- Media and journalists in Rwanda have joined to strongly criticise the arrest in Germany of top presidential aide Rose Kabuye, saying her indictment had "nothing to do with genuine justice."
Ms Kabuye was arrested in Germany almost two weeks ago for allegedly being involved in downing of a plane 14 years ago, carrying Rwanda's former Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana. Many hold this incident "sparked" the country's 1994 genocide, although it is proven that President Habyarimana had participated in its planning for a long time.
"It is the guilt trip of a former colonial superpower desperately attempting to hide its own involvement in the 1994 genocide by aiding and abetting the despotic and genocidaire regime of former President of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana," a statement issued today by Rwandan media, journalist and editor associations said.
The representatives of Rwanda media said that, despite the "illegal and arbitrary" arrest of Ms Kabuye, her arrest had exposed "clear double standards" existing in the way Western governments choose to deal with Africa.
"It is time we rise as people to denounce these double standards which stand as a menace to our continent's stability," the joint statement said.
The statement said it was unimaginable for Western leaders to be questioned or indicted on the basis of flawed witness accounts motivated by political frustrations and legal manipulation.
It further said that, though Rwandan media were part of the genocide machinery influencing what had led to mass killing of Tutsi and moderate Hutus in 1994, international media stood by in silence as the horrendous crime went on.
"Today, the Rwandan media cannot be passive onlookers again, as injustices in the name of international justice are being meted out to the very people who stopped the genocide. Media conspiracy and silence are not options for us here," Rwandan media stated.
The Rwandan media fraternity called for joint support to denounce an arrest of Ms Kabuye. "Let the sacrifice of Mrs Rose Kabuye be matched by our unity in facing the ongoing struggle of our full emancipation to become, as the words of Dr King still suggest, free at last!," it said.
The Chief of Protocol of the President of Rwanda, Ms Kabuye is first the Rwandan to be arrested out of nine warrants issued by French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere in 2006 against close aides of current President Paul Kagame, whom he accused of being behind President Habyarimana's death.
France, which assisted the Hutu regime before and throughout the genocide, has maintained hostile ties with Mr Kagame since his Uganda-based rebel movement came to power in late 1994, putting an effective end to the genocide. While the French judiciary has been extremely slow in prosecuting genocide suspects hiding in France, it has been quick to claim that President Habyarimana's death "sparked" the genocide and pointing to Mr Kagame as the main suspect behind the airplane attack.
President Kagame's government has been strongly criticised – mainly by France-based groups – for not respecting press freedom in the country, and is strongly opposed by the few independent media and editors in the country. His government is however generally hailed for having ended the genocide and the attacks by the French judiciary and the Germany arrest of Ms Kabuye have united the nation in condemnation.
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