Monday, May 28, 2012

Another Mass-Media War Crime

BBC Illegally Uses Image of Iraqi Victims: The US/NATO, UN Demonization Propaganda Against Syrian Government Further Intensify

BBC Illegally Uses Image of Iraqi Victims: The US/NATO, UN Demonization Propaganda Against Syrian Government Further Intensify

BBC illegally uses image of Iraqi victims as propaganda against the Syrian government
Italian photographer, Marco Di Lauro, has exposed the BBC which illegally used one of his photographs taken in Iraq as anti-Syrian Propaganda on their website’s front page.
Di Lauro said: “Somebody is using illegaly one of my images for anti-syrian propaganda on the BBC web site front page.
Today Sunday May 27 at 0700 am London time the attached image which I took in Al Mussayyib in Iraq on March 27, 2003 (see caption below)
was front page on BBC web site illustrating the massacre that happen in Houla the Syrian town and the caption and the web site was stating that the images was showing the bodies of all the people that have been killed in the massacre and that the image was received by the BBC by an unknown activist.
Somebody is using my images as a propaganda against the Syrian government to prove the massacre.”
Al Musayyib, Iraq – May 27, 2003 An Iraqi child jumps over a line of hundreds of bodies, in a school where they have been transported from a mass grave, to be identified.
They were discovered in the desert in the outskirts of Al Musayyib, 40 km south of Baghdad.
It has been estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 Iraqis had been reported missing in the region south of Baghdad.
People have been searching for days for identity cards or other clues among the skeletons to try to find the remains of brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and even children who disappeared when Saddam’s government crushed a Shi’ite uprising following the 1991 Gulf War.
Sunday, 27 May 2012
Marco Di Lauro Photographer Reportage by Getty Images
Original photo:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Six Decades of Terror: NATO is [STILL] al Qaeda

Meulan, 2010
Six Decades of Terror:
NATO is al QAEDA-pt1
—by Mick Collins

{In honor of the Pre-trial Defense Brief that got the Mladic case put on hold because of the Prosecution's complete inability to set forth specific perps and the crimes they committed in the DEFENSE of YUGOSLAVIA against NATO and NATO-proxie forces; in honor of the materialization of a long-awaited push-back in Chicago and elsewhere against the Fascist forces that terrorize the whole world under the banner of North Atlantic anti-Communism; and in honor of the return of a warm sun to brighten our days as we enter another political cotillion season to choose the Lords and Ladies of Wastedom, our very own executioners; and in hopes of shedding even more light on the stanky dankness that is home to the sentimental swine and greed-head droolers of the Human Rights and Stop the Fucking Genocide hustles, while they play on ignorant guilt and general false-consciousness to cushion their useless tenures: here is a post from the gayer Paris-days about who is really terrorizing whom.  

Have a beautiful day.  Take a Fascist to lunch.  Then poison him.  mc}


[This is the first installment of our series commemorating the last 15 years of the six decades of US-backed global anti-majoritarian (i.e., anti-Communist or Fascist) terrorism. Brief recap:

11 March 2006 is the date of President Slobodan Milosevic's death at the hands of the NATO Tribunal in The Hague (mistakenly and illegally credited to the UNSC);

23 March 1999 marks the beginning of NATO's terror-bombing of Yugoslavia over Kosovo;

6 April 1994 is the date of the double presidential assassination that is said to have triggered a paroxysm of mass killing in Rwanda, come to be known as the 'Genocide of 100 Days,' in a parallel campaign of NATO terror in Central Africa;

and 23 April 1999 is the date independent journalism began its slow dance of death in the world media with the bombing of Belgrade's Radio/Television Serbia (RTS), which killed 16 journalists and station staff, and, as with the other cited atrocities (or 911), has gone without an investigation worthy of the name—and its real perps have gone unapprehended—but the victims of all these NATO crimes will continue to pay for them in perpetuity.

We are just back from an all-too-short stay in Belgrade (we being my son Max and I), where a truncated version of this text was presented at an anti-NATO/EU/Fascist rally in Republic Square on Tuesday night the 24th.

The initial intention of this writing was to convey in English the essence of a statement made for the Commemoration Conference at the Sava Center, by French General Pierre-Marie Gallois, one of Serbia's oldest and best friends in France, and the man who accepted the unconditioned release of two French NATO pilots downed over Bosnia in December 1995, from his Yugoslav Army homologue, General Radko Mladic. Both these men are venerated by their peoples as great war heros, though Mladic has been turned by NATO expedience and cowardice into a most-wanted war crimes suspect unto genocidaire.

