1994 in Rwanda.  An attack organized by the current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and his rebel movement.[1]  For seventeen years, the Rwandan dictator has benefited from impunity, and the widows of the French flight crew have waited painfully for their political representatives to make progress toward justice.

    At the same time, the French judiciary has been quite diligent in going after all the Rwandan Hutu seeking refuge in France whom the Kigali strongman arbitrarily deigns to find guilty of “genocide.”  The widow of the Rwandan president murdered on 6 April along with his French flight crew, Agathe Habyarimana, a refugee in France, risks being extradited at any moment to the Rwanda of Paul Kagame, the person who ordered the attack against her husband.  This African dictator and war criminal, courted by Nicolas Sarkozy[2] and by his former Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, has never stopped insulting France and its leaders.  Despite the multitude of UN reports that present him as the principal looter of mineral resources from Congo, certain French leaders find him worth spending time with.
The widow Habyarimana, 
among the 'genocidaires' protected by France

    We have, however, thanks to the testimonies of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a personal bodyguard to Mr. Kagame, and his own former Defense Minister, demonstrated that this man committed crimes against Humanity in Eastern Congo in order to take control of the region’s wealth and to increase the profits of the multinationals and various other criminal groups[3].  This has never caused the French authorities to review their positions with regard to the Rwandan regime.  However, some European legislators in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, have continued to worry about the drift toward criminality of Paul Kagame’s government.

    In France, silence still prevails over the aggressive acts and language of the autocrat from Kigali.  All Mr. Kagame’s victims, African and French, watch dumbstruck as French Justice prevaricates and procrastinates on the case of the 6 April 1994 attack.  A case that has suffered gross manipulation from the Rwandan dictator, and to which French authorities simply have bowed an idle knee.  The same victims also spoke out against the repeated attacks by Paul Kagame against France and the cavalcade of French leaders, like Bernard Kouchner or even President Sarkozy, marching hand in hand with the Tutsi of Rwanda.  The French widows were never given such privilege, or even shown the slightest compassion by the Republic.

The Special Ks: Kouchner & Kagame

    Angered by this unjust and scornful treatment, we pursued our investigations into the attack and the other crimes committed by the pro-Kagame rebels.  We have denounced the incomprehensible silence of the French authorities over the 1994 assassinations by the Tutsi rebels of two French junior officers:  Lt. Alain Didot, and his Italian wife, and Lt. René Mayer.  The extremist Tutsi so wanted to destroy these Frenchmen, witnesses to their crimes, that they even killed their dog with a bullet to the head.[4]  Not content to have eliminated embarrassing witnesses, the criminal Tutsi of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) then launched a vast campaign against the French troops of Operations Turquoise.[5]  This extraordinary campaign was aided and abetted, as always, by the entire French press.  How could the French media, which had oddly abstained from discussing the shots fired by the French Army on the civilian population of Abidjan in 2004[6], regularly and vehemently attack the French military, and even the former President of the Republic, François Mitterand, for their “crimes in Rwanda”?

    We really were troubled by the methods and the conduct of certain journalists who did not hide their sympathies for Paul Kagame.  However, the Ivorian tragedy is no less shocking than that of Rwanda.  Just as the events in Rwanda, so those in Côte d’Ivoire deserved a Parliamentary investigative commission, or at least a fact-finding mission.[7]

    This was impossible.  The “pain” of Tutsi criminals in Rwanda seemed to have more of a hold on the attention of the media than did that of Ivorian civilians.  The “suffering” of the Tutsi was truly an “international suffering” because the world had, each year on 7 April but never 6 April, to do an act of contrition and dedicate a few minutes of silence to the memory of the “genocide of the Tutsi.”[8]  From time to time, French and Belgian ministers or diplomats would make a pilgrimage to the “memorial of the lie” in Kigali.  They would prostrate themselves before a collection of bleached bones and the skulls of victims who were arbitrarily said to be Tutsi.  How can someone know if a skull belonged to a Tutsi or a Hutu?  In this festival of hypocrites and frauds, the European Union was well represented.  The EU required its employees to respect a minute of silence for the “Tutsi victims.”  It is patently ridiculous, but Brussels couldn’t care less!  The millions of victims of slavery still do not have the right to such honors or to such spectacles in Europe.  It is high time they were given some consideration.

    This prioritizing of victims and their suffering is unacceptable, because no victim of the Rwandan tragedy is more important than another.  The Tutsi, the Hutu, the Twa, the French, the Spanish and the Canadians, who were murdered all deserve to be accounted for and mourned.  The manipulation that the criminal Tutsi, with their global network of supporters, try to impose on the entirety of European, African and American public opinion, is unacceptable.


    Once, our friend Paul Moreira explained to us just how his work on Côte d’Ivoire was seen when he was still employed by the French TV network Canal Plus.  He describes this experience in a book published in 2007:

    “This happens once, maybe twice, in a journalist’s life:  to have, sitting on his desk, physical evidence that the power is lying. To consider the piles of official versions that come out of the television and to know that they are false.  Then to be in the eye of the storm, facing the chiefs of staff of the crisis, the communications experts, the secret advisors to multifarious interests.  Some want you to get behind their cause, others are gearing up to minimize the impact of your revelations.  This is what happened to me in 2004, at the time of the events that bloodied Côte d’Ivoire.”[9]

    As with our friend Paul Moreira, for the last seventeen years we have seen how the official story on Rwanda invaded the public space.  For the last seventeen years we have seen the shelves at bookstores and university libraries and various research centers, especially in France, packed with books full of lies and propaganda journals heavily larded with disinformation on Rwandan events.  For seventeen years this has gone on, and those who know the truth or who have lived through these same events lose hope of ever seeing or hearing anything about Rwanda other than the propaganda lies about the “genocide of the Tutsi,” which, moreover, the International Criminal Tribunal is having a great deal of difficulty proving.  The more time passes, the more brains get thoroughly washed.

