Rearming Former Rwanda Regime/HRW Report, 05/29/'95

Rearming Former Rwanda Regime/HRW Report, 05/29/'95

Human Rights Watch/Arms Project
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Joost Hiltermann (202) 371-6592 x 143 [w] (202) 387-3744 [h]
Kathi Austin (202) 234-9383 x 238 [w] (202) 265-1868 [h]
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During their year in exile, the architects of the Rwandan genocide have rebuilt their military infrastructure, largely in Zaire, and are rearming themselves in preparation for a violent return to Rwanda. In Rearming With Impunity: International Support for the Perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide, released today, Human Rights Watch charges that several members of the international community, including France, Zaire and South Africa, have actively aided this effort through a combination of direct shipment of arms, facilitating such shipments from other sources, and providing other forms of military assistance, including training.

After a four month field investigation in central Africa, Human Rights Watch urges the international community to strictly enforce the May 17, 1994 arms embargo on Rwanda by placing United Nations monitors at key airports in Zaire; by extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) when it comes up for renewal on June 9 to include the Rwandan refugee camps in Zaire; and by disarming the armed forces and militias affiliated with the ousted government of Rwanda currently in Zaire. Human Rights Watch also calls on France, Zaire and South Africa to fully disclose the nature of their military and security assistance and arms transfers to the ousted Rwandan government, and to provide full information on training activity, whether by their own military trainers and/or at their own military bases, involving members of the ousted government's armed forces and militias.

Ensconced in refugee camps, primarily in eastern Zaire, former Rwandan government officials, the former Rwandan Armed Forces (ex-FAR) and Hutu militias continue to enjoy impunity from arrest and prosecution for their involvement in last year's genocide. They rule over the refugee population through intimidation and terror, effectively preventing the return of refugees to their homes in Rwanda, while inducting fresh recruits into the ex-FAR andmilitias. Emboldened by military assistance, including arms, from France and Zaire, among other countries, they have openly declared their intention to return to Rwanda.

The ex-FAR has an estimated troop strength of 50,000 in a dozen camps, and has brought the militias more tightly under its control. These forces have launched raids across Rwanda's borders to destabilize the already precarious situation and to prepare for a future offensive against the current government in Kigali. In addition, the ex-FAR and Rwandan Hutu militias have aligned themselves with Hutu militias from neighboring Burundi, inflaming an already tense situation there and threatening to regionalize the conflict.

The ex-FAR and its militia auxiliaries have access to sufficient funds to buy weapons on the open market, using hard currency and other assets taken out of Rwanda by officials of the rump government and military when they fled the country last summer. Additional money and assets in foreign countries (including at least Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire and the Netherlands) controlled by the ousted Rwandan government continue to be available to its leadership in exile. Cash income generation schemes (including the sale of international relief supplies on the open market) run by former Rwandan civil and military authorities both in the civilian refugee camps and local Zairian communities provide for the maintenance and salaries of officers and troops.

Zaire has offered the former Rwandan government armed forces and allied militias shelter and protection, and rather than arresting those suspected of responsibility for the genocide, has permitted them freedom of movement. In addition, the government of Zaire has permitted its territory and facilities to be used as a conduit for weapons supplies to the ex-FAR, and private cargo companies based in Zaire have acted under contracts with Zairian officials to transport these weapons.

Behind Zaire stands France, which has maintained troops in Rwanda and has trained Rwandan army and militia forces since at least 1990. After the start of the genocide, French soldiers evacuated French citizens, but failed to take action against their Rwandan allies who had launched the genocidal campaign. Instead, France diverted its arms supplies to the Rwandan military from Kigali to Goma airport in Zaire and set up a "safe zone" to which the architects of the genocide fled and where they received new weapons shipments. After the Rwandan government's defeat in July, the French military escorted key perpetrators of the genocide out of the country and continued to provide military training for the ex-FAR in the Central African Republic.