But Max's presence at my side in Belgrade changed a lot. Just as this visit to Serbia, to Slobodan Milosevic's grave in Pozarevac, and to the prison where Dragoljub Milanović, the chief of RTS, is currently stepping off a dime bid—a 'reckless endangerment' beef so humbug it'd bend Lady Justice double and choke her with her own vomit—this whole trip has racked focus on the Western wars for commercial and financial domination against small independence-minded nations, revealing them for the hideous campaigns of global terror and victim-blaming they really are.

So, NATO is al QAEDA, nobullshit!—but will Obama be Osama? Stay tuned for Part 2. –mc]


Six Decades of Terror:
NATO is al QAEDA—pt 1.

—Belgrade, 23 March 2009

Ten years ago, while NATO was ‘terror-bombing’ Yugoslavia over Kosovo (Newsweek’s pre-911 terminology), I had already been working on the Balkan Dossier for about four years. In 1995, during my first summer in Paris, I wrote a play about the Bosnian war, Black Samba, which was done in New York City at Soho Rep in 1998. By then the nation of Yugoslavia was just a memory in America, or a trivia question, like “Automobiles for $50: In what Southeastern European country is the Yugo manufactured?”. I couldn’t figure out why or how everyone fell into the easy, uncritical use of names like the ex-, or former-, or rump-Yugoslavia. I didn’t know what had become of the Yugoslavs, where their Yugoslavia had gone, but I had a hunch I knew the guys who’d gotten rid of it pretty well.

During the 1999 NATO bombing, the young woman with whom I was working to produce the Paris revival of my first Los Angeles play, WinoTime,—and who would later get me my greatest reproduction, my son Max—t ook me to a little restaurant, just outside Paris in Montreuil, called Le Café Yougoslavie. We would watch the gruesome news reports from Belgrade's RTS on a wall-sized projection TV. What we saw was people just like us—not little Southeast Asians or black Africans or swarthy Middle Easterners—, living in houses like ours—not in thatched huts or broken down refugee camps—, with cars like ours, and little families with beautiful kids—like everywhere in the world: we saw all this being destroyed, being blown to pieces, live and in color, and it was all being sponsored by those good people in the Human Rights business. It really made no sense—or, at least, what sense I did make of it was almost too cynical and too sinister to be anything else but inHuman Wrongs.

From the very beginning of the discussion, the conflict in the Balkans was seen to be an internecine battle among the once-Federated Republics, which had almost magically been declared independent sovereign nations by, first Germany, then the fledgling EEC-EU, and finally, once the US had weighed in, the entire ‘International Community’—less Russia and China, of course. It was instantly identified, even by the best historians, as a ‘civil war,’ just like the one that went down there during WWII: a war over territory, waged by the various Yugoslav ‘national minorities’, Croats, Bosnians and Serbs, with their goal of becoming a ‘national minority’ but within their own nations.

The disappearance of the United Nations-founding member-state of Yugoslavia, the nation of the Southern Slavs, into the historico-toxic fog of a disinformation-driven civil war, allowed the original aggression against the Socialist Federated Republic of Yugoslavia by US and EU financial and commercial interests, backed by endless waves of private-military terrorists, just like those being deployed in the Middle East and Central Africa at the same time, to be occulted within, even effaced from, the Historical Record, and eventually retro-blamed on the very Slav victims of the aggression, itself. Western financial speculators from Enron, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse/First Boston supported the extra-legal secessions from Yugoslavia, especially by Croatia and Bosnia, and seized the recently deregulated markets, then used their formidable Private Military Contractors, like DynCorp and MPRI, to dissolve all public sector protection from the now emaciated Yugoslav State by going after the Yugoslav People’s Army, the JNA. As long as Yugoslavia could be seen to be acting out age-old religious, ethnic and national animosities; as long as the Slavs, in defending themselves, could be seen to be trying to kill each other off: it was stupidly simple to convince the world that all the killing had its origins not in response to any foreign aggression, but in the restlessness of the hateful native tribes, and that the best way to put a stop to it was, first, to choke them hard with embargoes and other economic sanctions, then to interpose the world’s most powerful military force, but call it a ‘Humanitarian Intervention,’ and, finally, just bomb the shit outta all these petty ‘nationalists’ until they’re begging for peace—then bomb them some more. However costly in human lives this joint criminal enterprise might be, the Chicago School policy adopted by the Western Business interests involved dictated that it should be paid. Of course this war—like all wars—was great for Business, but those who actually paid the real costs were no longer of much economic good for anything else.

