How an inconsequential judge in some Spanish town is given free rein, to dance on the graves of the victims of the Rwandan genocide, beggars the mind!
After watching impotently as more than a million innocent lives perished, the least the world can do is to support the Rwanda government in her efforts to protect the victims from the trauma caused by those who continue to mock them. Among them, yesterday it was a French judge, Jean Louis Bruguière; today it is a Spanish judge, Fernando Andreu Merelles.
Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles has sent out indictments against top Rwanda Defence Forces officers for alleged mass murder and crimes against humanity after the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
Many of these top officers are the same gallant fighters of the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) who stopped a genocide that would have decimated a big part of the Rwandan population.
Happily, the Spanish government has distanced itself from the judge. The universal judicial fraternity should follow suit and denounce him.
The allegations in the indictment papers read like a horror movie script. The judge asserts that in fighting to remove the Habyarimana divisionist, killer regime, RPA had as its central purpose the elimination of all ethnic Hutus and the formation of a strategic alliance of all ethnic Tutsis of the region.
Of course, the good judge does not bother to tell us how this failed to come to fruition! Who stopped this grandiose scheme of the RPA?
More bizarre, he alleges that the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), the movement for which RPA was a military wing, enjoined Habyarimana’s political party, MRND, to form the Interahamwe militia!
Ostensibly, RPF did this so that the Interahamwe would kill Tutsis and then RPF would take over power in the ensuing chaos. Moreover, the indictment papers continue, there was no genocide of Tutsis, there were only reprisals by enraged peasants whenever one of their leaders was killed.
Again, he would not indulge us as to why there were recurrent massacres of Tutsis from 1959, without the provocation of any Hutu leader’s death.
The Spanish judge rattles off the ‘exact’ numbers of those killed by RPA and the ‘exact’ spots where the massacres took place, but his mind suffers amnesia when it comes to Tutsi deaths.
In fact, he states with a straight face that RPA killed Tutsis in order to cover its massacres of Hutus. He continues to thus tie himself in knots, and it is all one can do to try and make out his accusations!
What is intriguing is how a reputable judge can sink into such absurd morass of genocide denial, without caring about soiling his name.
However, there is an explanation. It will be recalled that when refugee camps in D. R. Congo were dismantled in 1996 – 8, a number of the occupants, who were Interahamwe militia members and ex-Rwandan army elements, were resettled in Spain, with the assistance of Caritas.
Once in Spain, these génocidaires hooked up with an association called Minorisa, and the alliance resulted into a separate marriage called Monarisa-Inshuti. It is through this association that they have enlisted the services of a lawyer, Jordi Palou-Loverdos, whose job it is to present their blood-socked hands as clean!
Backed by his clients, albeit a band of erstwhile killers, Palou-Loverdo has in turn embarked on a cleansing project that will present them as victims of the genocide. That is how, for a good number of years now, they have been trying to lodge a case against RPA of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, in Rwanda and D. R. Congo.
Every year, especially in the months just before the commemoration day of the 1994 genocide, they have made sure to organise and militate for genocide denial. Their claim is that there was no genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda. If there was any, it was double: that of Tutsis and Hutus, with the contemptible accusation that Hutus are still being killed in today’s Rwanda!
In all fairness, who would deny that Rwandans are today enjoying unprecedented harmony?
With the international community hailing Rwanda’s leadership as being among the most transparent and the populace among the most empowered, only the ill-intentioned can listen to a contrary opinion, but even then they need to authenticate its source.
The forces behind Merelles’ indictment effort are the génocidaires roaming Europe and the Americas, whose all-encompassing effort is to drum up support for the so-called active group of rebels in eastern D. R. Congo, the FDLR.
Their cause of returning to Rwanda to conclude their genocidal mission is a lost cause, and any one singing their tune is like the proverbial teak that clings to the skin of a dead cow. Judge Merelles would be dismissed as such a teak if he were not twisting a knife in the still-fresh wound of not only the genocide survivors but also of all those Rwandans who cherish a united Rwanda.
The leadership in Rwanda should not allow itself to be diverted from its sworn path of combating poverty, eradicating ignorance, minimising disease, empowering all Rwandans and generally building a robust, knowledge-based economy in an atmosphere of justice for all.
A man who cannot point out Rwanda on the world map and yet has the nerve to cast aspersions on the heroic members of her armed forces is a man to be ignored. The world should treat Judge Merelles’ indictments with the contempt that they deserve.