A Call for Truth and Justice in the African Great Lakes Region

On October 1, 2014, BBC2 broadcast a documentary “Rwanda’s Untold Story” on the tragedies which have devastated the Great Lakes Region of Africa since 1990, especially Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This documentary methodically deconstructs the narrative that has been made official by most of the Western media.

The signatories of this appeal, who have been actors or observers in the African Great Lakes Region, through their work and/or humanitarian commitments, wish to congratulate and express their support to the BBC journalists and management who have significantly contributed to establishing the previously ignored historical truth.

International justice has been instrumentalised and has not fulfilled its role :

— Essential documents such as the Gersony Report or the Hourigan Inquiry have not been taken into consideration by the ICTR

— Ms, Carla Del Ponte was going to issue indictments following the special investigation into the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) crimes but, in 2003, she was removed from her position of ICTR Chief Prosecutor after the intervention of several member states of the UN Security Council

— The 1998 UN Garreton Report and the 2010 UN Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1993-2003, which both implicated the Kigali regime for its action in DRC, did not result in any legal action.

— The attack on the plane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi is considered by a great number of observers and commissions of inquiry as a key element in the escalation of violence and the outbreak of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; therefore it is not acceptable that twenty years later the perpetrators and the actors should not be  known, tried, and convicted.

At a time when the European Parliament has awarded Dr. Denis Mukwege the 2014 Sakharov Prize for his work in favor of the women victims of rape and sexual violence during the armed conflicts that have torn the Eastern DRC for almost twenty years, it is unacceptable that those responsible for these crimes against humanity or genocide which have caused several million deaths in the DRC should not be designated, prosecuted, and convicted.

Peace can only be achieved if justice is rendered fairly and equitably. Therefore the signatories call upon the UN to set up at the earliest the structures and procedures permitting to prosecute all those responsible for all the crimes perpetrated in this region since 1990, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

The signatories ask that the political pressures and media bias which aim at discrediting the French and Spanish judicial investigations that implicate the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front be denounced. We cannot help being astonished by the silence in almost all French-language media after the broadcast of the documentary by the BBC whose professionalism and deontology are internationally recognized.

Only truth and impartial justice will help restore peace to the region. The signatories of this call reiterate their support to the BBC and call upon it to continue its work of presenting information and truth in the dramatic events that took place in Rwanda and in the Great Lakes region. This will be the best way to respond to the criticisms of the BBC documentary broadcast last October.

