Saturday, December 17, 2011

Beyond the ICC Decision to Release Callixte Mbarushima

Beyond the ICC Decision to Release [FDLR[1] Secretary] Callixte Mbarushima

[adapted by CM/P from the original French op/ed by Eugene Shimamungu for the Source de Nile Newletter 37]

Could the ICC’s decriminalization of the FDLR set a legal precedent?

At the end of this week, while Paul Kagame was celebrating his high-mass, the “Umushyikirano,” a sort of phony Rwandan national chat, which is really just a Kagame stand-up cheered on by his suck-ups, themselves too scared to ask any real questions, the ground seemed to open up under the dictator’s feet.

In the same week, the ICTR freed Anatole Nsengiyumva of the Military I trial, and agreed to a reduction in the sentence of [Col. Théoneste]Bagosora, who is no longer charged with intent [or planning] to commit genocide. And at the same time, more good news, though bad news, no doubt, for Paul Kagame, came out of the ICC: Chamber I refused to uphold the charges against [FDLR Secretary] Callixte Mbarushimana and ordered his release. Shame on Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo, and intense rectal pain for Paul Kagame!

It was Kagame, himself, who had sensed the impending storm! During the Umushyikirano, after having upbraided the loveliest [sic] of “foreigners” (that being the American [UN Ambassador] Susan Rice) who had recently given him lessons on democracy, Kagame complained about the turn of events at the ICTR, that the Bagosora trial had lasted too long (17 years by his count) to have born such pathetic results. Here we must understand “the results that did not satisfy him.”

Because since the notion of “the brains of the genocide” fizzled out, the Tribunal has not been able to find a “planner for the genocide” and has had to make do with “taking judicial notice” of this genocide by now so well-known to the public, a genocide stitched out of whole propaganda, which has not been proven by the evidence beyond any reasonable doubt, but instead sanctified by the media. This has turned out to be a minimization unto a negation by this same Tribunal of the acts of genocide committed in the period between April and July 1994. The notion of “the brains of the genocide,” supported by the expert ‘blancs menteurs’[2] of every stripe, who have made a lot of hay from, but are having a lot of trouble being clear about this judgment, has gone a long way to make people forget that Bagosora was, by law, innocent until proven guilty. Kagame’s great fear is that justice is liable to find him to be the real planner of the genocide and turn on him to pay his unimaginable debt to bleeding Humanity.

And here’s where the ICC issued a Press Release on 16 December 2011, according to which the charges against Mbarushimana were not upheld and the decision was taken to release him: the Court was moved to this decision especially by the fact that “the evidence bearing on substantial motives was insufficient to make the Court believe that Callixte Mbarushimana could be held criminally responsible” for the crimes against Humanity charged against him by the Prosecution. And the cherry on top: “the Court concluded that there was insufficient evidence of substantive motives to believe that crimes against Humanity had been committed by the soldiers of the FDLR”! All of this is obviously subject to appeal by the Prosecution or by the Defense!

If this decision is upheld, what effect will it have on trials in progress?

The flagship trial is obviously that of Victoire Ingabire. Charged with aiding and abetting terrorism (as an accomplice to the FDLR) and entertaining genocide ideology, there is no hope that the Rwandan judges in Kagame’s clutches will take notice of the ICC decision. It is also unsure whether the charges in this indictment, which could be a double-edged sword, even if Kagame’s power joins in with the former FDLR cadres, like the famous General Rwarakabije, Ingabire’s jailor (Director of Prisons in Rwanda) in her current lock-up, prison “1930,” to diminish if not eliminate the rebellion! It is in this way, too, that power has corrupted all the former or false FDLR to testify against Victoire Ingabire. In the end, this collaboration between the power in Kigali and the FDLR is a backdoor corroboration of the ICC decision. One could even claim that the confusion created by the power in Kigali on this subject will end up decriminalizing the FDLR.

Another trial that the whole world has forgotten is pending in Germany against Ignace Murwanashyaka, president of the FDLR, and his collaborator, Straton Musoni. Their lawyers have been able to use this ICC decision with success, and their clients have a good chance of being released in the next few days. Even if you consider that the responsibilities of the President, who knows the terrain very well, are not the same as those of his Secretary Mbarushimana, who has never set foot on it.

Eugene Shimamungu


[1] Front Démocratique pour la Libération de Rwanda.

[2] Literally ‘white liars’, an allusion to Pierre Péan’s magnum opus on Rwanda, “Noire fureurs, blancs menteurs”.

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