The time, of course, was very right. The Soviet Union was broken up, and the European Union was about to put ink to its Maastricht Treaty. Globalization was on a roll, freeing capital to go wherever it wanted, to do whatever it wanted and without answering to anyone but its self-valorizing self. One by one, the countries that had depended on the Soviet Union for support to maintain their subsidized housing and domestic food-farming sectors, their universal free health care systems, their universal free education and their guaranteed full-employment; these former spudniks were freed from their orbits of privileged trade with Russia (especially in the realm of energy resources) and allowed, with full liberty and the wily ministrations of Western investment banks and brokers, to develop into morbidly exploitive and criminally anarchic market economies—all now the crushing bondage of NATO membership. Today, too late, they wish things had gone another way.

Yet the European moral vacuum necessary for this kind of Orwellian anti-rationality to be passed off as progress (e.g., wage slavery as an improvement on a socially guaranteed, healthy working life; victimization by profit-driven medical/pharmaceutical complexes that guarantee death by debt as preferable to socially supported protection against catastrophic illness; forced labor in the service of militarism and the wastage of never-ending war as preferable to living a peaceful, reflective and [pro]creative life) was sucked out in France by the elevation and celebration of nouveaux collabos-intellos, like Bernard Kouchner and Bernard Henri-Levy; and in the US by the achievement of state power by class collaborationists, and just common greed-heads, like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and even the porcine Richard Holbrooke.

Only such lunatic sociopaths could accept rewards, however grand the money amounts or haughty the positions, for foisting onto their fellows a false consciousness, a culture of murderous lies and manipulations—the very sort of atmosphere that has allowed the tyranny of NATO to continue well beyond its real anti-Soviet relevancy. And even though by now they all, BK & BH-L & Holbrooke, have admitted in their various writings that the rationale of a ‘Serbian fascist aggression’ against, and the ethnic cleansing of, all non-Serbs (non-Slavs?) from the other innocently self-determining former-Yugoslav Republics, as well as its own southern province of Kosovo; that the tabloid stories of death and rape camps, even unto ‘a genocide of non-Serbs’ (non-Christians?), were the pure creations of Western marketing—principal among the tub-thumpers being Ruder-Finn International ‘s director James Harff, whose motto, ‘The client comes first, second and third. The Truth? We’ll get back to you on that after lunch,’ became the overly long mantra of everyone in the War Biz.

‘The French Doctor' Kouchner, in a scene from his autobiography, A Warrior for Peace, describes a dying Bosnian president Izetbegovic telling him that it was at the instigation of his Western minders—like Ambassador Warren Zimmermann, who talked him into pulling his signature off the 1992 Lisbon Accords, and on the word of President Clinton, himself, (who also ordered up the Srebrenica phantasmagoria)—that the Serbian death camp lie was cooked up:


An obviously dying old man lies in bed with all the necessary tubes and monitors in place and beeping:

Dr. K
                  You remember President Mitterand’s visit?

President Izedbegovic
(Through a death rattle)
                  I remember.

Dr. K
                  In the course of conversation, you mentioned that there were
                  {makes the quotes with his fingers} “EXTERMINATION CAMPS”
                  in Bosnia. You repeated that to journalists. That provoked a lot
                  of strong feelings in the world. . . . (beats) François {referring
                  to French President François Mitterand} sent me to Omarska. . .
                  and . . . we opened some other prisons. (several beats) They
                  were pretty horrible places, ok? . . . But the people there were
                  not systematically exterminated. . . {LONG PAUSE} You know
                  that, right?

President Izedbegovic
                  Yeah. (beats) I thought my revelations would put a rush on the 
                  [NATO] bombing. . . . I saw how the French and others reacted. 
                  . . .  I was wrong.

Richard Holbrooke
                  You saw that at Helsinki President Bush didn’t react.

President Izedbegovic
                  Yes . . . I tried. But it was a bad call. . . . (beats) There were no
                  Death Camps, however shitty those places were.

Bernard Henri-Levy wrote in his book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, about the ‘open secret’ among the supporters of the Bosnian Muslims concerning the lies and manipulations that the Serb atrocity stories were, including the so-called Siege of Sarajevo, the bombing of bakeries and market places and, especially, the rape and death camps. But this secret truth never mitigated BH-L's support for the ferocious bombing of Serbian/Yugoslav positions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995, and then, again, over Kosovo in 1999. Throughout, BH-L kept clutching Bosnian Muslims to his blue-blazer-clad bosom.

And just to show that the Kosovo terror bombing was not some isolated aberration of US foreign policy in the Balkans: Scott O’Grady, a USAF pilot who took part in the 1992-1995 NATO bombing of Serb positions in Bosnia, and the subject of John Glenn’s film, Behind Enemy Lines [included in the CM/P seminar, Movies and the UnMaking-Of History], confessed in his book, Return With Honor, that he was briefed before his fateful mission that the massacres of civilians in Sarajevo had been authorized by the Izetbegovic government, itself, and not carried out by the Serbs. Despite O’Grady’s disclosures of the real balance of forces on the ground in Bosnia, the Hollywood-led demonization of the Bosnian Serbs in films like Welcome to Sarajevo and The Fourth Angel, made NATO’s terrorizing of Yugoslavia in 1999 both understandable and forgivable.

