Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa testifies in Spain
By Jennifer Fierberg
In a brief statement on social media today, Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, founding member of the Rwanda National Congress, made the following statement:
PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KILLING OF NINE SPANISH CITIZENS
Today, 14/10/2013, I appeared before the Spanish Investigative Judge Andreu Merelles to testify that President Paul Kagame is responsible for the death of nine Spanish citizens.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Dr. Rudasingwa testified in three specific areas before Judge Andreu Merelles covering the downing of former President Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994 killing two sitting heads of state as well as the French crew aboard the plane. Further, he testified about Tri-star Invesments and the case of the nine Spanish nationals who were killed by the RPF/RPA in Rwanda.
The Spanish newspaper, El Pais, reported in Spanish that, “according to legal sources, the information contributed by Rudasingwa was “very important” for the murders of the four Spanish monks in October 1996. He also cited the names of several of the military processed by Judge Andreu and who are under international search warrants, such as James Kabarebe, current Rwandan defense minister, Karake Karenzi and Jack Nziza.”
Dr. Rudasingwa testified about the company Tri-Star Investment, founded by himself, and he stated that this is the main tool for money laundering and abuse of natural resources in Rwanda.”
Dr. Rudasingwa stated, “To achieve a genuine reconciliation, you first need to know the whole truth. The opposition is reinforced and it is not disposable. An uprising in the medium term. The country seems safe and peaceful, but is more divided than ever because a minority within a minority controls the political, military and economic oppressing and marginalizing the Tutsis and moderate Hutus . In five years we will have a civil war again.”
Dr. Gerald Gahima spoke exclusively to this reporter about today’s development and his role in this case before the Spanish courts in the past. Dr. Gahima stated that he represented General Kayumba Nyamwasa and met with the judge who wanted to question him about the Rwanda Briefing and other issues. He stated that, “The judge wants to speak with Kayumba Nyamwasa as well but due to inter-country agreements that has not been possible” but stated that General Nyamwasa is willing to speak with him.
This reporter asked Dr. Gahima if he believes that the qualification of genocide and crimes against humanity can be applied to this case. He replied that the case is broad and covers the entire military from 1990 to the RPF wars in the Congo. Such a case would take a lot time and vast research effort in order to thoroughly investigate, as well as large amounts of resources in order to be properly prosecuted. He emphasized that this case is too broad in scope and therefore appears to be an overwhelming task.
When I specifically asked Dr. Gahima what he knows about those killings of the Spanish nationals, when it happened and who was involved he was unable to reply due to his ongoing involvement in this case.
In his specific role of Attorney General in Rwanda from 1999-2003 I questioned why he never prosecuted those crimes while in this top position in the Rwandan Government. He replied that, “As soon as we got into Rwanda the law was changed. The RPF could not investigate itself and then hold its own members accountable. This is not a credible system of accountability for any country, including Rwanda.”
Dr. Gahima stated, “I am personally critical of the case. Its starting point is that the RPF struggle was a criminal enterprise from the very beginning. I definitely do not subscribe to that view. When I asked him for more details on this statement he replied, “While there are Spanish victims of RPF abuses who deserve justice, the scope of the case as a whole is in my opinion too sweeping for the case to be a credible judicial process. Over the years, the case has become a dumping ground for real and imagined grievances of opponents of the RPA / RPF.”
Dr. Gahima stated that President Kagame has been “struck off” the case because he is a sitting head of state.
Some have said that the Spanish case is potentially groundbreaking because it is focusing on crimes blamed on President Kagame and his forces, something that a United Nations tribunal set up in 1994 to prosecute war crimes in Rwanda yet did not do. I asked Dr. Gahima if he agreed with this analysis, he replied the following, “It is the first time that crimes alleged to be committed by the RPF would be tried by an independent, outside justice system. It is not credible that the RPF can investigate its own members. Yet, this situation is not unique to Rwanda. After the signing of the Rome statue, the US government made sure that provisions were in place so that US soldiers would never be brought to justice for actions taken during times of war. Therefore, it is not new to Rwanda that they do not want to hold their own soldiers accountable in a court of law. This is why the international criminal justice system is necessary in order to provide an independent judicial review for such situations.
When I asked Dr. Gahima what he thought should happen with this case at this point and if the Spanish courts should drop the case or continue to pursue it; he replied the following, “I think they should continue to prosecute it but, personally, I do not think there has been an adequate investigation. Nor do I believe they have the moral right to bring foreigners into their courts when they have not prosecuted their own citizens for crimes committed in their own countries. If you do not allow your own courts to deal with the violence of your own past then what right do you have to deal with the crimes committed by other nations? Spain and Portugal are young democracies and democracy takes time to have a stronghold so I am not surprised they have not dealt with the violence of their past.”
When asked what he believes this testimony will do for the case at this point he replied, “Most of the war was not in the military but it was on the diplomatic front.”
Some are speculating that the actions of both Dr. Gahima and Dr. Rudasingwa have been to secure General Kayumba Nyamwasa being excused from this indictment. Dr. Gahima replied to this that, “General Nyamwasa was not in Rwanda during the time of these charges against him he was not in Rwanda at the time the crimes were committed. Therefore, he could not have been in command of the units to have committed the crimes for which he is accused, including those in Congo.” He stated that this evidence is documented in his passport and other official papers.”