In his letter, Peter Erlinder completely denies the fact
that genocide took place in Rwanda.
RWANDA REP DEFENDS KAGAME
This is the strategy many defence lawyers have used at the ICTR
to secure their employment and thus their living even while
their legal professionalism and ethics remain in coma.
Response to Professor Erlinder's Open Letter to Canada's Prime Minister
by Alloys Mutabingwa
Government of Rwanda Representative to the ICTR
Arusha, Tanzania, Apr 7, 2006
On 7th April of every year, Rwanda and the World commemorate the 1994 genocide that took place in Rwanda. However, in that period, those responsible of the genocide and their supporters continue to impose further suffering on the genocide survivors by denying the genocide.
One day before the 12th commemoration of the genocide, Prof. Peter Erlinder sent an open letter to Hon. Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, therein he denies, minimizes, justifies the 1994 genocide and attempts to portray a negative image of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame, snubbing the role he played in halting the genocide and the one he is playing in the national reconstruction and reconciliation process.
In his letter, Peter Erlinder completely denies the fact that genocide took place in Rwanda and prefers to use ambiguous, misleading and distortious terminologies such as “terrible massacres”, “horrific events”, “massive civilian killings”, “civilian-civilian massacres”.
Sixty years after the Holocaust, some people still continue to deny Auschwitz. It is not surprising to see people denying the 1994 genocide today. Erlinder’s terminologies are nothing less than genocide denial, a crime recognized by the UN resolution n? 955 of September 1994 which set up the ICTR, providing for the prosecution of persons responsible for GENOCIDE and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed on Rwanda’s territory between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994. It is awful for a lawyer of his caliber to deny the Tutsi genocide. Evidently by denying genocide, one prepares the next.
When the period of commemoration of the 1994 genocide approaches, Rwanda is assailed by harsh and baseless criticisms by those who want to downplay and to undermine Rwanda’s determination to overcome challenges inherited from the genocide. After the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan leadership has embarked on good governance and a reconciliation process. The results can be manifested by the following records:
Canada has included Rwanda among her 25 development partners.
African National Achievement award given by the Africa-America
Institute. This was given in recognition of the perseverance of
Rwandans after the genocide.
Rwanda is increasingly becoming a research centre for post-
conflict policies. A good number of African countries getting out
of conflicts are continuously visiting Rwanda to acquire the
experience. Delegations from countries such as South Africa and
Sudan visited Rwanda in this regard.
According to the World Bank, in Africa, Rwanda is an example in
broadening access to education.
Rwanda is one of the leading African models on anti-corruption mechanisms.
President Paul Kagame received in 2003 the Global Leadership Award
by the Young President's Organization (YPO). The award was in
recognition of his role as leader in Rwanda's transition to peace
and democracy. The UNDP, IMF and NEPAD (through the African Peer
Review Mechanism) have also recognized the positive move of Rwanda
in the pace of good governance.
These achievements have frustrated people who played a role in the genocide and their allies. The latter are involved in propaganda that aims at shifting attention from the 1994 genocide. They belong to a class of people who aim at undermining the ICTR mission which is supported by Canada.
Erlinder depicts a negative image of Rwanda and goes on to deny and at the same time rationalize the genocide. It is worth observing that a day prior to the 12th commemoration of the 1994 genocide, he took the opportunity, together with those who either deny the genocide or support it, to mourn the death of Habyarimana (whose regime planned and executed the genocide), in a move to downplay the remembrance of over one million victims of the genocide.
In his letter on the 6th April 2006, Erlinder no longer appeared as an ICTR Lead Defence Counsel for Alloys Ntabakuze, but instead as the ultimate legitimate mouthpiece of various individuals and organizations, who distort facts about the 1994 genocide. It is then understandable why most of Erlinder’s rhetoric is based on sources known for their connivance with the former regimes or for their poor ethical records. Among the so-called witnesses are Filip Reyntjens, and Ruzibiza. Records show that Reyntjens was an Advisor to Habyarimana and an Architect of the 1978 Rwandan constitution that institutionalized the “Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développment” (MRND) as a single party. After the collapse of the genocidal regime, Reyntjens left Rwanda but wrote harsh books and articles predicting imminent collapse of the current regime which is growing stronger instead. Reyntjens gave up his testimonies before the ICTR after failing to use the court as a weapon in his on-going fight against RPF/A and the current Government of Unity and Reconcilliation.
