Accountability and Reconciliations in Rwanda Commissions: Working Past Atrocities ( Policy Appraisal)
RELEVANT QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What is the current policy in the United States covering your threat issue?
How long has this policy been in place? Have any changes occurred to the policy over the years?
What is the effectiveness or lack thereof of current policy when it concerns this particular threat issue?
What are the short-term and long-term ramifications of current policy?
Are there allies and adversaries connected to this specific policy?
This is part II in the development of your analytical skills. You will now be assessing and critiquing the formal policy existent at the moment in the United States in regards to the threat topic below
This is part I of the paper use this to tie part II analysis on Policy Appraisal….
Accountability and Reconciliations in Rwanda Commissions: Working Past Atrocities (Threat Assessment)
The Rwandan civil war started after the RPF (Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front) attacked Rwanda from Uganda in order to overthrow President’s Juvenal Habyarimanain October 1990 (World without Genocide, 2012). The government forces retaliated by attacking the Tutsis who were minority. The RPF fought back by targeting civilian targets and recruiting children as soldiers. A peace agreement, The Arusha Accord, was signed on August 4th 1993 (Staub, 2011). Tension however persisted between the Tutsi and the Hutu and President Habyarimana who was assassinated in the spring of 1994. This caused the one hundred days genocide that killed eight hundred thousand people. This paper looks at the effects of the reconciliation efforts on other countries such as the U.S.
Nature of threat chosen
According to Melvin, (2012), after the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan government and the international community concentrated on persecuting the suspected perpetrators. This is because they hoped justice would lead to social reconstruction. Trials are still ongoing at the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) in Arusha, Tanzania, Switzerland and Belgium national courts and Rwanda’s classical courts (Melvin, 2012). The genocide in Rwanda has received more attention judicially than any other mass atrocity. The military regime that facilitated the genocide was defeated and many countries are willing to support the judicial process apprehending several alleged perpetrators. Rwanda might hence bring out a good example of judicial trials contributing to reconciliation.
Size of the problem to the United States
The United States had evidence on the genocide and its perpetrators but the officials decided not to take a leading role in taking on the situation. The officials decided rather to limit themselves to statements in public cease fire initiatives and diplomatic marches. Thus the United States contributed even though indirectly to the Rwandan genocide. The national unity and program of reconciliation in Rwanda have promoted differing though related images politically and the international and domestic level. The images are constructed and passed on to the international community and national population, foreign investors, donors and nongovernmental organizations. The current government in Rwanda has successfully managed reconciliation nationally for improved national support, silencing of the opposition and promotion of uneven development. The international community should therefore look past the appearance of oneness and reconciliation to factor in the effects of programming by the government on human rights and programming in Rwanda.
Rwanda has currently joined the commonwealth in 2009 whose values are peace, freedom, democracy equal rights and rule of law (World without Genocide, 2012). This has been a recent example of growth in the nation after the genocide. The RPF rose to power under a disguise of the transitional government of national unity. The party then devised and implemented a program for reconciliation nationally in order to fight divisions and reconstruct the nation.
The judicial activities have however been laced with problems in reconciliation of past activities. The judicial processes do not seem fair since the judicial systems have concentrated solely on the genocide whilst power holders after the genocide also perpetrated crimes against humanity. The tribunal in Arusha is detached from the society in Rwanda and the prosecutions in Rwanda are highly politicized. Community based initiatives such as acacia which were hoped to promote effective reconciliation are still one sided and influenced by the government. It therefore still remains unclear as to whether the current prosecutions will contribute to the reconciliation process.
Effects of the problem on other countries
Ensign and Bertrand, (2012) argues that, the formation of the ICTR has forced international human rights treaties and has become an inspiration for expansion of the laws on human rights in other countries. Many countries are not willing to have their previous national leaders face trial for violating international humanitarian law on human rights. Countries usually grant amnesty formally or informally hoping that looking past the bloodshed in the past will solve the reconciliation task. Some victims have therefore crossed borders to seek justice in other countries. Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator, was arrested in the United Kingdom in 1998 on a warrant from Spain due to the crimes he committed in Chile (Ensign & Bertrand, 2012). This became an inspiration to arrest other leaders such as Ariel Sharon and Henry Kissinger who were accused of abuse of human rights.
Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, other countries have arrested and tried suspects of genocide in their territory. In 1999, a Rwandese burgomaster was charged and found guilty by a military tribunal in Switzerland for inhumane treatment to civilians during war, a violation of the Geneva conventions (UNICEF, 2012). He was awarded a life imprisonment but the sentence was later reduced to twenty years after an appeal. In Belgium, the genocide crime is incorporated into domestic penal code in a broad version to give universal solutions to humanity and genocide crimes. A case was initiated in Belgium by victims of genocide. In the civil legal systems, the victims are allowed to have a role in the trial. The victims are represented by lawyers who collect evidence against the defendants. The trial which was in 2001 was against four Rwandans who included a professor in physics, a business man and two nuns and faced a jury from randomly chosen Belgians (UNICEF, 2012). The jurors were keen on their responsibility and passed judgment on the four accused of humanity crimes against fellow Rwandans though not in the Belgian territory. The suspects were found guilty and sentence to between twelve to twenty years imprisonment. This trial therefore demonstrates universal jurisdiction showing that courts all over have the ability to judge the crimes against humanity.
How the problems affects countries differently
Some countries such as China are awakening to their contribution in the genocide through provision of fire arms. On the other hand, other countries such as Canada and the United States are guilty for doing nothing to stop the genocide yet they had the information and power to stop it. The program for national reconciliation in Rwanda gives an image the domestic audience of Rwandan citizens that shows Rwanda as safe, prosperous and stable. A second different image is shown to donors and the foreign investors. The image is characterized by participation of NGOs and donors in genocide crimes persecution. The court’s legal parameters are limited to genocide and humanity crimes which the RPF claims not to be liable. The violations committed by RPF on international humanitarian law can therefore not be prosecuted by the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) since the RPF has been active in obstruction the investigations by the tribunal into crimes committed (Unicef, 2012). The program for national reconciliation promotes a good image for the leadership and the whole country through restriction of program criticism. The program also suppresses press freedom and viewpoints from civilians and domestic NGOs.
Evolution or constancy of the threat with time
After the genocide, the international community began seeing the importance of justice. This was fed by the guilty consciousness. The international criminal tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) was already in existence and this provoked that formation of a tribunal might form justice for the people of Rwanda.
The refusal by the international community to recognize the mass killings in Rwanda were legally and morally wrong. The United States, the United Nations, Belgium and France had evidence of the preparation for genocide (Clark, 2010). The peace keepers from the United Nations were reduced from one thousand seven hundred to only a few hundred since the major players did not want to risk financial and human resources to protect the Rwandans from the mass slaughters. This silence by the international community made a clear path for the Rwandan government to expand the mass slaughter from Kigali to further south. The international community recognized the genocide too late and took action only after millions of refugees had been driven into Congo and Tanzania. Due to this genocide and the inaction by the United Nations, administrations refused to involve themselves with operations by the United Nations.
The bloody massacre of almost a million Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide was an event that shocked the world. Apart from the Rwandan government and the rebels, many more countries and nationalities such as the United States, Canada, China and Belgium can be blamed for the loss of the many lives. As efforts to reconcile the country back together through justice continue, the world is also awakening and those who watched as humans lives were slaughtered are now feeding on their guilt. As the proceedings continue, other past atrocities are also following the steps and judging their deeds past. The process is far from over and the scenes are likely to unfold more unexpected events on the world stage. Hopefully, the issue will finally be settled in a peaceful way.
Clark P. (2010).The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press
Ensign, M & Bertrand E. (2012).Rwanda: History and Hope. Lanham, MY: university press of America.
Melvin, J. (2012). Beyond The Veneer of Reconciliation: Human Rights and Democracy in Rwanda. Retrieved on September 16, 2013 from: https://www.commonwealthadvisorybureau.org/fileadmin/CPSU/documents/Publications/Opinion_piece_March_2012.pdf
Staub, E. (2011). Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict And Terrorism. New York: Oxford University Press.
UNICEF. (2012). Rwanda: Ten years after the genocide. Retrieved on September 16, 2013 from: https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/rwanda_genocide.html
World without Genocide. (2012). Rwandan Genocide. Retrieved on September 16, 2013 from: https://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/rwandan-genocide