Understanding the Upcoming HRW Report on Rwanda and the Political Factors Surrounding It

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is set to release another of its biased reports on Rwanda, a continuation of its three-decade campaign against Kigali, The New Times has learnt.

Titled, “Rwanda’s “transnational repression”, the upcoming report has been described as “not something new, but a continuation of HRW’s three-decade recycled anti-Rwanda conspiracy.”

A highly-placed source familiar with details of the upcoming report, which seeks to dent Rwanda’s image among its allies and others in the international community, says it is “disguised. as a piece of work against human rights abuses ostensibly committed by Rwanda”.

“The supposed report is nothing but the outcome of a politically motivated process that involved speaking to well-known discredited individuals or fugitives of justice, and coaching sources on what to say,” the source said.

It also emerged that the so-called report is expected to be promoted widely via media broadcasts, including on Channel 4.

The list of HRW sources used in the upcoming report is replete with names of people with similar profiles as those quoted in previous “reports”, noted our source.

“For instance, one of their key sources is a man known as Joseph Mazimpaka, alias Bahati Mbanda, who narrates an alleged failed kidnaping in Tanzania, and supposed harassment of his wife in Mozambique by alleged Rwandan operatives,” our source added on condition of anonymity.

Yet HRW “deliberately omits the correct background of their “hero” Mazimpaka, a man who served in genocidal forces of Ex-FAR before he was integrated into the Rwanda Defence Force in 1999.”

In the years that followed Mazimpaka’s integration into the post-Genocide army, it was discovered that he had played a part in 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

He was subsequently arrested in 2009.

However, he managed to escape from the then Butare prison in southern Rwanda and ended up in Uganda and then Kenya, before proceeding to Tanzania.

In Tanzania, Mazimpaka collaborated with anti-Rwanda individuals and groups, including Brig Gen Jean de la Paix Mupenzi, and Ex-FAR Capt. Sagahutu, CFCR-Imvejuru, RNC and FDLR, the UN-sanctioned genocidal militia operating in eastern DR Congo that was blacklisted as a terrorist group in 1999.

Mazimpaka was indicted in 2017 by the High Court of Tanzania on charges that involved unlawful presence in Tanzania, forgery, giving false information on an application for a driver’s license, and fraudulent schemes.

“Despite this background, HRW is not ashamed to try and white wash a Genocide fugitive in its usual agenda to tarnish the image of the Government of Rwanda,” the source noted.

Other discredited names cited in the so-called report due to be published by HRW include, Innocent Noble Marara, who was jailed for an indiscipline case before he escaped to the UK; Jennifer Rwamugira, a top RNC official; Noel Zihabamwe, who told lies to get a visa; Paul Rusesabagina, a convicted terrorist; and Cassien Ntamuhanga, who was found guilty of complicity in terror acts.

Others include Robert Mukombozi, a Ugandan national declared persona non grata in Rwanda in 2008 after he distorted the President’s speech on peace-building; Jonathan Musonera, an RDF deserter who joined RNC; and Eugene Richard Gasanab, who’s known for supporting negative armed groups seeking to destabilise Rwanda.

“These are some of the purportedly “credible sources” HRW talked to in their research,” the source added, drawing comparisons between the upcoming report and previous HRW reports on Rwanda.

HRW’s corrupt methods exposed

HRW has previously been called out by some in the West over its corrupt methods.

In a report titled, “The Travesty of Human Rights Watch on Rwanda,” by retired American diplomat Richard Johnson, released in March 19, 2013, he pointed out that HRW always sides with genocidaires and does everything to thwart justice.

“HRW’s advocacy efforts concerning the international community’s treatment of Rwandan genocide suspects outside Rwanda has been consistent with HRW’s radically negative view of Rwandan governance and justice,” the report read in part.

It added, “HRW has been very active, via its 2008 “Law and Reality” report and amicus curiae briefs to the ICTR and a UK court, in supporting the efforts of Rwandan genocide suspects to avoid transfer or extradition to Rwanda by the ICTR or by national courts, on the grounds that they would not get a fair trial there.”

“HRW’s discourse on Rwanda over the past 20 years has been viscerally hostile to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which defeated the genocidal Hutu Power regime in 1994, and systematically biased in favour of letting unrepentant Hutu Power political forces back into Rwandan political life.”

“Indeed, HRW reports on Rwanda serve as a propaganda tool meant to demonise the Rwandan leadership, and the governing party of RPF in an effort to create a moral equivalence with génocidaire outfits like FDLR and allied groups such as FDU-Inkingi and RNC,” an expert in international diplomacy said.

“According to the wishful thinking of HRW, it would then be easy to replace the government in Kigali or force it to negotiate with the genocidaires and other criminal outfits as equals. HRW is using similar problematic elements in Burundi, Australia, Belgium, Uganda, South Africa, France, the US, the UK and elsewhere to feed its propaganda reports,” he added.

“In each of their so-called report on Rwanda, HRW has been quoting corrupt and sometimes anonymous sources who easily repeat on record what they have been coached by HRW staff,” our source added.

“Bribes are often used, which is not surprising as the former long-serving HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth was found to have solicited a bribe from Saudi real estate magnate Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber in 2012.”

Deep conspiracy

“For HRW to depend on information provided by criminals who only want to win sympathy of host countries and get asylum is evidence of a deep conspiracy to advocate for genocidaires, while at the same time creating a bad image for Rwanda so that it can be condemned and isolated by the international community,” said another observer.

Richard Johnson said that, “what Human Rights Watch does on Rwanda is not human rights advocacy, but political advocacy which has become profoundly unscrupulous in both its means and its ends.”

HRW has for long been used by the global north in bullying and threatening countries that are not on their side in certain causes, especially those that advance the West’s political hegemony.

One of our sources linked the upcoming HRW report to the current tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa over the ongoing conflict in eastern DR Congo, where Western interests are believed to be at play.

“There is an ongoing media campaign orchestrated by the US State Department and other powers in the West that are interested in DR Congo minerals, which they believe they can only perpetually exploit by destabilising the region through actions that appease DR Congo leaders and subsequently win their favours in the ongoing competition for DR Congo’s mineral resources,” the source added. “The latest effort by HRW to discredit Rwanda is indeed part of this broader scheme.”

By siding with Kinshasa in a propaganda war against Kigali, the source said, Western figures involved in the scramble for DR Congo’s resources hope to win competition against the likes of China, the source added.

“The negative reports against Rwanda, both by the media and civil society groups, are sponsored but done to look like information from independent credible sources, the idea is to influence countries’ foreign policy on Rwanda.”

The war in Ukraine has made European and other Western countries more desperate for DR Congo’s minerals for their high-tech industries, which seems to be influencing their positions on the current conflict in eastern DR Congo, even if it’s at the expense of Rwanda’s image, the source added.

“That’s why, for instance, the likes of HRW are going as far as coaching their sources on what to say and how to dramatise things in their schemes against Rwanda.”

One of our sources also pointed out the timing of the upcoming HRW report, saying “it’s all calculated”.

“The fact that HRW found it convenient to release its fictitious report on Rwanda’s “repression” at a time the security crisis in DR Congo is worsening, the message can be clearly understood.

“Tarnishing the image of Rwanda’s leadership amid tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali is undoubtedly designed to please DR Congo, which in return will provide the West access to mineral resources.”

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