Reytjens continued to advise ’’ABATABAZI’’ (interim government which supervised the genocide) in DRC. He visited them in 1995 to conspire on how they could plan to overthrow the new transitional government of Rwanda. Bagosora Theoneste, the master-planner of the genocide, Kambanda Jean, the prime minister of the interim government and General Kabiligi were at that time his host.
As for Ruzibiza, it is in the ICTR records that this person served as an RPA soldier. He deserted the RPA in 2001 following his implication in an embezzlement case. Numerous documents signed by Ruzibiza prove ways in which he had used soldier’s salaries to make business with his brother known as Joseph Rurangwa. Today, due to his earlier job as an the RPA soldier, Ruzibiza is being manipulated by some western powers who are still trying to hide their responsibility in the 1994 genocide. Ruzibiza was only a nurse in the army and could not have had any access to information on what was planned at the strategic level as he claims. The relevance and importance of Ruzibiza’s testimony is much more in support of the destructive propaganda that Peter Erlinder, Ryjents and others have as their main mission on Rwanda.
Though no investigations have been conducted to establish the truth over the death of Habyarimana, Erlinder, though he is a Professor of Law, intentionally quotes the unauthenticated sources to state that RPF/A was responsible for the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane. The motive behind is to deny the preparation of the genocide, and explain the genocide as a mere result of popular furor caused by the death of their president. Denying preparation for genocide is to deny genocide itself. It is important to mention that Canadian Gen. Dallaire who was heading UN forces in Rwanda had, prior to the shooting of Habyarimana’s plane, written repetitively to UN headquarters about signs of preparation of mass killings against Tutsis.
Erlinder completely neglects the fact that UN and various international organizations confirmed the 1994 genocide and the role of what he called RGF (Rwanda Government Forces) in the preparation of the genocide. Since the denial of the genocide is the last stage of the crime of the genocide, it’s high time that civilized countries that recognize the genocide committed against Tutsi in Rwanda also adopt laws aimed at punishing those who deny or try to rationalize it.
The conduct of Prof. Erlinder is far beyond his mandate as defence Counsel, undermines his status as a Professor and above all an Officer of the Court. He deliberately ignores matters that have been factually and consistently proven in the same court he appears (ICTR).
However, looking at the record of misconduct and unprofessionalism on the part of some defence lawyers at the ICTR ranging from corruption and embezzlement to where they turn into mouth-pieces of Genocide both as a fact and ideology, Prof.Erlinder’s letter is only disturbing but not surprising.
As a defence counsel, he is paid to defend his client as against charges preferred against him by the Prosecutor. Never was he hired to conduct a collective defence in favour of all defendants. Neither is he paid to reverse historical facts.
But what remains clear is that Prof. Erlinder is singing the song the Architects and supporters of Genocide would want to hear. This is the strategy many defence lawyers have used at the ICTR to secure their employment and thus their living even where their legal professionalism and ethics remain in coma.
See RWANDA'S GOOD MAN KAGAME.
Government of Rwanda Representative to the ICTR
Thank you for sending your response to the Canadian university professor's letter to the Canadian prime minister. I've created a link to his letter: GENOCIDAIRE'S LAWYER WRITES CANADA.
Most people haven't heard of him so here is a profile of Peter Erlinder.
I'm unaware of a reply from Harper to Erlinder. However, the following day the Montreal Gazette published the article KAGAME IS WELCOME IN CANADA which indubitably expresses the sentiments of the vast majority of Canadians and accurately portrays the truth about President Kagame and his role in FIGHTING the genocide and uprightly REBUILDING Rwanda. This, along with your excellent defence, well and truly sets the record straight.
All the best,
KILLING HABYARIMANA NOT GENOCIDE
LOVE'S BLIND SAYS KAGAME HATER
Kagame castigates ICRT over West's role (France and Belgium were involved). NewTimes, Apr 29, 2006
ICTR 'shoots down' Genocide Defence Lawyer. All Africa, Apr 28, 2006
Barely days after the Rwandan government had sent a harsh missive to a defence lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the tribunal has gone against tradition and strongly rebuked the same lawyer. In a press release made public on Wednesday, the spokesperson of the ICTR Tim Gallimore said that an open letter by Professor Peter Erlinder, lead counsel for Major Aloys Ntabakuze who is on trial for genocide, did not express the views of the tribunal. "The letter is not a communication from, or on behalf of, the tribunal. The ICTR formally and officially disassociates itself from the views expressed in the letter", said Gallimore. "The professor is hired to defend his client, not to file motions unrelated to his case"...
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~