Women, too, showed themselves capable of abandoning moral dignity and shunning human decency for the sake of power and position. Who could forget Madeleine Albright, in a grotesque impersonation of a human being, claiming to CBS’s Leslie Stahl that the price of half a million Iraqi children’s lives was worth paying to stop Saddam Hussien. The same sort of ghoulish accounting was employed by Bernard Koucher’s wife, Christine Ockrent (a leading French radio and TV journalist), when she suggested that all the hundreds of thousands of refugees being created by the 1999 NATO terror in Serbia’s southern province, were preferable to allowing Milosevic and his ‘Serb thugs’ to kill as many or more Kosovo Albanians by doing nothing. This is not just human discernment degraded by ignorance; this is Human Reason and Decency mortgaged to geopolitical expediency. And it is also proof that women are no more likely to get it right than men.

But Holbrooke, Albright, Kouchner and their ilk seem so co-opted by the political powers that they are not able to be in the same room with Truth and Justice, even with the fierce gravity of the ever-burgeoning mass of legally determined evidence. Judicial calls like the ICTY’s acquittal of Serbian President Milan Miltunovic on all charges of crimes against humanity in Kosovo; the ICTR's verdict in the Military I case, where the so-called Extremist Hutu ‘masterminds’ of the Rwandan Genocide were acquitted on all charges of ‘planning or conspiring to commit genocide’; the February 2007 ICJ ruling absolving Serbia of any active responsibility for genocide in Bosnia: these judgments indicate that the expedient application of the charge of Genocide, so essential to sustaining the global spread of neocolonial domination, is historically unfounded, judicially unprovable, and can only be stipulated to or otherwise ordered by a court ‘to take judicial notice of’—as was done by the Appeals Chamber at the ICTR on 16 June 2006.

So, now years after the discovery of the decomposing body of lies on which these congenital, carrion-slarving cowards have nourished their public careers, Holbrooke and Kouchner have once again been rewarded with promotions—Holbrooke with Obama’s appointment to be the US's man in Afghanistan and Pakistan (officially charged with supervising the bombing of wedding parties and mosques), and Kouchner with the French Foreign Minister’s gig from the sweaty, ever-more demented and Nixon-like Nicolas Sarkozy—and all without ever having to acknowledge their complicity in one of the great war crimes and national betrayals of the late 20th Century: NATO’s 78-day and 79-night terror bombing of Yugoslavia/Serbia-Montenegro.

So why can’t all this evidence of who were the real aggressors and who were the real aggressed be applied to correcting the Historical Record, rehabilitating the policies of those governments that sinned, and repairing and restoring the lives of those who were wrongfully damaged in this geopolitical crime spree known as globalization? An important reason—though far from the only reason—is a want of solidarity among the targeted countries with the establishment of ruling compradors. In the past ten years, we have all lost the sense of our shared history to an atomizing multifarious terror, and our struggles for Independence and Justice are only effective when they are joined. Divided we fail.

Like that young woman who got me my son: ten years ago, as we sat together in the Café Yougoslavie—now called ‘Il y a une fois un Yougoslavie’ (Once upon a time there was a country called Yugoslavia)—and as we watched the suffering of the Serbian people, our Slavic kith and kin, she vowed to come with me to Belgrade, and she assured me that everything would be all right. That hooked me back then.

However, now she’s at home in Paris, and I’m not sure just how far things are from ever being all right—at home or anywhere else—because I still have a feeling that most things are gone terribly wrong. But because Max is with me here in Belgrade, I do have hope—real live hope. And by giving him this opportunity to come to Belgrade and meet some truly heroic people, I feel like these paternal strivings of mine, to get things right in the world, will not end with me, and, maybe, ten years from now, when we come back to Serbia, Max will have made far more things far better than I ever could.

That’s my audacity of hope. Because today is a new day. There’s a new administration in Washington (though it is redolent of the corruption of the previous Democratic government that destroyed Yugoslavia and Rwanda), and for the first time in my life I can support a US president because he seems truly to want to promote majoritarian interests.

So far, my President Obama has shown his intelligence and decency by listening, deeply and intently, to everyone who speaks to him, and fully considering everything before he speaks—and some of his statements are so politic, like his position on the expansion of NATO (‘All countries that want to join, should be allowed to join!”), as to be almost comical.

