25 years ago, in October 1996, the Rwandan Patriotic Army of General Paul Kagame, current president of Rwanda, launched an abominably murderous military operation against Rwandan Hutus who had taken refuge in Eastern Congo.
The FDU-Inkingi chose the end of October 2021 to enter a period of commemoration of the victims of this tragedy, victims for whom no justice has yet been done. This commemoration of the genocide against the Hutus will end on 28 November 2021 with the launch of a “Genocide Commission” within the FDU. Its aim will be, among others, to work for justice and recognition of all victims as well as to fight against the denial and use of any genocide for political ends.
As a reminder, at the end of October 1996, General Paul Kagame’s army, commanded by his right-hand man, General James Kabarebe, was at work throughout Kivu where more than one million Rwandan Hutus had taken refuge. It massacred indiscriminately, women, children, elderly… everyone was killed. The pattern was almost identical to that of the massacres perpetrated against the Hutus in Rwanda by this same army, from October 1990, when it was a rebellion, in the north of Rwanda and in the areas, it occupied thereafter.
Before launching their macabre task, the perpetrators had taken care to prepare the minds. They had first dehumanised these refugees by accusing them collectively and unjustly of having all participated in the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. As such, the entire world would consider that they all deserved their death sentence. Thus, the international community witnessed this butchery live without raising a finger.
According to estimates, between 250,000 and 600,000 refugees were massacred. The executioners took care to let some of them return to Rwanda, to show the international community that they had accomplished their mission of repatriation and thus cover up the genocide in progress, forgetting the fact that their systematic nature and the scale of the massacres alone prove the intention to exterminate all or part of this ethnic group.
During this month of commemoration, we will share the stories collected here and there, notably in the UN Mapping Report of October 2010. This report recounts the ordeal of these Rwandan Hutu refugees. The key objective of disseminating its contents is to work for the setting up of an international tribunal for the Congo, to try the perpetrators of the crimes committed not only against Rwandan refugees but also Burundian and Congolese civilians. This shows our determination to fight for justice, not only to end impunity, but above all, to rehabilitate the victims and bring peace to all Rwandans. It is also to support to the work of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Mukwege, who aims at ending impunity of perpetrators of crimes against humanity committed in the DRC.
The FDU-Inkingi pays special tribute to the survivors who are still in Congo and those who survive in the camps in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Congo-Brazzaville.
Done in Brussels, 29 October 2021.
Placide Kayumba, President of FDU-Inkingi
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