    This said, if we were deeply angered by the behavior of those French soldiers who fired on unarmed civilians in Abidjan, we have never really been convinced by the accusations made against French soldiers in the matter of Rwanda.  If the criticism of the French Army in Côte d’Ivoire is completely valid, it is much less so in the Rwandan case.  The reality is not as clear-cut as some African ideologues would make it out to be, perhaps in an attempt better to hide the true relations of force in play on this continent and to make it all the more difficult for structured liberation and emancipation struggles.

    We have worked on this subject for more than ten years, and we are still waiting to see evidence supporting the presumably well-founded charges levied against the French Army in Rwanda, particularly in the matter of Operation Turquoise.

Operation Turquoise

    This campaign, orchestrated by a criminal regime in search of a moral make-over, was, ironically, received and warmly embraced in France, and supported by public personalities of the first order.  Because we questioned the credibility of these accusations from the Rwandan government on the basis of our own research and of our various investigations, the French sycophants charmed by the Rwandan dictator did not hesitate in branding us “negationists” or even “the lackeys of Françafrique[10].”  However, we have never been in any way associated with this system.  We have never taken part in this school of thought, nor do we have any intentions of joining it.  Yet, despite their underhanded attacks, none of our detractors has dared to face us in a public debate on the Rwandan events.  What kind of “specialists” or aggressive militants are these who fear an open debate?  Among the shyer and more retiring of our critics is the French organization Survie, the principal mouthpiece in France for the war criminal Paul Kagame, and whose founder and president, Jean Carbonare, worked as an advisor to the Rwandan dictator.  This outfit, which does not hesitate to peddle lies, falsify reality and manipulate public opinion, prides itself in having “brought democratic reason to the policies of France in Africa.”  Which France and which policies are these?  And what “democratic reason” are they talking about?  Where is the “democratic reason” when Survie represents the interests of the Rwandan dictator against the Truth and Justice demanded by French widows?  Where is “democratic reason” when Survie and its friends persecute innocent people on French soil solely because they are Hutu, and do so on the order or with the approval of the Rwandan dictator?  Where is the “democratic reason” when Survie applies all manner of pressure to stop any democratic debate in France on the events in Rwanda?  Where was its “democratic reason” when we were invited to Strasbourg by Amnesty International to present the results of our investigations into the Rwandan events, and Survie, instead of coming along to argue against us, chose to hand out slanderous leaflets in front of the conference room, trying to get the public not to attend the debate?

RPF flacks, Survie & Jean Carbonare

    This new, post-68ist colonialism is more dangerous than the real colonialism of the 18th and 19th centuries.  The old-school colonists had at least a touch of sincerity in their ideological plan, even if their actions were highly dubious.  They believed, many of them, in the good intentions of their “civilizing mission” and justified it with coherent discourse.  Survie is, on the other hand, made up of such cowards, who scarcely recognize that African is the source of their livelihood, their unwholesome business, the suave for their humanitarian and commercial consciences.  Behind all the verbiage about Françafrique, Survie selected among the African regimes those it would denounce and those whose crimes it would bury in silence, and for doing so received compensation.[11]  Organizations of this kind are the effective allies of the new players in the game of predation and destabilization on the African continent, especially the multi-national corporations and the mafias who use armed rebellion as a means to destabilize States and more thoroughly loot them.


    By making people believe that France in the 21st Century is still a major player on the African stage and that the force relations in the world are still carried on by nation states, they impose a critical grid that is obsolete, anachronistic and false, and that prevents the precise identification and neutralization of the true enemies of the African continent. This makes it necessary to ask the question of whether or not Survie is, in fact, one of the enemies of Africa.

    As for Rwanda, our long investigations in Africa, Europe and the United States, have clearly demonstrated that in order to hide the crimes committed against his own people, as well as against the French, Spanish, Canadians and Congolese, President Paul Kagame, who was “elected” in 2003 and again in 2010 with Breshnevian mandates of 95% and 93.08%—while jailing his significant opposition to the abject indifference of the “International Community” and of Survie, France—chose to assign responsibility for the genocide to the French military.[12]  This propaganda has never inspired the slightest indignation from France’s god-fearing bien-pensants.  Today we understand why.

    In fact, it was the chief of the Tutsi rebels, who was supported by the Pentagon and American military instructors, whom Washington decided to put in power in Rwanda in 1994.  Backed up by the pro-American networks in France and supported in Israel where he has even been compared by a former Mossad official to David Ben Gurion[13], Kagame understood that he could attack and thumb his nose at French forces without riling up the French political class.  His supporters were so powerful that no one among the French leaders had the temerity to defend the honor of the French Army.  Kagame was even permitted to threaten pulling his troops out of Darfur if the UN cancelled the mission of the Rwandan officer Karenzi Karake, then head of the Blue Helmets in Darfur, who had been accused of being one of the perpetrators of the 6 April 1994 attack and was being sought by the Spanish courts.[14]  It took the determination of elected officials and Human Rights organizations in Spain to get the UN to agree to the removal from duty of this war criminal.
Lt. General Karenzi Karake headed the UNAMID in Darfur.

    After that, confidential information we received from certain high officials and intelligence agents of UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) made it obvious that the major support from Great Britain and the United States, otherwise allies of France, to Kagame had paralyzed the French political class and, at the same time, given him heightened credibility among uninformed Africans.[15]  This cagey job of disinformation has also bloomed with the help of the French media, who do not dare to inspect or criticize the role of their country in the Rwandan events.