BEUNZA, Professor Pepe, Spain, first Spanish conscientious objector
BONET JPUIGERT, Joseph, Spain, member, GEES (Grup d’Empordaneses i Empordanesos per la Solidaritat)
BOULE, Pierre, Canada, lawyer
CABOT-VIDAL, Spain, human rights activist
CANET, Professor Francesc, Spain, former Member of Parliament
CARRERO, Juan, Spain, founder “Veritas Rwanda Forum”
CASOLIVA, Joan, Spain, INSHUTI Association
CASTRO ELCACHO, Pedro, Spain, financial investor
CLAEYS BOUUAERT, Thérèse, Belgium, sociologist
COMELLAS HUMET, Sergi, Spain, engineer
CONSTANT, Raphaël, France, head of Martinique Bar Association
CUADRAT i PELACH, Professor Nuria, Spain,
CUSSAC, Colonel Bernard, France
DE BEULE, Christiaan, Belgium, Rwanda – Burundi asbi
DE LA  CAMARA, Belen, Spain, Mediator
DESGAGNEA, Bernard, Canada, Journalist
ERLINDER, Professor Peter, USA, ICTR defense attorney
FARRES Josephina, Spain, INSHUTI Association
FRUCHARD, General Michel, France, ex African matters counselor, French Ministry of Defence
GARRISON, Ann, USA, print and radio journalist
GENTILINI, Professor Marc, France, Honorary President, French Medecine Academy, honorary President, French Red Cross
GISPERT, Maria, Spain, Contractor
HABYARIMANA, General Emmanuel, Switzerland, Geopolitical scientist, President, Virtus Panafricaine de Géopolitique
HERMAN, Professor Edward S., USA, Writer and  teacher
COLONEL HOGARD, Jacques, France, area commanding officer, Operation Turquoise
KALINGANIRE, Pascal, USA, human rights activist, Organization for Peace, Justice and Development in Rwanda and Great Lakes Region
KAZADI KABIMBA, Richard, DRC, lawyer
KÖCHLER, Hans, Austria, President, International Progress Association
LAFOURCADE, Jean Claude, Professor, France, Commanding officer, Operation Turquoise
LIONDJO, Philippe, Switzerland, President, Swiss chapter, CLD
LIGA DEL DRETS DEIS POBLES, Spain, human rights NGO for the African Great Lakes Region
MARCHAL, Luc, Belgium, Colonel, Commanding Officer, Kigali Sector, United Nations Mission In Rwanda, 1993-94
MATATA, Joseph, Belgium, Coordinator, Center for the Fight against Impunity and Injustice in Rwanda
MBEKA, Joseph Salomon, Belgium, human rights activist
MOLINA, Amparo, Spain, President, Federation of Black Africa Committees
MUKASINE Florentine, Netherlands, Netherlands Coordinator, Womens International Network for Democracy and Peace
NDAGIJIMANA, Jean-Marie France, Former Rwanda Foreign Minister
NDAYISABA, Elysee, Belgium, President, Assistance to Victims of Conflict in Central Africa
NDJOKO, Bénédicte, Switzerland, teacher, human rights activist
NKINAMUBANZI, Pierre – Claver, Canada, President, CRC (Rwandan Congress of Canada)
NYABIRUNGU MWENE SONGA, Raphael, Professor, DRC, Dean, Kinshasa Law Faculty
NYIRANKUNDWANKIZE, Daphrose, Belgium, Belgium Président, Women’s International Network for Democracy and Peace
OLIVAR, Joan, Spain, Geographer
OLIVER GONZALES, Antoni, Spain, Lecturer
PACHA VINCENTE, Carlos, Spain, Engineer
PALOU, Sergio, Spain, Economist
PALOU – LOVERDOS, Jordi, Spain, lawyer for the Rwandese, Spanish and Congolese victims, lawyer,
International Forum for Truth and Justice in the African Great Lakes Region
PETERSON, David, USA, Writer and researcher
PHILPOT, Robin, Canada, publisher and author books on the African Great Lakes region
PHILPOT, John, Canada, Lawyer
PLOURDE, Philippe, Canada, Lawyer Legal Assistant for defence team at the ICTR
PONS, Jordi, Spain, Inshuti association
PUIG-LOVERDOS, Oscar, Spain, economist
PUTS, Jean-Paul, Belgium, Surgeon (former Rwanda war and humanitarian surgeon – 1994 – 1996)
RAFFIN, Madeleine, France, Caritas Gikongoro director (1991 – 1993)
REID, Timothy B., Canada, former Investigations & Justice Reform Officer UN Human Rights
Field Operation in Rwanda & former DDRRR Team Leader for South Kivu – UN Mission in DRC (MONUC)
REVER, Judi, Canada, Journalist
ROBARDEY, Michel, Colonel, France, Counselor, Investigation police (1990 – 1993)
ROMERO ALVAREZ, Jordi – Xavier, Spain, Theologian
RUTIHUNZA, Théobald, France, President, RIPRODHOR
SAYO ROURA, Ester, Spain, Member, GEES (Grup d’Empordaneses i Empordanesos per la Solidaritat)
SBOLGI, Mauro, Belgium, Administrator, S.I.R.E.A.S association
SOLER ROS, Maria, Spain, Member, GEES (Grup d’Empordaneses i Empordanesos per la Solidaritat)
TERES BONET, Noria, Spain. Justicia i Pau
VALLMAJO, Marti, Spain, brother Joaquim Vallmajo killed in Rwanda 04/26/94
VILA TRIOLA, Spain, Pere
VILLENA, Rafael, Spain, President of Coordonadora ONG Saladaries, de les comanques gironines I l’Alt
VINCENT, Colonel André, Belgium, commanding officer, Belgium technical military assistance (1991 – 1993)
WEYL, Fréderic, France, Lawyer

The BBC documentary can be viewed on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/107867605.  It can be viewed with French subtitles here: https://vimeo.com/110709607.

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