If we can all get together to write the true history of the real crimes against humanity committed against Yugoslavia, against Serbia and all the Slavic people, and present this story to President Obama; if we can show him the horrific misdeeds of his Democratic predecessors, the Clintons, the Holbrookes, the Bidens and Wes Clark’s NATO, in perpetuating a moribund socio-economic system, a system of production that only destroys life through terror, war and waste; if he can be shown the unprovoked violence, the unnecessary death and destruction, the wanton murder of brave patriots protecting their homes and families, the criminalization of national self-defense, the flagrant theft of territory and resources and the indeterminate indenture of ordinary people with extraordinary courage: perhaps—and just perhaps—we can begin to make tomorrow a better day for Max and his generation and all the generations to come.

Mick Collins

Friday, May 4, 2012

The International {In}Justice of the ad hocs: The Ndindiliyimana Trial

Col. Luc Marchal

[In the foreword to his book, Rwanda: Le Paradis perdu, Protais Mpiranya[1], the former-commander of martyred Rwandan Chief-of-State Juvénal Habyarimana’s Presidential Guard, describes what he hopes his writing will help bring about:

"This document I made up my mind to write after nine years[2] in which I experienced anguish, nightmare, and humiliation, is not meant to be a historical record nor a work of literature.  It is quite simply a testament to what I lived through, saw with my own eyes, heard with my own ears, and personally read.  It is finally what I did and thought to do in my soul and my conscience, and all that results is my own responsibility. This testimony is meant to allow the reader, military or civilian, Tutsi, Hutu or Twa, religious or commercial, farmer or civil servant, Rwandan or foreigner from any of the far corners of the earth, who has heard commentaries of every stripe on the attack against the President’s plane and its consequences, to be able to make a judgment that is founded only on the reality, on the real truth.

"So this testimony is eventually meant for the International Community, which, with its ultra-sophisticated means and its highly-qualified personnel, organized, ordered, coordinated and took part in bringing about all that the Rwandan people went through and continue to endure.  In hopes that the leaders of these Great Powers and all the players in the theatre of International Humanitarian Law will be awakened to an understanding that the blood of every human being is the same color.  That these Powers will not promote only destruction, discord and disunity.  That this International Community will do everything it can, that it will give everything possible besides weapons, to bring about a rapid return to peace in Rwanda and in the region of the African Great Lakes.  That the great decision-makers of this world will cease to impose a Victors’ Justice on the Vanquished, and that some among them will stop shedding crocodile tears so as to absolve themselves of responsibility in the Rwandan drama.  And that this International Community will commit itself to establishing a system of equal justice for all Rwandans."
(pp 18-19)

Considering that International Justice, as extra-statuatorily interpretted by the U.N Security Council in its unauthorized formations of the ad hoc Tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone (among others), has been much more an experiment in the Theatre of Irony (which is the West’s replacement term for ‘Cynicism’), Cruelty and Absurdity, than anything like a forum treating in independent, fair and balanced precedential law; the reflections of Colonel Luc Marchal, the Belgian batallion commander of the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Kigali in 1994, on the outcome of the trial at the ICTR (Military II) of our General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan National Gendarmerie at the time of the troubles, are most appropriate and timely.

In the case of these ad hocs, the overriding tension that deforms any, even the most jaded and expedient, sense of Justice, is between two sorry facts:  The Tribunals have found it impossible to prove on the evidence that any or the plotting or planning requisite to a ‘Genocide’ actually took place and has had to acquit all the major defendants of those most important charges; and the Tribunals have no contingency for defendants who are acquitted.  Those who just cannot be convicted, as a way to avoid an acquittal that would call the very raison d’être of the ad hocs into question, are merely ‘put down’ by their jailers.  Like the writer of ‘Paradise Lost’ or George Rutaganda or Slobodan Milosevic, some are often said to have succumbed to ‘natural causes’. 

But death at the hands of Injustice is never Natural.  It is quite monstrous.  –mc]

Where is the Justice in International Justice?
The Trial of Augustin NDINDILIYIMANA

Drawing lessons from the past

It is certainly too soon to write the history of the ICTR[3], even if presently the days of this court are numbered.  Nevertheless, and even if we do not have the necessary remove, it is useful to conduct a mid-term reflection on this already rich judicial experiment, which has been going on for more than a decade now.  Because it is a queer road that runs between the parody of judicial procedure that convicted Jean Kambanda[4] and sentenced him to life in prison, and the acquittal at trial, for the principal charge of intending to commit genocide, of the person universally taken to be the brains of the 1994 genocide, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora.  The question is not do we applaud the judges when they acquit or boo them when they convict.  No, not at all.  The fundamental question, what must come out at the end of any trial, is whether we can firmly believe that “Truth and Justice” were the sole driving forces of the legal arguments.

