Source: Focus Media, http://allafrica.com/stories
Rwanda: France in a Real Fix On the Kabuye Issue
As France prepares to try Rose Kabuye, judge Bruguière's "case" is falling apart.France is in a fix on the Rose Kabuye issue.
Jean Louis Bruguière-the judge who in his vendetta-fevered mind went as far as gathering "testimony" from the likes of Theoneste Bagosora and Hassan Ngeze to "prove" that members of the current Rwandan administration killed Habyarimana-finally got one leader (out of a possible nine) arrested on his concocted charges.
But now it looks more and more like the fellow's arrest warrants have become boomerangs that could do more damage to him and his government than the intended victims.
In the few weeks since President Kagame's chief of protocol Rose Kabuye was arrested in Frankfurt and transported to Paris, Bruguière's case, if it can be called that, has been falling apart spectacularly.
To begin with no independent investigation offers a lead as to who the real culprit in the shooting down of the aircraft carrying Juvenal Habyarimana and his friends was or were. Secondly Mrs. Kabuye never was anywhere near Mr. Kagame when the latter allegedly planned the assassination. Thirdly Abdul Ruzibiza the principal witness of Bruguière has come out of the woodwork to categorically state all the things he said concerning Habyarimana's death were lie; concoctions to get a conniving judge like Bruguière help him go to Europe. Possibly for a better life (though Ruzibiza doesn't say so).
Bruguière has sold his government a bum steer (as the Americans say), but since he has retired as a judge and actively is in politics-which he always was even under the guise of a judge-other poor magistrate are saddled with the task he originally set himself. To try to pin a crime, using a monstrous falsehood, on a bunch of people who actually stopped a genocide that was planned and was the handiwork of the dead Habyarimana and cohorts like Bagosora. You can't begin to think of such a plotline if you were writing a book of fiction.
The judges who have to pick up after Bruguière can't bring themselves to try Rose Kabuye so they are offering her bail on the following condition: she can walk about freely in France and even return to Rwanda if she so wishes.
It is as if these people are saying, please just go back home and forget the whole thing and we will let it drop quietly.
Rwanda however wants the lady tried. They basically are saying, go ahead and we will expose your shame-faced falsehoods; you began this thing and therefore it has to come to its logical conclusion. Which is recall and refute your bogus indictments and warrants, and while you are at it how about a few words of apology to Rwandans for participating in the 94 Genocide?
French Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner has been quoted in his country's media saying Mrs. Kabuye's trial will "improve relations between his country and Rwanda." Rwandans checking in by email are unanimous in calling this "the usual French arrogance."
Rwanda set to inflict defeat on Bruguière and his government
Everything indicates Rwanda is about to inflict a humiliating judicio-diplomatic defeat on a powerful former colonial master of much of Africa.
A few days back it looked to any Parisian (who normally follows politics) that the trial of a high profile Rwanda government official could only lead to one thing: badly restricted movement for a good number of its officials who either currently or formerly served in the military and that any judge in France or elsewhere in Europe could wake up to issue indictments against any African as they so wish.
This perception no longer is there. Instead it looks more and more like France's strutting around Africa like some colonial lord all these years after colonialism will reduce, significantly.
In international diplomatic it is known France punches above its weight and it claims "great power" status due to the influence it still exerts over huge swathes of the continent known as Francophone Africa and the favorable trade, commercial and cultural advantages it extracts from those poor countries.
Should the French lose in the Kabuye court case it will be a tough psychological blow to recover from. It will mean any African country can openly challenge them; call their bluff, fight them in court and choose its path to future development and in so doing prove you don't have to depend on France to survive.
This is what Mr. Kagame and his government have been doing for the past 14 years.
To break free of French influence; such an example to the rest of Francophone Africa is what Paris has been dreading for a long time and it is one of the two major reasons Paris has been so hostile to this government for the past 14 years.
Gerald Prunier, a Franco-Canadian academic writes in The Rwanda Crisis, History of a Genocide, his seminal work on the 94 Genocide, that French dread and resentment of anything perceived to be a threat to the French language and culture knows no bounds.
He continues that in no other circumstance is this resentment greater than when the perceived enemy speaks English, other than French.
The other major source of French hostility to President Kagame and his government is the fact-well-documented now in a number of scholarly and journalistic works, and the independent commission set up to probe France's role in the Genocide-that they intervened to prop up a genocidal regime and actively participated in planning (and even in a few cases executing) the Genocide, but despite these efforts the RPF defeated their client regime.
The Mucyo Commission (named after former justice minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo who headed it) implicates the late Francois Mitterrand himself and 32 other prominent French citizens.
Rwanda looks set to issue indictments of its own against 23 prominent French citizens.
These actions on their own-leave alone the hatred and resentments-are enough to prompt France to retaliate with everything it has in its diplomatic and judicial arsenal.
One of those weapons is the doctrine of universal jurisdiction whereby a French judge supposedly can issue an arrest warrant against anyone anywhere in the world regardless of their nationality.
Judge Bruguière used (or abused, as Rwandan officials furiously retort) the universal jurisdiction principal to issue his indictments-one of which led to the arrest of Mrs. Kabuye leading to outraged Rwandans protesting massively at the gates of the German embassy in Kigali.
Talking to the press recently Mr. Kagame said it is not the individual, Rose Kabuye on trial but the nation of Rwanda itself that is in the dock. The Rwandan head of state has commented that his protocol chief will be in France before a politically motivated court on politically motivated charges concocted to settle political scores by a politician of a judge.
In the meantime, as the drama was playing out between Frankfurt, Paris and Kigali, Ruzibiza came out of the woodwork to recant everything he ever said (or that Bruguière said Ruzibiza said) about Mr. Kagame and the alleged setting up of the commando unit.
Ruzibiza is telling everyone-Radio Contact FM, the BBC, Liberation (a French newspaper) and everyone else who will listen that there never was any elite commando unit and that he never told Bruguière of such a unit. Ruzibiza asserts in fact that he never talked to Bruguière for more than five minutes. Whatever the judge attributes to him is what he wanted to write, he says.
One of the things the defected RPA officer is emphatic about is that Rose Kabuye is innocent of French accusations against her.
"This woman was nowhere near the frontline when Habyarimana died and surely there is no way she was involved in the man's death, and on top of that I never talked to Bruguière about anything to do with her," said Ruzibiza on Radio Contact.
This man's testimony has been the cornerstone of Mr Bruguière's "case". But it is likely that such an unreliable witness may have blown the French judge's case together with the indictments and arrest warrants right out of the water.
Source: Focus Media, http://allafrica.com/stories
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