    The reality in this case is that the United States worked to remove France from its historical zones of influence, which makes sense from a geopolitical perspective.  “The weight of Washington and its lobbies in the big African cases is such that the French leaders preferred to keep a low profile whenever they came up against the Americans.”  This is what we were told in confidence by an American diplomat in Ottawa in 2009.

    And for more than ten years, we have accumulated facts, testimony and evidence on the entourage of Paul Kagame, from UN diplomats and from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).  We have questioned ministers, legislators, officers and agents of intelligence services in Europe, Africa and the United States.  There is near unanimity about Kagame’s lies and the weight of his minders in the campaign against France and in what has been expediently referred to as “the genocide of the Tutsi.”  Some of them remained dubious about the deafening silence of the French authorities.  A heavy silence that suggest the obfuscation of guilt from the eyes of the general public, but a silence that suffocates and frustrates those in the French military who are seeking Truth and Justice.[16]

    The welcome extended to President Kagame on 12-13 September 2011 by Nicolas Sarkozy went a long way in convincing the French military that relations with this African dictator were more important than the murders of French citizens or the honor of the French Army.  Did French leaders understand the frustrations of their own soldiers in the face of these accusations being repeated by Rwandan criminals?  Had they accurately calculated the psychological effects of their apathy on the soldiers who were demanding the return of their honor?  How many among them would accept living under a pall of false accusations based on colonial France’s having a sordid reputation in Africa?

    Not having been a French soldier in Operation Turquoise, nor, much less, a French colonialist, we suffered libelous attacks and unbearable pressure over the years for no other reason than that we dared question the assassinations of two African heads-of-State and their three-man French flight crew.  For that, some of our French colleagues informed us that our discussions and our discoveries were not welcome in certain journals.  Radio, network TV and the newspapers, blacklisted us because we held views contrary to the official line.  Some journalist of good faith and who opposed these methods worthy of totalitarian regimes gave us the facts with precision.  Some emissaries of the Tutsi lobby in France told us:  “Change sides or stop talking about Rwanda and you will be invited back into the media.”  Some French organizations, and even certain French public figures working in Paris on behalf of the Rwandan dictator, stepped in to stop us from making presentations at public conferences on Rwanda and the African Great Lakes region.  They were sometimes supported or backed up in these censorial operations by French elected officials.

Hubert Védrine

    All those who dare, especially in France, to take a position against the Rwandan dictator or his allies are always harassed, hounded and hunted down.  In 2007, Hubert Védrine, the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, was violently sprayed with a red liquid in a public place and called a “genocidaire” because he had questioned the version of the Rwandan events presented by Paul Kagame.  In October 2006, the writer and investigative journalist Pierre Péan was taken to court by SOS Racisme and charged with inciting racial hatred (or racism toward the Tutsi).   On the witness stand, Dominique Sopo, the president of SOS Racisme, who had, in February 2006, traveled to Rwanda on a junket put together by friends of the Rwandan dictator, took a strongly pro-Tutsi position.  His vague knowledge of the history of Rwanda would weigh heavily on his discussion of the “genocide.”

    During this trial, the lawyers for SOS Racisme were the renowned Maîtres Léon-Lef Forster and Bernard Maingain, known for representing the associates of Paul Kagame who were charged in the terrorist attack of 6 April 1994.  SOS Racisme hoped thereby to discredit a “Blanc” who dared attack the “Blancs menteurs” (the White Liars) and especially the “criminels Noirs,” the Black criminals in Paul Kagame’s regime.  The organization SOS Racisme tried to convince the under-informed Blacks that it was working only against racism and that it defended the “oppressed” of Rwanda.  Out of concern for equality, we would expect this organization to take the defense of those Hutu persecuted in France, because of their ethnic origins, by Paul Kagame and his French henchmen.  By defending a Rwandan against the blackmail and the arbitrary charges of “genocide,” whatever might be his ethnic origins, SOS Racisme would show it was not working solely for the Tutsi and the dictatorial regime in Kigali.

    This strategy seemed, nevertheless, very unlikely when one heard Dominique Sopo’s idea of the conflict in Rwanda and when in the course of the Pierre Péan trial he said:  “To recall the blood of the Hutus is to sully the blood of the Tutsis.”  It is really difficult to imagine that someone who could say something like this could actually hold the convictions to carry on an anti-racist struggle.  It is regrettable that Dominique Sopo chose to ignore all the open letters and calls personally addressed to him demanding he explain his shocking words.

Dominique Sopo morally defeated by Pierre Péan

    At the end of a great showdown before the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, the court did not go along with SOS Racisme and its president in their campaign of manipulation against Pierre Péan.  The great French investigative journalist, who had been a sort of godfather to and sympathizer with SOS Racism from its inception, was acquitted in the first trial and again on appeal.  Dominique Sopo, disappointed not to have successfully pulled off his witchhunt against Pierre Péan, had to be content with shrieking about the “genocide.”

    And Alain Juppé, the current French Foreign Minister, has been wildly attacked on different Internet sites favorable to the Rwandan dictator.

    For nearly seventeen years, the Kigali strongman has strangely benefited from solid support in the press and on French territory.  Because of illegal exploitation of the mines in Congo, Paul Kagame has been able to take care of some Parisian writers and his satellite organizations.  When it is necessary to speak about Rwanda, it is his French and African sycophants who jump up in front of the TV cameras, the radio microphones and into the columns of the newspapers.  And most of these people have no qualms about presenting themselves as experts and specialist and the like.  And they are never faced with a heavyweight opponent.  Is it possible that certain political leaders have completely lost their resolve before the chief Rwandan rebel and correctly surmised that the honor of France sadly disappeared into the mists of the thousand hills when faced by a war criminal who murdered five French citizens and two African heads-of-State?

