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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More