Other countries, including South Africa, the Seychelles and China have also either provided weapons support to the ex-FAR and militias, or have facilitated the supply of arms from ostensibly private sources. While public scrutiny and adverse international opinion may have discouraged open foreign support of the ex-FAR, clandestine support has continued. Countries like France and South Africa that had armed the Rwandan government prior to the genocide and the international arms embargo now operate through middlemen and rely on false end-user certificates to conceal the final destination of the weapons. In light of the evidence collected by Human Rights Watch of continuing transfers of weapons and other military support by members of the international community to the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, despite an arms embargo imposed by the U.N. Security Council, Human Rights Watch provides an extensive list of recommendations. Among them:

To the International Community:

-To strictly enforce the international arms embargo against Rwanda, and to deploy U.N. monitors at Kinshasa, Goma, Bukavu and Uvira airports in Zaire for this purpose.

-To urge states to arrest and detain persons found within their territory who might have participated in the genocide in order to bring them before the International Tribunal.

-To secure the necessary funds for the International Tribunal to investigate and prosecute those accused of directing the genocide.

-The Security Council must act immediately to extend UNAMIR's mandate to include the Rwandan camps in Zaire, and to charge UNAMIR with the task of separating the government-in- exile's military and militias from the refugee population, and to disarm the ex-FAR and militias.

-To make future bilateral and multilateral aid to Zaire contingent on Zaire's full compliance with the international arms embargo against Rwanda, the cessation of assistance to the ex-FAR, and the directive to arrest those suspected of participation in th Rwandan genocide.

-To cease from doing business with cargo companies that are known to be shipping arms to the ex-FAR.

To the Government of France:

-To disclose in detail the nature of French military and security assistance and arms transfers to the Rwandan government after May 17, 1994, including, but not limited to, five shipments to the ex-FAR uncovered by the Human Rights Watch investigation and described in this report.

-To make public information on the number and nature of arms, munitions and other military equipment held by the FAR and associated militias that came under the control of French forces during Operation Turquoise, and the final disposition of these weapons and equipment.

-To provide information on training activities reportedly carried out by France at bases maintained in the Central African Republic and Zaire between January 1994 and the present.

To the Government of Zaire:

-To end all assistance to the former government of Rwanda, the ex-FAR and Rwandan Hutu militias, in light of the fact that such assistance has buttressed a force that is widely recognized as having committed genocide.

-Fully to disclose the nature of Zairian military assistance and arms transfers to the Rwandan government after May 17, 1994, including following that government's departure from Rwanda in July 1994.

-Fully to disclose the nature of the services it has provided enabling the shipment of arms intended for the FAR/ex-FAR through Zaire after May 17, 1994.

-To arrest and prosecute all persons in Zaire who are implicated in arms transfers that are illegal under Zairian national law and constitute clear violations of the U.N. arms embargo.

To the Government of South Africa:

-Fully to disclose the nature of South African military assistance and arms transfers to the Rwandan government, including transactions undertaken by Armscor, after May 17, 1994, including following that government's departure from Rwanda in July 1994, in light of the fact that such actions have supported a force tht is widely recognized as having committed genocide.

-To request the Cameron Commission to investigate the role of South African government officials in the Seychelles arms deal and further arms transfers to the FAR/ex-FAR.

Copies of Rearming With Impunity: International Support for the Perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide are available from the Publications Department, Human Rights Watch, 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017 for $3.60 (domestic) and $4.50 (international).

Human Rights Watch was established in 1978 to monitor and promote internationally recognized human rights worldwide. Kenneth Roth is the executive director. Robert L. Bernstein is the chair of the board and Adrian DeWind is the vice chair. The Human Rights Watch Arms Project was established in 1992 to monitor and prevent arms transfers to governments or organizations that commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and the rules of war and to promote freedom of information regarding arms transfers worldwide. Joost R. Hiltermann is the director and Stephen D. Goose is the program director. This report was researched and written by Kathi L. Austin, consultant to the Arms Project.

From: "Washington Office on Africa"
Date: Tue, 30 May 1995 22:47:40 +0000
Subject: Rearming Former Rwanda Regime/HRW Report

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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