    Without any doubt, if one listens to President Sarkozy’s statements from his official trip to Kigali on 25 February 2010, a trip prepared by his Foreign Minister at the time, Bernard Kouchner, the main supporter of Paul Kagame in France:  “Errors of judgment, political errors were committed here, and they had absolutely dramatic consequences.”  Strange statements, in perfect contradiction to those made in 1994, on French TV’s channel 2, by the same Nicolas Sarkozy, then the spokesman for Prime Minister Edouard Balladur’s government:

    “It is a humanitarian operation, conducted within time limitations, with the goal of saving all those that we can save from being massacred.  But we are well aware that this operation is difficult, complex and risky.  But it is all to the honor of France to engage in a humanitarian operation.”

    After such a change of opinion, it is understandable that the French soldiers will have some difficulty in making themselves heard.[17]  Angered by the French-Rwandan rapprochement, the commander-in-Chief of Operation Turquoise decided, after 15 December 2009, to remind President Sarkozy of a fond memory[18]:

    “France and Rwanda have reestablished diplomatic relations after serious judicial and political concerns had broken them off.  It is not, of course, for the French military personnel who served in Rwanda to judge the validity of this diplomatic process.  But the question that can be legitimately posed is:  What price will French soldiers be made to pay for this reestablishment?  In fact, if the official statements accompanying this important decision praise the virtues of the current regime in Kigali, they are silent about the serious accusations made against the actions of the French military in Rwanda, especially those who took part in Operation Turquoise, carried out in 1994 with a UN mandate.  These accusations recur:  complaints filed in 2005 with the Tribunal aux Armées in Paris by the Rwandans for “complicity in genocide”; declarations by the Rwandan president claiming that the soldiers of Operation Turquoise “had come to kill Tutsis”; accusations made by the government in Kigali in August 2008 against certain French officers of “having fully taken charge of the genocide project.”  Ten officers filed counter-complaints against these last charges.  Although many soldiers had appeared as witnesses and testified at length before the Criminal Brigade [Internal Affairs for the military—tr], no procedural follow- up was ever done on the 2005 complaints, which seemed perpetually frozen in fact- finding.  More than four years later, the officers involved wondered about the delays in this process, the outcome of which was their chief concern.  But the French and international press, regularly brought up the existence of these charges, relating them publicly to the allegations of “complicity in genocide” still weighing on the French Army.  But everyone knew that it was easier to sully an individual reputation or that of an institution with unfounded accusations than to reestablish the truth several years after the facts.  The official silence regarding the entirety of the accusations made against the French Army over several years might give the impression that there was some validity to them.  Implicitly validated, these charges hung on in History.  If they were unfounded, they had to be debunked.  It is normal to ask a great deal of the military, but they cannot be made the sole and silent victims of diplomatic gamesmanship or some Realpolitik.  So it falls to the politicians to shoulder their responsibilities, including an acceptance of the past.  At the moment when France was rushing its soldiers out into foreign theatres of operations, the French military personnel who serve it were being criminally accused by the highest Authorities of the State that could weigh in on such a grave matter.  The right of the State does not justify the honor of soldiers being scorned and the historical truth being perverted.”

    Who, among those with knowledge of the Rwandan case, could remain deaf to this legitimate demand from so many French soldiers?  Who could humanly refuse to understand the suffering of these soldiers from Operation Turquoise?  Who could refuse objectively to put an end to this situation and why?  General Lafourcade has always hoped that the truth would come out about the role of the troops he led at this time when they had to save thousands of innocents from being hunted down by the Tutsi rebels.[19]  He has always hoped that the politicians would work to return their honor in this matter.  We share his hope even if we are still skeptical as to the courage of some of these men and women in French politics, especially as regards the Rwandan affair.

General Lafourcade

    On several occasions, we spoke with the French General about the Rwanda of Paul Kagame and the difficulty the French media have in bringing out the truth.  Only the weekly Marianne has sometimes taken the risk of going against the consensus.  So, it is not by chance that this magazine has given General Lafourcade the opportunity to vent his anger.  Our problem was not being able to tell General Lafourcade openly we felt very deeply that his country, France, had abandoned the soldiers of Operation Turquoise.  Modestly, though not naively, General Lafourcade maintained his dignity in the face of all that he and his men had suffered for so many years now.  In reading the book by his colleague Didier Tauzin, we learned that the French political authorities had gotten to the media bosses to limit the publicity given to his book.”[20]  When Michèle Alliot-Marie and Alain Juppé were named Minister of Defense and Foreign Minister, respectively, he told us that he was hoping, once again, something would happen.  But, at the umpteenth commemoration of the “Tutsi genocide,” the Foreign Minister, usually jeered at by pro-Kagame militants in France and by the French organizations that support the Rwandan dictator, issued this communiqué to his Rwandan counterpart, Louise Mushikiwabo:

Foreign Ministers Juppé of France and Mushikiwabo of Rwanda.