Someone said that those who do not learn from History are condemned to repeat it.  So it is with the ICC[5], if it does not take into account some of the errors of the ad hoc[6] tribunals.  In this context, the case of Augustin Ndindiliyimana, former Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Gendarmerie, seems to me to demand a particular interest.  It concerns someone with whom I have had occasion to work very closely during a particularly difficult period in his country’s history.  And his tribulations before International Justice are worth spending some time on in the hope that they will inspire a necessary reflection by those whose heavy responsibility it is to render justice for the whole world.

A short stay in Belgium

It was with the approval of the Foreign Minister at the time[7] that Augustin Ndindiliyimana came to Belgium early in July 1994.  In May 1998, he obtained political refugee status after a conflictual administrative procedure.  In January 2000, following the visit of ICTR Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte to Belgium, he was arrested on the basis of an all-purpose indictment, of a most general character, in which certain parties, without legal grounds, were simply tarred with the same brush.  Directly afterward, this document was twice amended.  This was evidence, if any is needed, that his arrest was not the result of a judicial investigation, but rather of a way of working that paid little or no attention to the most basic rights of the accused.  Just arrest them and we’ll see what happens!

What was the real reason for his arrest?  Had he really been arrested for something he did?  And, if so, shouldn’t the indictment have reflected this fact.  But, it did nothing of the kind.  Still, had he been arrested because, among other reasons, he was of interest to the Prosecutor in her overall indictment strategy?  Bear in mind, it had already been four years (2000) that the prosecution had been trying to demonstrate that a genocide was, in fact, being planned by Hutu leaders.  For four years, not even the tiniest sprouts of evidence were being brought forth by prosecutors.  And did Carla del Ponte figure that by arresting Augustin Ndindiliyimana she had picked up someone who was likely to testify for her against the “big fish” from the former government and bring out the elements necessary to establish her thesis about the planning of the genocide?  The tawdry negotiations that took place over several years in Arusha,  in the vain hope of gaining his “collaboration”, testify to just how obviously his arrest was an essential part of the overall prosecutorial strategy.  This legalistic machinery runs strictly in one direction, because no RPF leader has ever been charged by the ICTR, nor will one ever be.

But what, really, are the rules of the game proposed by the Prosecutor?  It’s not some dark secret, because the negotiations take place in an official manner and in the presence of defense lawyers.  In fact, this was the deal:  should Ndindiliyimana choose to cooperate (read: if he agreed to testify for the prosecution), he would catch a reduced sentence of 20 years [though, according to The General's lead defense counsel, Chris Black, this 20 yrs deal was an initial offer and was changed in 2003 to a total dismissal of all charges in exchange for his cooperation--cm/p], and should he refuse to cooperate, his sentence would be no less than the maximum, i.e., full-life without parole.  So where does one find Truth and Justice in this rotten deal?  One might believe that all the world’s just a marketplace where everything, all ideas and values, can be bought and sold.  But Belgium considers the Arusha Tribunal an extension of its own national justice system.  And in view of such metaphysical merchandizing, it is not seemly to be greatly enthusiastic about this kind of development.

Remember that during this same period of time, General Léonidas Rusatira[8] was also the object of an arrest warrant issued by Carla del Ponte.  He was arrested by Belgian authorities in May 2002.  Fortunately for him, he was able to take advantage of the unhappy experience of Augustin Ndindiliyimana.  Because of a Belgian solidarity movement on Rusatira’s behalf, the ICTR Prosecutor was led to acknowledge that the charges against him were unfounded.  So del Ponte abandoned his case.  Thanks to that, he regained his freedom after three months in prison.  One can only recoil in disgust at these methods that harken back to medieval practices.  You throw a man in jail as if he is some worthless object.  Here again, the Belgian authorities did not distinguish themselves with their concern for those things in between the determination exerted against an opponent of the current Rwandan regime (and on who, moreover, held refugee status) and the good-grounding of the charges made against him. 

An Abbreviated Trial

The official opening of the “Military II” trial took place on 20 September 2004.  The procedure in effect at the ICTR saw the Prosecutor present all his witnesses first, and then each Defense team, one after the other, presented their witnesses.  So it was that Augustin Ndindiliyimana, second in the line of defendants, began the actual presentation of his defense in January 2008.  Thoughout the course of his trial, two incidents, among many others, stayed with me because they seemed indicative of the sort of errors that any credible system of International Justice must do everything to avoid.

