In Rwanda, a rebel commander's case that no one wants to try
Two years after Rwanda arrested Congolese rebel commander Gen. Nkunda, it still doesn't know what to do with him – he knows too many secrets that could come out if he is tried.
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Ntaganda, by the way, is still avoiding an arrest warrant from the ICC, despite living quite openly in Goma and going about his everyday business of maintaining a parallel administrative structure for CNDP governance in Rutshuru territory and, apparently, trying to get away with multimillion dollar smuggling deals. I hear he can regularly be seen out and about enjoying Goma's finest dining establishments. So why won't anyone arrest Ntaganda?Skip to next paragraph
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Meanwhile, the Rwandan government has had no problem prosecuting cases against its political enemies. Four exiled Rwandan leaders, all former members of the RPF regime and trusted Kagame deputies including former army external intelligence head Patrick Karegeya and Lt Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, were sentenced to 20 and 24 year prison terms in absentia by a Rwandan military court.
Finally, longtime friend/fawning admirer of Kagame Stephen Kinzer did an overnight about-face on his view of Kagame, calling him an authoritarian in a piece for the Guardian. As Jason notes, it's hard to overstate what an extreme change this is; I expect we won't be seeing any more fawning pieces about Kinzer like this one in the New Times anytime soon. Indeed, it appears the New Times has already turned on him.
On a brighter note, the Voice of America reports that the government of Rwanda has agreed to review some of its laws restricting press freedom, free speech rights, and political freedom after being criticized at the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. This would be a welcome change if it actually happens; as it currently stands, the broadly-written genocide ideology law makes it possible for any critical speech directed against the government to be construed as promoting genocide. My hopes that such a review will have any significant effect are limited, however, especially seeing as a Rwandan court just sentenced two journalists who wrote pieces critical of Kagame prior to August's elections to 7 and 17 years in prison.
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