    “Madame Minister,
    On the occasion of the celebration of the 17th anniversary of the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, France wishes to be present in Kigali along side the Rwandan people, to share this moment of mourning and introspection, and so pay our respects to the memory of the victims.
    The genocide of 1994 remains in our memories.  This tragedy calls on each one of us, each of our nations, to redouble our efforts so that such horrors never happen again.  I want to assure you of the determination of the French authorities, as well as my own, to pursue and bring to justice those guilty of the genocide, wherever they are, and to struggle against all forms of negationism.
    Be assured, Mme Minister, that France stands by you.  I have authorized Mr. François Zimeray, our Ambassador for Human Rights, to be the bearer of France’s commitment to Kigali on the occasion of the commemoration.  The prospects for the future of our bilateral cooperation, which President Kagame and President Sarkozy drew up together in Kigali on 25 February last year, have started to come together, and I rejoice in this.  France and Rwanda must continue to deepen their dialogue, in all domains.  I will endeavor to work with you in this direction.
    Please accept, Mme Minister, this expression of my great respect.”

    Yet, when Alain Juppé was named Foreign Minister, a French organization known as “des parties civiles” [the plaintiffs in a civil suit—tr], favorable toward the extremist Tutsi and very pro-Kagame, launched a vicious campaign against him:

    “The nomination of Alain Juppé as Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position he held from 1993 to 1995, brings back some bad memories to all those who are still today concerned about the genocide of the Tutsi carried out in Rwanda in 1994.”

    Fortunately for Kagame, the representative of France who carried this message to the Rwandan government was a friend of Bernard Kouchner.  This would be François Zimeray.  He did not hold the same positions Alain Juppé did on Rwanda.  He seemed more sensitive to the suffering of the Tutsi than to the search for the truth.  And the French diplomat, very pluralistic, was so guided.

    Mr. Zimeray, who was on friendly turf in Rwanda, declared on arriving in Kigali:  “I have come at the request of Alain Juppé (. . .)  The tenor of his message is first that France stands with Rwanda and shares its suffering, this is the sense of my visit,” Mr. Zimeray specified.  “France is committed to the obligations of justice, of remembrance, and of truth, which must go hand-in-hand (. . .).  We will be alongside Rwanda in the future, France wants to be a partner to Rwanda,” he went on.  Mr. Zimeray reported that Mr. Juppé had also invited President Paul Kagame to come to France on an official visit.  Feeling himself courted by Paris, the Rwandan dictator, like a capricious child, spat back:  “Alain Juppé’s point of view, even his involvement in the events surrounding the genocide here in Rwanda are well known (. . .).  I think that the Rwandans were insulted by his attitude and the positions he took,” jabbed the Rwandan head-of-State, while saluting the “efforts made” by President Nicolas Sarkozy in improving relations between Paris and Kigali.  Galvanized by the effect of these words against Alain Juppé, Paul Kagame resumed his attack in a magazine interview:

    “At the beginning of April, you had some very hard words toward the French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppé, whose nomination was criticized by your government.  Did you say, “the Rwandans were insulted by his attitude and the positions he has taken” during and after the genocide.  Since then, Alain Juppé has sent a conciliatory message to his Rwandan counterpart.  Isn’t it time to turn the page?
    —I don’t take back a single word I said before this message came our way.  If he has a different approach to Rwanda and a new evaluation of the situation, we will examine that.  For the rest of it, his nomination takes nothing away from the laudable efforts of President Sarkozy since his arrival in office toward improving Franco-Rwandan relations.
    —Would Alain Juppé be welcome in Rwanda?
    —Not to my knowledge.
    —What do you expect from him exactly?  An apology?  Repentance?
    —It is not up to me to take the place of someone who is facing up to his responsibilities.  This is not my job, it’s his.
    —When he came through Kigali, in February 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy invited you to come to France.  Are you planning to go?
    —It’s possible.  It still depends on the circumstances, the scheduling and the formalization of this invitation.
    —Is Alain Juppé an obstacle to this visit?
    —No. . . .
    France is not just Alain Juppé.”[21]

    Sure of his support in France, the Rwandan criminal did not have the slightest regard for the French Foreign Minister.  And President Nicolas Sarkozy could not say anything about it.  Kagame was received at the Élysée despite protests by members of the military and a few Human Rights activists.  One more humiliation for France and for the widows of French servicemen!  The soldiers understood that the truth they sought was not a priority at the Élysée that day.  Distraught but combative, the French soldiers did not give up.  General Didier Tauzin, who had commanded the First Regiment of the Marine Infantry Paratroopers from 1992 to 1994, deplored the fact that while a worthless report from the Rwandan dictator had called the honor of the French Army into question, the President of the Republic, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, was not at all offended:

Gen. Tauzin's call for Justice 
for the French militray in Rwanda.

    “As for us, officers and generals accused by the Mucyo Report and now liable to be arrested like before by the Nazi criminals, we demanded, in the autumn of 2008, that the President of the Republic officially reject these accusations.”[22]

    What then was the reaction of the French head-of-State?  Again the answer comes from General Tauzin:

    “Mr. President of the Republic, General Lafourcade and a dozen general officers, including Admiral Lanxade, former Chief of Staff of the Army, General Quesnot, former Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic, General Rosier and myself, have asked you to state publicly that the French Army fulfilled its mission honorably in Rwanda:  you have been silent and you continue to be silent!  You defend the honor of your ministers when they are unjustly attacked, and that is one of your duties; why don’t you defend the honor of the French Army and of French soldiers, to whom you are the Supreme Commander?  If we were in the wrong, you would have punished us long ago, and you would have been right to do so.  Your silence wounds us deeply, wounds our families, wounds the Army.”[23]

    In 2011, General Tauzin, greatly vexed, stated:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, our elected officials, the French people did not put you in office so you could allow harm to come to France, to those who governed the country between 1990 and 1994, or to our soldiers!  Your silence or your “petty words” only add weight to the doubt and suspicion, intensify already inflammatory assertions; such behavior besmirches your national legitimacy.”[24]