First, on 22 September 2008, after several months of judicial guerilla warfare, the judges in “Military II” rendered a judgment critical, to put it kindly, of the current ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow.  Using unequivocal terms like “a level of integrity” and “a failure of diligence”, they reminded the Prosecutor that his duty was to assist the court in discovering the truth concerning the allegations contained in the indictment, and to render justice in the name of the International Community, for the victims as well as for the accused.  What could have caused the judges to take such a virulent position?  The rules of the ICTR impose on the Prosecutor the obligation to communicate to the lawyers for the accused all the elements that could be useful in their defense.  But, in this trial, it came out that for several years, testimony that favored the accused was not conveyed by the Prosecutor’s office to the Defense.  Let’s not beat around the bush.  It was not only a question of negligence or a lack of promptness in the transmission of this evidence, but rather a willful and deliberate avoidance thereof, no more and no less.  After this purposeful damage, Augustin Ndindiliyimana’s defense was allowed to present new witnesses as well as to recall certain prosecution witnesses for re-cross-examination.  However, the 18 new witnesses requested and the 6 prosecution witnesses to be recalled were reduced to 5 and 4 subsequent to an order by the judges.

The second incident has to do with the use, conscious or unconscious, of false witnesses by the prosecution.  For years this issue has been systematically entered into evidence.  In the present case there can be no doubt about it.  Not only was there a document written by one of the prosecution witnesses admitting that he was forced, under pressure from the Rwandan authorities, to make false accusations against Augustin Ndindiliyimana, but, moreover, a parallel investigation carried out by the Clerk of the Court established that the document composed by this repentant witness was, in fact, written in his own handwriting, and that it was in no way an attempt to mislead the court.

So here is how it stood in 2010.  Unlike the situation that followed the court’s judgment in 2008, there was no question of reopening the arguments.  Because, with the end of the Defense case in June 2009, the debate between prosecution and defense was concluded.  We had to wait for the judgment of the court, which came down on 17 May 2011 (i.e., nearly two years after the final arguments!!!!), in order to be able to appreciate just how the judges had adapted their understanding of the case to include the various tricks pulled by the Prosecutor.  Whatever that might be, this accumulations low blows were in no way in keeping with the honest and calm arguments we have a right to expect.  Today we know that Augustin Ndindiliyimana was sentenced to time served (i.e., his sentence was the eleven years he had already spend in detention awaiting this judgment.).  We can only wonder at the penalty inflicted on him, which seems to be intended more to avoid problems on an administrative level[9] or to escape the anger of the Kigali regime, than to punish any real crime that has been committed.  An appeal has been filed against this judgment by General Ndindiliyimana’s Defense.

Final Considerations

The trial of Augustin Ndindiliyimana is unfortunately not the only one where the means used tended to trample all over any real search for the truth.  Obviously, there was an unjustifiable confusion between the means and the ends.  After that, one could in good faith ask the question: How many people in the past have been convicted under similar circumstances?   This possibility must absolutely be taken into consideration by the ICC in the formation of the rules that will govern its functioning.  But, for the time being, it seems unthinkable that the ICTR would wind up its work without first focusing on a specific process for reviewing certain trials in which the basic rights of some defendants might have been violated.

If it is normal for the International Community to take it upon itself to prosecute crimes that are imprescriptible by national jurisdictions, it is also evident that International Justice must be vigilant, in a most meticulous fashion, to the quality of justice that is rendered in the courts over which it holds authority.  As for the ICTR, it seems that the International Community, considering its shock in the face of its own responsibility in the 1994 genocide, has decided to delegate the management of the results of its cowardice by forgetting that every delegation implies de facto indispensible control.  I am thinking here, especially, of the obstacles to the pursuit of  justice presented by the regular use of false witnesses.

During the time that the ICTR has been at work, how many witnesses have been called upon to give false testimony in order to justify its existence?  There certainly have been some, but their number is insignificant in the scope of the whole experience.   Note should be taken here of the signal case of Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza[10] who came to Arusha to testify in March 2006 in the “Military I” trial.  At this time, he made grave accusations against, among others, the current Chief-of-State of Rwanda.  In November 2008, he quite casually retracted his testimony, claiming that it had all been a pure fabrication on his part.  How can such a flip-flop be allowed without demanding a minimal explanation to the parties involved?  Considering the range of his revelations and the consequences of his retraction, should the International Community, in the absence of any reaction from the ICTR, itself, not have to intervene to shed all possible light on just what led this witness to perjure himself?  Or, if no accounting is demanded of him, could it be because someone wishes to avoid the real motives for his change of heart being made public knowledge[11]?

Still in the context of false witnesses, should we not insist that the Prosecutor have a more critical attitude toward the witnesses selected for him from Rwanda?  We know that nearly all of them are serving long prison sentences.  This alone should move the Prosecutor’s satisfaction with his office’s being used as a mere mail drop for receiving witnesses chosen by the Rwandan authorities, and encourage him to take on the full critical duties of his role in the organization of the ICTR.  Here again, we can only wonder at the International Community’s flagrant resignation as it stands by and watches this parody of justice.  Something that can only exacerbate the tensions still existing within Rwandan society.

