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On Rwanda Genocide, UN Silent on Its Own Role, So ICP Asks, Duhozanye Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 -- When the UN invited two Rwanda genocide survivors to speak on April 9, commemorating 19 years after UN peacekeepers left in the face of mass murder, one expected the “lessons learned” to also be about the UN.

  But the formal presentation asked Daphrose Mukarutamu, founder of the Duhozanye organization, and her fellow survivor only about reconciliation in the country. The UN Women panelist, Nahla Valji, spoke about the gacaca courts.

  But in terms of “Never Again,” what of the UN's own performance, its abandonment of the victim, even helping the genocidaires to escape into Eastern Congo?

  As we have noted, current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous in 1994 as Deputy Permanent Representative of France advocated for and facilitated this rescue of genocidaires, through “Operation Turquiose.”

Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press questions about his role, then refused to answer ANY questions from Inner City Press, including about rapes by the Congolese Army, his partners. Video here.

On Tuesday night, the UN did not ask about these issues either. So Inner City Press did. YouTube video here.

  Daphrose Mukarutamu replied with dignity that members of Duhozanye have testified in Arusha against those who committed the genocide, and the government is trying to track more down.

  But what of, for example, Callitxe Mbarushimana, who while working for UNDP in 1994 used UN vehicles and radios to kill at least three dozen Tutsis, including Florence Ngirumpatse, the director of personnel at UNDP's office in Kigali?

  The UN let him keep working for them, in Angola where he was not even language qualified, until he was outed in 2001 working for the UN in Kosovo. Even then, he was paid an additional $35,000.

  After Inner City Press' question, and Daphrose Mukarutamu's answer, a participant hissed to Inner City Press, do you think that question elevated the discussion?

  It had to be asked. It should have been in the introduction. It should have been in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's canned statement over the weekend. And it will continued to be asked.

  Duhozanye is composed of, and cares for, genocide survivors, now focusing on those who are aging without family members to take care of them. They want to start a retirement community. The event was strangely lacking in contact information for them. But we suggest an Internet search: Duhozanye. And check out, as well, Callitxe Mbarushimana and the history of Herve Ladsous, while you're at it. Watch this site.

Footnote: the UN Department of Public Information, the evening's host, does some good programs, and surely will do more. But they should have included some mention of the UN's own role.

 And, just within UN Headquarters itself, they should be more forthright about how and why they raided the office of Inner City Press without consent or even notice on March 18, and how photographs they took were leaked to on March 21. The Rwandan mission is aware of what DPI did, even referred to it on UNTV earlier this month. Accountability, high and low. Or impunity? Watch this site.

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