    If President Sarkozy warmly welcomed Paul Kagame to France, was it because he wanted to spare himself being attacked by the Rwandan regime?  Probably not, if one can believe a book of propaganda published in Kigali in 2007.  From the very first page of this anti-French work, the tone is set:

    “Some NCO instructors, Blacks from the overseas French territories disguised as Rwandan govt. troops, impressively trained units of the ex-Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR) and Interahamwe militia; they turned them into veritable killing machines; Nicolas Sarkozy, then French Minister of Finance, gave them a trifling one billion French francs siphoned off the account of the Central Insurance Fund to serve as the sinews of war (or of genocide).”[25]

    Then an entire chapter in this indigestible junk-stew of a document is reserved for Nicolas Sarkozy, whom it accuses of having “financed the genocide.”  This book, prepared by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, Paul Kagame’s party, was co-written by a Belgian pro-Tutsi militant who defends Kagame’s regime on several Internet sites.

    If we return at some length to this Rwandan prelude, it is precisely because we have always defended certain universal principles.  “Zo kwe zo,” “every human being is first a human,” pointed out the father of independence for the Central African Republic, Barthélémy Boganda.  With this expression, Boganda is saying that in all people there is first a human and not a Catholic, an atheist, a Muslim, a “White,” a “Black,” a “Red” or whatever other phony ideological or political distinction might be used.  We have never participated nor wanted to participate in ethnic, religious or racial quarrels.  When injustice strikes human beings, the quality or quantity of their suffering does not depend on their ethnic, religious or even “racial” origins.

    We always expect to be edified by the irrefutable evidence that the Rwandan government—or the French—can provide, not to the media that are accustomed to their propaganda, but before those international judicial bodies that favor it.  We are thinking here primarily of the ICTR, which is perfectly qualified to entertain the petitions of President Kagame.  For the moment, we are holding our positions and not letting ourselves get swept away, like many French and Africans are, by the incantatory gesticulations of this Rwandan war criminal.

    This prior consideration was indispensable for understanding the strange attitude of President Sarkozy and the French leaders toward Côte d’Ivoire, because the French intervention of April 2011 into that country was something else again.  It was not, in any case, a Humanitarian Intervention decided on by the UN Security Council, like the one in Rwanda in 1994.  It did not arrive with the support of the sitting government, as was the case in 1994 Rwanda, or on the basis of the defense treaties signed between the two States.  And it was not, contrary to what its instigators would have us believe, either legitimate or legal according to the Constitution.  It appears, in fact, to have been a clandestine and pernicious action taken against the Ivorian State, as well as against the democratic institutions of that country.  The best evidence of this is that it was secretly supported, and sometimes followed up on, by the actions of the rebel forces.  This is illegal and in contravention of the bi-lateral military agreements signed on 24 April 1961 between France and Côte d’Ivoire.  Worse still, France violated its own UN mandate.

    Why did Mr. Sarkozy decide to shell the residence of President Laurent Gbagbo for ten days?  What democratic principle authorized this?  Had Gbagbo killed five French citizens as Kagame had in 1994?  Did he break off diplomatic relations with France as Kagame did in 2006?  Did he humiliate France and the French Army as Kagame did on a number of occasions and continues to do, even in France’s own media?  Did he file charges against the French Army as pro-Kagame militants did in 2005?  Did he even once loudly denounce the dirty tricks played by the French authorities in his country or their alliance with the rebels?  Absolutely not!  He did nothing of the sort!  The only mistake Laurent Gbagbo made was to be of good faith, to want to be a peaceful patriot, intractable certainly, but conciliatory all the same.

    Kagame, on the other hand, is a brute they seem to be able to get along with; a puppet without faith or moral code who pleases certain French leaders, a former-maquisard whose arrogance and cruelty is admired in Paris, a reputed Francophobe with whom the French dialogue, a notoriously corrupt player known to have looted the diamonds and coltan of Congo, a war criminal with no sense of Human Rights in his own country, and a sub-contractor to the multi-nationals who spread death throughout his and neighboring countries.[26]  These are some of the qualities Sarkozy likes to find in a leader.

    Basically, Kagame possesses certain “character traits” that some Western leaders are very fond of.  And he serves the interests of the U.S. and other foreign groups in the African Great Lakes region with great zeal and dedication.  In order to avoid going head-up with the Americans and their lobbies, the French authorities have cast away their last vestiges of honor and dignity.  Instead of building a beneficial partnership between France and Côte d’Ivoire, with a democratically elected president, the French chose to oust him.  They only wanted to see Laurent Gbagbo as an enemy to be put down at all cost.

    It is true that the Ivorian president never benefited from the same kind of support that Paul Kagame received from Paris; and he also never behaved with the same vulgarity and arrogance.  Laurent Gbagbo does not belong to this class of vile and cruel African politicians, who draw their legitimacy from abroad.  So the conversation with Gbagbo was supposed to have been about his ambitions for his country and his vision of Franco-African relations.  This may still have been an exercise too far out of the ordinary for French leaders who seem to miss the days when France told African leaders what their policies were to be.  Without having taken the time to prepare powerful foreign support and armed only with his national legitimacy, Laurent Gbagbo became an easy target.  We will understand how.

