News / Africa

    Rwandan President Lashes Out at UN Over Leaked Report

    Rwandan President Paul Kagame disputes a UN report alleging war crimes by Rwandan soldiers while giving the prestigious Oppenheimer lecture at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.
    Rwandan President Paul Kagame disputes a UN report alleging war crimes by Rwandan soldiers while giving the prestigious Oppenheimer lecture at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Henry Ridgwell

    Rwandan president Paul Kagame has again lashed out at the United Nations after a U.N. report suggested Rwandan soldiers were guilty of mass killings and rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Making a speech in London, Mr. Kagame suggested the report's authors had deliberately given a false account. As the dispute worsens, the Rwandan leader has threatened to withdraw Rwandan peacekeepers from Sudan.

    Hours before Paul Kagame was due to give his speech, his supporters had arrived outside the venue in central London to show their love for the president and celebrate his recent re-election with songs, dances and plenty of Rwandan flags.

    The esteem in which they hold Mr. Kagame is matched in Britain where he was invited to give the prestigious Oppenheimer lecture at London analyst group, the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

    "It is a pleasure to be here at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and an honor to speak on the challenges of nation-building in Africa," he said.

    President Kagame was re-elected in August with 94 percent of the vote, amid allegations that he'd intimidated and in some cases locked up political opponents.

    But it's a simmering row between Rwanda and the United Nations that's now threatening to tarnish his image.

    Paul Kagame's forces took power in 1994 after bringing an end to the genocide of his Tutsi people by Hutus.

    A leaked U.N. report accuses his troops of carrying out mass killings and rape as they pursued the Hutus into the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s.

    After his speech, the president rebutted the allegations.

    "They are baseless and totally untrue and flawed in many ways. To accuse Rwandan forces of committing genocide in the Congo or wherever for that matter, other than what happened in our own country, is just absurd," he said.

    As the row intensifies President Kagame has threatened to withdraw the 3,500 Rwandese peacekeepers from Darfur in Sudan. He says the UN's failure to stop the genocide against the Tutsis in 1994 invalidates any criticism of his forces.

    Asked about the now improving relations between Rwanda and the DRC, Mr. Kagame said he believed that could be the motivation behind the U.N. report.

    "While some people seem to acknowledge it is very good, other people feel threatened by it and want to undermine it. It's like 'Oh - if Rwanda and the Congo come together then what?'... there are people's jobs that are threatened by that," he said.

    But Carina Tertsakian from Human Rights Watch says the Rwandan government should take the report seriously.

    "The very serious abuses carried out by Rwandan troops as well as by Congolese groups in Congo in the '90s were well documented already at that time not only by U.N. teams but by different Non-Governmental Organizations, so to deny the accusations in that way is simply not credible. The Rwandan government should treat these allegations with the seriousness that they deserve and at the very least commit to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes."

    Back in central London, Paul Kagame's supporters aren't letting the U.N. report change the way they view their president.

    "He's full of democracy, full of achievements, development and prosperity," says one supporter. "I appreciate everything he does and he's genuine. We've seen a lot of people going and coming, but he's a genuine," another supporter said.

    The U.N. report into the alleged war crimes by Rwandan forces in the DRC is due to be officially published on 1 October. Parts of it have already been leaked - and provoked a fiery response. When the full details emerge, the growing tension between President Kagame and the United Nations is only likely to get worse.

    You May Like

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora