Monday, December 8, 2008

RWANDA/ZIMBABWE Updates (12/12/08 & earlier) from HRW/Amnesty

HRW dot org
Human Rights Watch
Rwanda Tribunal Should Pursue Justice for RPF Crimes

The tribunal has not prosecuted even one of the serious Rwandan Patriotic
Front crimes from 1994. This glaring omission means delivering one-sided
justice and risks tarnishing the important work that the court has done
to date.

Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice
Program -Failure to Act Risks Undermining Court's Legacy
December 12, 2008

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda's (ICTR) prosecutor's
failure to date to bring cases against Rwandan Patriotic Front officers
responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during
the 1994 genocide risks undermining the court's legacy, Human Rights
Watch said today. On December 12, 2008, ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Jallow
will brief the Security Council, which is finalizing plans to close the

The ICTR is mandated to prosecute persons responsible for genocide and
other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in
Rwanda in 1994. However, unlike the International Criminal Tribunal for
the Former Yugoslavia, which has prosecuted crimes committed by all
parties to the conflict, the ICTR has thus far prosecuted only persons
charged with committing genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Against the backdrop of the genocide, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF),
which has since become the country's governing party, killed thousands of
civilians, in the process committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"The tribunal has not prosecuted even one of the serious Rwandan
Patriotic Front crimes from 1994," said Richard Dicker, director of Human
Rights Watch's International Justice Program. "This glaring omission
means delivering one-sided justice and risks tarnishing the important
work that the court has done to date."

RPF crimes have been well-documented, including by a United Nations
Commission of Experts, which concluded that the group had "perpetrated
serious breaches of international humanitarian law" and "crimes against
humanity." The Field Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, as well as Human Rights Watch and other
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) documented the RPF's violations of
international humanitarian law. Recently, cases have been opened against
its leaders in Spain and France.

The prosecutor for the ICTR referred one RPF case to Rwandan national
courts involving the killings of 15 civilians, including high officials
of the Catholic Church, in June 1994. In October, the Military Court of
Kigali acquitted two senior officers for the crimes while two more junior
officers who had pleaded guilty to the crimes were given reduced
sentences of eight years on grounds that the crimes were not
premeditated. The Rwandan prosecutor has appealed the decision to a
higher Rwandan court. After the officers' arrest, the ICTR prosecutor
indicated that he would reassert jurisdiction over the case if the trial
did not meet international standards, but he is refraining from comment
while the decision is on appeal.

In the meantime, the ICTR's trial chambers have in three cases refused to
transfer trials for genocide to the courts in Rwanda, citing fair trial
concerns, including the ability to secure and protect witnesses.

"The concerns about fair trials expressed by the tribunal are even more
pronounced for Rwandan Patriotic Front cases," said Dicker.

The ICTR is currently scheduled to finalize trials by the end of 2009.
Unless the Security Council grants an extension, it will be difficult to
bring RPF cases before the court.

"The doors seem to be closing with the mandate of the court unfulfilled, "
said Dicker. "The victims of the RPF crimes also deserve justice. Failure
to bring these cases before the court will call into question the
impartiality and independence of the ICTR."

Human Rights Watch raised its concerns in a
letter to the ICTR prosecutor today. Please go to HRW dot org to see the letter today.

(source: Human Rights Watch)


lease also go to this Amnesty Report...

WE NEED TO HELP, EACH & ALL OF US, NOW! Suggestion: Order books -Where There is No Doctor- right away from Mennonite Central Committee and ask BBC/Mennonites/Oxfam & others to suggest how best sent...HELP GET THE WORD OUT!
Letter from Zimbabwe
I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn.
We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was 'too close to the airport', so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.
You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you
do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help -but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option.
I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know
that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all.
You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on.
To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe
me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are - IN
level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial).
If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means
you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you
are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the
news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many
people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa
This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight---or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult
people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by
250% as is water.
How can I take on another family of 4...and yet how can I turn them away
to sleep out in the open?
I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to
FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to
pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button!
Help best in the way that you know how. Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD... The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? 'If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way'.
[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to
> us]
For now,- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights.
Censorship! - We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was
happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.
Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and
personal reports so that something can/may be done.
'I am one. I cannot do everything, - but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.'

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