The Grand Lodge of French Free Masonry

    When Laurent Gbagbo came to power in 2000, he had not properly made friends at the Élysée, at Matignon or on the Rue Monsieur.  And he was not really supported by the French business community.  Even worse, he did not share that passion so common to African political leaders for French Free Masonry.  At the Grand National French Lodge (GLNF), certain members really wanted his hide.  So the game promised to be tough because the Ivorian president had collected quite a few handicaps in the “Franco-African” sense of the term.  Furthermore, he had no intention of joining the “dictators club” by taking part in the France-Africa Summits, which he considered a tradition of a by-gone age.  He successively boycotted the Summits in Paris (2003), in Bamako (2005), Cannes (2007), and Nice (2010), because France, throughout this period, was playing a dangerous game in Côte d’Ivoire.  At the time of these last two Summits, he demanded that the Franco-Ivorian dispute of 2004, which led to the deaths of Ivorian civilians, be settled, and this meant settled amicably.  Paris wanted none of this.

    Truth be told, Laurent Gbagbo was not even slightly interested in these grand “pow-wows” where most of the time was spent plotting dirty tricks and minor hustles with “friends.”   Some criticized him, and will always criticize him, for staying home from these France-Africa Summits.  But no one wants to consider his point of view.  You would have to say it just doesn’t exist.

    When Nicolas Sarkozy decided to overthrow him, very few people in Paris were ready to oppose this coup d’État being prepped against Côte d’Ivoire.  Even in the Socialist party, no one dared criticize the cavalier attitude of President Sarkozy or that of the French government.
              PSF, French Socialists             Jack Lang, French Hypocrit

    The most spectacular case was that of the always-sycophantic former socialist minister Jack Lang.  During the Ivorian presidential campaign, he stood by Laurent Gbagbo and chanted: “Merci, merci, Laurent, merci Laurent!”  When the French press was unleashed against the Ivorian chief-of-State the day after the elections, this “infidel” socialist faux-ami was among the first to stab him in the back.  In an interview with French radio RTL, he stated:  “Laurent, it’s time to leave. (. . .) It is unacceptable today that he refuse the verdict of the ballot box. (. . .) The French government will do what it has to do.”  Holy Jack!  Which Jack Lang is the more credible?  The one shaking his booty in an Abidjan nightclub alongside Laurent Gbagbo during the presidential campaign, or the one speaking out in Paris and going whichever way the wind blows him?  To those who are familiar with the French assemblyman, there is nothing surprising about his attitude.

    Setting aside the case of Jack Lang, the majority of the socialists, cannot be bothered to defend democracy in Côte d’Ivoire.  They are not disturbed by Mr. Sarkozy’s behavior in Abidjan.  Nor do they even try to discover the truth about the events of 2004 in Abidjan and Bouaké.

    With some notable exceptions, especially the parliamentary deputies Henri Emmanuelli and François Loncle who have officially expressed their indignation, the socialist political machine has set aside all discussion critical of French foreign policy in Côte d’Ivoire.  The socialists have never definitively considered Laurent Gbagbo as one of them.  For this reason as well as for many others, they have accepted without blinking an eye the political death of a “socialist” and a democrat.  Consensual and complaisant, they tolerated the manipulation and co-signed the use of armed force.

Roland Dumas

    When Roland Dumas, former socialist Foreign Minister and former president of the Constitutional Council came back to Abidjan, with the noted international defense attorney Jacques Vergès, evidence of the magnitude of fraud in the Ouattara camp in hand[27], the leaders of the Socialist Party averted their gaze.  They did not want to see the reality that existed in Côte d’Ivoire.  They were not ready to hear that it was possible that Laurent Gbagbo could have won the elections or at least that Alassane Ouattara’s victory was subject to review.  They would not agree to listen, even on principle, to a former president of the French Constitutional Council who had gone to the country and had things to say.  So everyone can see, in the way this case was handled, the difference between the left and the right with regard to foreign policy and African policy in particular—if such a difference still exists.

    It is difficult to understand how a decision as absurd as this one to push the French Army into a dangerous mission, partnering it up more with forces of a coup d’État than with anything like a mission to protect civilian lives, could have been made in Paris.  Was it to help out a friend or to find the resources with an eye on the coming French presidential elections?  Was it done deliberately to maintain a certain opacity over the Franco-African networks?  Was it a sort of masochistic way of encouraging France’s allies to break with Côte d’Ivoire and, in so doing, subcontract out its own marginalization?  Or was it just simple stupidity?

    What is certain is that it had nothing to do with a defense of “democracy” or some kind of “legitimacy” issuing from the ballot box.  Nor did it have anything to do with the defense of French interests, because no French business was ever threatened under Laurent Gbagbo.  France’s intervention alongside drugged-out bandits against President Gbagbo was a singular act of violence and without parallel in the history of French-African relations.  From de Gaulle to Mitterand, no French president ever dared to humiliate an African leader and his wife as was done in Abidjan with Mr. and Mrs. Gbagbo under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.  It was this treatment reserved for President Gbagbo and his wife that most shocked the Africans and certain of the French.  And let’s acknowledge that some French political figures had the courage to rise up against flagrant interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country and, even worse, a military intervention that worked against the interests of France.

    According to pro-Sarkozy deputy, Didier Julia:

    “For France to do this as a way of identifying with the American position, which is anti-Gbagbo because the Americans have never been able to capture markets in Côte d’Ivoire, is not a Gaullist attitude.”

    For the socialist François Loncle, “French military intervention constitutes a new grotesque episode in the story that is Françafrique.”  Well-informed about the Ivorian case, Marine Le Pen stated:

Marine Le Pen, her father's daughter?

