A Contribution to the progress of justice and towards the efforts of reconciling the Rwandan people.
(Note: This is my preface for the account by Rwandan Prime Minister, Jean Kambanda, of the events in the Rwanda War, 1990-94 during the last phase of that war of 1994, when the Rwanda Patriotic Front broke the Arusha Peace Accords by murdering the Hutu President and launching its final offensive to seize all power. His account will be published in a book of the title above. The Preface will be of interest to those concerned with those events and their implications.)
The case of Prime Minister Jean KAMBANDA is without parallel. Heads of state or government have been the victims of show trials or assassinations by their enemies throughout history. But since the fall of the Soviet Union the use of show trials by western controlled international tribunals, on the face of them neutral and with some international legitimacy, but in actuality controlled by the United States and its allies, has become routine as we have seen at the ad hoc tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, and as we now see at the International Criminal Court.
The show trial of Saddam HUSSEIN after the Americans invaded and occupied Iraq is notorious and resulted in his judicial murder. President Slobodan MILOSEVIC, arrested after the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, died in his cell in circumstances indicating that he also was murdered. Muammar GADDAFI was executed on the street, after NATO destroyed Libya. But Jean KAMBANDA is the only head of government arrested by a United Nations international tribunal, held incommunicado on his arrest, denied a trial, denied access to counsel, and then pressured, threatened and tricked, into a life sentence for crimes he never committed, by agents of the same United Nations Organization that purports to maintain peace and security in the world.
This book will shock all those who still believe that we live in a world where law, justice and due process are the cornerstones of civilization. Never again can anyone accept the validity of the judgments handed down by these ad hoc tribunals when the reality of their operations is understood. Never again can anyone believe in “international justice” or any of the platitudes expressed by the many who claim they are advocates of “human rights” who have not spoken out about the travesty that the KAMBANDA case is.
I have not had the privilege of meeting Jean KAMBANDA in person. But I did watch the proceedings in his case from the visitors gallery at the Rwanda tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania in 2000 when he sought to have the guilty plea he had been pressured and tricked into making withdrawn so he could have a proper trial and present his defence and tell the world what the real facts were about the events of the Rwanda War. I remember very clearly the scene; prosecution staff gloating at the spectacle packed the gallery while the few defence counsel who were there looked on grimly as Jean KAMBANDA was deliberately humiliated, mocked, and finally denied the trial he demanded and should have had.
Prime Minister KAMBANDA tried time and again to explain to the judges of the appeal chamber what had transpired, what had led him to plead guilty and to be sentenced to life in prison. But each time he spoke, the judges just sat there, stone-faced and the Canadian Prosecutor James STEWART, again and again, asked if KAMBANDA had signed the plea document, or not.
When the Prime Minister stated he had been denied counsel of his choice, he was asked it. When he stated he was held incommunicado in Dodoma, breaking all the rules of detention at the tribunal and all civilized norms, he was asked it. When he stated he was worked on every day for nine months by two Canadian police officers in that remote location he was asked it. When he recounted that his family’s lives were threatened he was asked it. When he stated that he was tricked, after nine months of insisting on stating the real facts, into believing that the plea document was simply a statement accepting political responsibility for the actions of his government, he was asked it. When he informed them that he was told he could add his own statement to that document about what really happened in Rwanda, that his government had committed no crimes, he was asked it.
The psychological torture he had endured all those months in Dodoma, and more in Arusha and in The Hague, was applied once again in the courtroom, one slap in the face after another, for hours. Then the Appeal Chamber judges, without one question to him, denied his request and sent him back to prison. The prosecution staff cheered. The defence counsel sat there in silence and shock at what they had just witnessed; the judicial lynching of a head of government by a tribunal that was supposed to render justice.
It was my first introduction to the reality of the Rwanda tribunal, the criminal nature of the show trials being conducted there. But I had been warned. Jean KAMBANDA relates in detail how he was denied his counsel of choice, Johan SCHEERS from Belgium. Just before his ordeal before the Appeal Chamber, I went to Brussels to meet some witnesses for my client, General Augustine NDINDILIYIMANA. One evening I received a telephone call in my hotel room from Mr. SCHEERS who warned me that since I was defending General NDINDILIYIMANA I was now connected to Washington and London and to “watch my back”. The warnings and the threats did not stop there. They came from the Rwandan Patriotic Front, from the US Army, from Tanzanian secret police, from the CIA, and still they continue.
General NDINDILIYIMANA had the benefit of Jean KAMBANDA’s terrible experience and the support of many friends who were able to support him during his long ordeal from his arrest in 2000 to his acquittal in 2014 that Jean KAMBANDA did not enjoy. He was able to force the Tribunal to allow him his counsel of choice, though they tried to get rid of me several times in various ways, and he was able, with counsel at his side, to present a strong defence and reveal what the real facts were.
Like Jean KAMBANDA, General NDINDILIYIMANA also was the subject of tricks and false offers from the prosecution. In his book Jean KAMBANDA relates in detail the various overtures made and games played by the prosecution including those by Stephen RAPP, Sylvana ARBIA, and others. I can confirm that his testimony in this book is credible because the same people tried the same games with us and for the same reasons.
We were also able to present evidence of the real role of General DALLAIRE in the events; not the saviour portrayed in the media, but the conspirator and assassin, acting under orders from his masters in Ottawa and Washington, the man who allowed the RPF to murder people right in front of him in Amahoro Stadium, his UN headquarters without even any protest on his part. The evidence we put before the judges is confirmed in this book.
But this book is not just about the judicial lynching that Jean KAMBANDA has had to endure all these years. It is also a defence of his government, a world historical document setting out what really happened in Rwanda, and a condemnation of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, the United Nations, and the Canadian, American, Belgian, British and Ugandan governments that all took part in overthrowing the legitimate government of Rwanda and installing in its place the murderous regime of Paul KAGAME.
His account of how he became Prime Minister and the chaos he and his government faced as the UN and western supported RPF forces conducted their final offensive in 1994 is gripping and necessary to any understanding of what happened in Rwanda as is his account of the divisions that inevitably arose among the Rwandan government and armed forces in exile in Zaire after the RPF seized power in Rwanda.
But in the end this book is a cry for justice from a man falsely condemned by a rigged tribunal that was interested, not in international justice, but in presenting scapegoats to the world to account for the crimes of the west and their puppets in the RPF. Jean KAMBANDA is the most important of those scapegoats.
He should be given a fair trial so he can present to the world and the Rwandan people what he knows about the war in Rwanda.
So long as he is denied this simple justice so long will justice for Rwandans, and all Africans, for all of us, be buried beneath the dunghill of lies and propaganda that is the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Christopher C. BLACK,
Former Lead Counsel, ICTR, Counsel to General NDINDILIYIMANA,
Of List of Defence Counsel, ICC.