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February 2-8, 2015

Media Monitoring Report for Rwanda
Posted on February 9, 2015

Compiled by Berta Fürstová

Report content:

1. MONUSCO’s inaction is an UN standard practice in the region
2. New HRW report written by “silly, malicious or just plain stupid“ authors, says journalist
3. Rwanda, DRC discuss repatriation of ex-M23 fighters
4. The 1994 Genocide was perpetrated by Tutsis against Hutus, say French journalists in public broadcaster

1. MONUSCO’s inaction is an UN standard practice in the region
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 3 rd February 2015

“‘FDLR - too much ado about doing nothing” by Joseph Rwagatare

  • According to Rwagatare, many in Rwanda have been sceptical about the United Nations taking up arms against the FDLR. They refer to UN history and reputation in the region - - „history of inaction, prevarication, betrayal of people's trust, dashing their hopes and expectations“, especially during the 1994 genocide.
  • Rwagatare accused the most expensive and the largest UN mission of not being able to tackle with FDLR and other armed groups terrorising eastern DRC for the past twenty years and only witnessing to horrific atrocities without doing anything. Some could think that all these groups operate with the tacit approval of MONUSCO.
  • For Rwagatare, another reason for scepticism are revelations of Ambassador Prudence Bushnell in her just published personal notes. Ambassador Bushnell was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the US State Department in 1994.
  • Her revelations show that it is not only the UN that will not act in times of crisis, but almost the entire Western world. According to her, inaction is part of standard diplomatic practice. In her own words she describes United States policy on Rwanda at the time as, "keeping busy with tasks that lacked impact so we could say we were doing something".
  • Rwagatare watches the repeat of that practice - of being busy while doing nothing - today in the eastern DRC with regard to the FDLR. There is much talk about impending military action, but no real movement to attack them.
  • The British have now offered to train Malawian forces before they can take on FDLR, although the decision to go after all the negative forces in DRC was taken more than a year ago, and it is a month since the deadline for FDLR to disarm ended.
  • There are other more explicit signs that show that action will not be soon. For instance, MONUSCO has said that they will not go after the FDLR, but will only give support. That task has been left to the Congolese army (FARDC) and „everyone knows how that would turn out were it even to happen.“
  • The United States have been urging military action but the problem of protecting civilians serves them as an excuse for their inaction.
  • Rwagatare says that all these point to one thing. It is more of the same old story: keep busy, say the right things, make everybody believe that you are doing something, and do nothing.
2. New HRW report written by „silly, malicious or just plain stupid“ authors, says journalist
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 4 th February 2015

„HRW 2015 report - why so much dishonesty, Mr. Roth?“ by Sunny Ntayombya

  • Ntayombya strongly criticizes the new Human Rights Watch report on Rwanda. The organisation itself he describes as unaccountable, untrustworthy and unsavory. According to him, the report is full of innuendo, lies, old news and diatribe against the government of Rwanda.
  • HRW, led by Ken Roth, subdivide the report into eight sections: Political Opposition, Attacks on Opponents Abroad, Civil Society Organisations, Media, Unlawful Detention and Enforced Disappearances, Security-Related Trials, Justice for Genocide and Key International Actors.
  • On the subject of 'Political Opposition', they write, "The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) dominates all aspects of political and public life. Opposition parties cannot operate in a meaningful way". Ntayombya calls the authors of this report „silly, malicious or just plain stupid.“ He objects that RPF does not hold all government positions - Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi of the Social Democratic Party, House Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa from the Liberal Party.
  • The report writes about the sentence handed down by the Supreme Court to FDUInkingi's Victoire Ingabire, complaining that the Court had "increased from eight to fifteen years" after being found guilty of conspiring "to undermine the government and genocide denial in 2012". But the report does not include any evidence against her.
  • Ntayombya concludes that HRW continuously omitted Rwanda's views in their successive reports and made its own conclusions. He stated that „no country has a perfect human rights record“ and that „HRW is simply being a stumbling block to Rwanda's human rights journey and not a good partner.“
3. Rwanda, DRC discuss repatriation of ex-M23 fighters
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 4 th February 2015

"Rwanda, DR Congo discuss repatriation of ex-M23 fighters“ by James Karuhanga

  • Officials from Rwanda and DR Congo met at a closed-door meeting in Kigali to discuss the eventual repatriation of ex-M23 fighters back home. More than 400 ex-M23 combatants are hosted in the Gisovu and Ngoma camps.
  • "It is important to understand that this repatriation is voluntary and that the Rwandan authorities as well as international observers put emphasis on this voluntary repatriation." René Sibu Matubuka, the DR Congo deputy defence minister, told reporters.
  • The Congolese minister noted that his government has already promulgated an amnesty law for those rebels who did not violate the international law such as war crimes. His delegation met leaders of the ex-M23 combatants and saw the former rebels' arms and equipment.
  • "We are ready to cooperate and to give whatever assistance they want to go back home. Same thing with their equipment. We are in the process of handing over the equipment as soon as possible,“ said Col. Joseph Rutabana, the permanent secretary in the Rwanda’s Ministry of Defence.
4. The 1994 Genocide was perpetrated by Tutsis against Hutus, say French journalists in public broadcaster
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 7 th February 2015

"Activists blast French state media for Genocide denial" by James Karuhanga

  • Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), has strongly condemned the broadcast of French public television channel, France 2, on January 31, that referred to events of April 1994 as genocide against the Hutu by the Tutsi. According to the French rights group, the broadcast is an attempt to deny the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
  • "It is simply unbearable to hear such distortions of the truth. It is rewriting of history by ignorant journalists and or malicious intent," told CPCR president, Alain Gauthier.
  • During a breakfast show the host, William Leymergie, journalist Damien Thevenot, and guest Olivier Royan, the editorial director at French language weekly magazine, Paris Match, began by talking about a photo of people who had fled with the perpetrators of the genocide in 1994, returning to Rwanda.
  • Thevenot poses his first question, pointing to the picture: "Another striking photo: The Hutu genocide by Tutsi. Why have you chosen this photo?" Without frowning, Royan said: "In 1994, you have this incredible event, in front of the international community, the Rwandan genocide during which Hutu will be entirely exterminated by Tutsi."
  • Genocide researcher, Tom Ndahiro, regards what transpired in the show as not just genocidal denial but a "pathological state of denial and, maybe, the highest level of insanity in re-writing history.“ Such shows, he pointed out, can only be done by people with connections to genocide perpetrators, or people who are "total stupid nincompoops."
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