If International Justice wants respect, it is essential that it do everything it can to be respectable.  How can this institution hope to reach this goal while it remains enslaved to other purposes than the search for justice?  The unwholesome strategies used for several years now by the current Prosecutor at the ICTR, in hopes of not having to go after those important figures in the RPF and the RPA[12] who have already been charged with war crimes and crimes against Humanity in other national jurisdictions, have certainly not contributed to gaining the court this all-important respectability.  Is it not ironic to have to note that, in the entire history of the ICTR, the only prosecutor to have been sanctioned was the one[13] who, after multitudinous prevarications to be sure, finally expressed an intention to pursue the crimes of the RPF, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 955?  What a sorry state of affairs.

Let’s hope that the ICC will go to school on all the accumulated fouls committed over the years by the ICTR.  That all actions taken by the court will be guided by the sole concern of rendering justice in the name of the International Community, justice for the victims and for the accused, as the judges in the “Military II” case so rightfully pointed out.  Before reaching this objective, International Justice must break away from the tutelage it is currently held in by certain States[14].  Only total independence will permit the court to meet its huge global responsibility.  We will, doubtlessly, soon have a more precise understanding of this question due to what could be the outcome of the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, officially published on 1 October 2010?  We know that this report deals with grave violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between March 1993 and June 2003 on the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  These grave violations are on the order of war crimes and crimes against Humanity whose motives might place them in the category of genocidal acts, in as far as this qualification can be established by a tribunal.  The crimes in question were for the most part committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army, whose unchallenged leader is the current president of Rwanda.  This time things are clear:  either this report receives a thorough judiciary follow-up as was suggested by the report’s South African coordinator Navanethem Pillay[15], or the whole issue, like so many others, gets flushed down the memory hole.  If this second alternative prevails, the credibility of the UN Secretary General, of the Security Council and, as a result, of  International Justice will, purely and simply, go up in smoke.  We are at the end of the first quarter of 2012, and, as yet, there has been nothing like a judiciary follow-up to this devastating report that concerns the deaths of several million human beings . . .

Luc Marchal
[translated from the French by CM/P]

[1] My dear friend Faustin Ntilikina (author of “The Taking of Kigali and the Hunt for Refugees by the Army of Paul Kagame”—our wishful translation of the book’s title, as it still exists only in French—ed.), who wrote the Preface, gave me this book on our first meeting in Paris in 2010.  Mpiryana’s “Rwanda:  A Paradise Lost” was published posthumously (the writer died in exile in 2006) by Éditions Sources du Nil and, as yet, has not been translated into English from the original French.  But it is high on CM/P’s list of ‘must translate’s.
[2] Mpiryana probably wrote this in 2003, nine years after the tragic events of 1994 that cast Rwanda into a madness of mourning and confusion. (ed.)
[3] The Internation Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda located in Arusha, Tanzania.
[4] Prime Minister of the Interim Government at the time of the genocide in 1994.
[5] The International Criminal Court. The first permanent international criminal court, it was created in July 1998 by the Treaty of Rome and achieved full legal status in July 2002.  It is located in The Hague, The Netherlands.
[6] These are international courts created specifically for certain jurisdictions:  e.g., Rwanda, ex-Yugoslavia, Cambodia, etc., . . .
[7] Willy Claes.
[8] The commandant at the École Supérieure Militaire (The Rwandan National Military Academy) in April 1994. He tried to serve with the Rwandan Patriotic Army, but his experiences made him choose to go into Belgian exile instead.
[9] The acquittal of General Gratien Kabiligi in 2009, after ten years imprisonment, posed a real administrative problem for the court because the rules of the ICTR had never taken into account the issue of compensation due after an unjustified detention.  This problem has yet to be resolved in 2011.
[10] A former-member of the Rwandan Patriotic Army.  Early in the 2000s he went into exile in Europe.  He is the author of the book Rwanda l'histoire secrète, which was published by Éditions Panama in 2005.
[11] It’s now too late, since the witness in question died in September 2010.  He did, however, go back on  his retractions before his death.
[12] Rwandan Patriotic Army.
[13] Carla del Ponte.
[14] See on this subject the testimony of Carla del Ponte in her book, Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity's Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity, (Jan 20, 2009).
[15] She was the president of the “Truth and Justice Commission” that tried to reconcile the conflicts that remained in post-Apartheid South Africa. She was also President of the ICTR from 1995 to 2002.