    “Nearly one in two Ivorians, or maybe more, voted for Mr. Gbagbo.  And we insisted, here even militarily, and probably exceeding our UN mandate, on installing Mr. Alassane Ouattara who is a friend of the Great Powers—he comes from the IMF— without asking him any questions about the mass killings, it seems, his followers were guilty of.  Some terrible massacres, because we’re talking about 800 killed in Douékoué.  I think that we have to let Côte d’Ivoire sort out its own problems.  It is a sovereign nation.  It is obvious that today a large part of the African population as a whole will think that France is still in the practice of Françafrique that we have known for decades; that it is behaving in a post- colonial manner of some sort, by deciding who has to be put in which position, who has to be removed from such responsibility.  I believe that in the end, it is a very bad operation, in reality, for France and for the image of our country in Africa.”

    On the other side of the political chess board from Marine Le Pen, the European MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon expresses and equally well-founded opinion:

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, The New Left

    “The fate of Mr. Ouattara depends now entirely on the French Army; this is not a good situation for someone who is leading a country.  There was a UN mandate, I noticed that the mandates of the UN give way to more and more extensive interpretations and nothing anticipated that we would arrest the out-going president of the Republic (. . .).
    The UN mandate authorized the mission to neutralize the heavy weapons that threatened the civilian population.  This order concerned Mr. Gbagbo’s troops as much as it did those of Mr. Ouattara, but instead of this, we interfered in a conflict that was in a state of civil war and had been brewing since 2003, and we took up the cause of just one side. That side was not behaving in such a way as would much satisfy us.  The massacres in the West of the country by Mr. Ouattara’s troops were not especially indicative of good behavior.
    As for the elections, I must say that we do not harbor the same suspicions for the neighboring Burkinabés, who reelected their president with 80% of the votes, and no one paid any attention to Laurent Gbagbo’s demand that the votes be recounted, something that is not unheard of, having been done in the United States of America in 2000, but here it seems it was absolutely impossible.  Mr. Ouattara has been a permanent candidate for the past almost 20 years, allowing him to call on support from the International Community, that is, the Great Powers.  So, he ended up having the last word, but at what price. . . .  I don’t believe we helped bring about peace under these conditions.”



[1] Cf. Onana, Charles, Les secrets du génocide rwandais. Enquête sur les mystères d’un président, Editions Duboiris, Paris, 2002, 224 pp.
[2] Paul Kagame was invited for the first time to France on 11, 12 and 13 September 2011, by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
[3]  Cf. Onana, Charles, Ces Tueurs tutsi. Au cœur de la tragédie congolaise, Editions Duboiris, Paris, 2008; 320 pp., pp. 144-146.
[4] Cf. Onana, Charles, Les secrets de la justice internationale. Enquêtes truquées sur le génocide rwandais, Editions Duboiris, Paris, 2005, 479 pp.
[5]  Operation Turquoise, according to UNSC Resolution 929 of 22 June 1994, was mandated to “contribute, in an impartial manner, to the security and the protection of displaced persons, refugees and civilians, in danger in Rwanda.”
[6] Cf. Moreira, Paul, Les nouvelles censures. Dans les coulisses de la manipulation de l’information, Robert Laffont, Paris, 2007, 285 pp.
[7] Cf. Rapport d’information n°1271 on the military operations led by France, other countries and the UN, in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994, a commission presided over by Paul Quilès, published in 1998.
[8]  Cf. Onana, Charles, Op. Cit.
[9] Cf. Moreira, Paul, Op. Cit., p. 61.
[10] A triple play on words:  “France,” “Africa,” and “fric”, slang for money. [translator]
[11] Cf. Péan, Pierre, Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs, Mille et une nuits, Paris, 2005, 544 pp.
[12] Cf. The Mucyo Report on the role of France in the Rwandan genocide. Published 5 August 2008.
[13] Cf. Kimche, David,Lessons from Rwanda, the Israel of Africa,in The Jerusalem Post, 9 August 2007.
[14] Cf. Onana, Charles, Al-Bashir & Darfour : la contre-enquête, Duboiris, Paris, 2011, 477 pp.
[15] It is within the African communities that Survie developed its campaign against ‘Françafrique’. Survie draws on the colonial history of France to concentrate the debate and to distort considerations of the evolution of relations between France and Africa as well as of  France’s place in Europe and the rest of the world with regard to Africans’ interests.
[16] Cf. Général Jean-Claude Lafourcade, Opération Turquoise: Rwanda 1994, Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris, 2010, 216 pp.
[17] Cf. Hogard, Jacques, Les larmes de l’honneur, Hugo & Co., Paris, 2005, 134 pp.
[18] Cf. Général Jean-Claude Lafourcade, Lettre ouverte, www.marianne2.fr
[19]  Cf. In the course of our inquiries, we have encountered Rwandans whose lives were saved thanks to Operation Turquoise.  Many of them said they would have been killed by the bullets of the Tutsi rebels if the French Army had not protected them.  The dictator’s friends might well prefer that these survivors had been killed.

[20] Cf. Tauzin, Didier, Rwanda: je demande justice pour la France et ses soldats, Jacob-Duvernet, Paris,  2011, 254 pp., p. 25.
[21]  Cf. Jeune Afrique, n°2625 week of 1st to 7th May 2011.
[22]  Cf. Général Didier Tauzin, Op. Cit.
[23]  Cf. Général Didier Tauzin, Op. Cit., p. 21.
[24] Op. Cit.
[25] Cf. Rucibigango, Jean-Baptiste, Bras de fer franco-rwandais, Kigali, 2007, 562 pp., p. 20.
[26]  Cf. Onana, Charles, Ces tueurs tutsi, Duboiris, Paris, 2009, 320 pp.
[27] Cf. Dumas, Roland & Vergès, Jacques, Crimes et fraudes en Côte d'Ivoire, Edite, Paris, 2011, 138 pp.