KAGAME AND BESIGYE TO APPEAR AT THE HAGUE
French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere and his Spanish counterpart Judge Fernando Andreu are not the only ones who want Gen. Paul Kagame in The Hague on suspicion of committing international terrorism in 1994.
By coincidence or co-ordination, Uganda government too, through their trial of Col. Kizza Besigye for high treason, are giving the International Criminal Court (ICC) a perfect cause to indict Gen. Kagame. Why?
Just as Mr Charles Taylor, the former Liberian President, is already in The Hague, accused of supporting the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in the neighbouring Sierra Leone, so has Uganda accused Gen. Kagame of supporting rebels here. Col. Besigye’s charge sheet explicitly and repeatedly makes clear that Rwanda financed, armed and trained the alleged People’s Redemption Army (PRA). Consider extracts from these files: High Court Case 955/2004; DPP Case No: Bug-Co-2694-2004; and Police Case No: CID HQS E/43/2004):
“Col. (Rtd) Dr Kiiza Besigye and others still at large between 2001 and 2004 in various places in Kampala and Rwanda, contrived a plot to overturn the government of Uganda as by law established by force of arms.” “As leader of the PRA, he co-ordinated recruitment, funding and supply of weapons to the rebels undergoing training in Rwanda.”
“In December 2001 some rebel recruits crossed into Rwanda through Kabale. They were taken to Kiyovu, a residential area some few kilometres from Kigali. In May 2002 the group was transferred from Kakyiri to Kabuga, some seventeen kilometres from Kigali.”
“They joined a larger group headed by Lt. Col. Kyakabale. Others were Capt. Emmanuel Mutyaba, Lt. Stephen Asiimwe. Lt. Johnson. Babihuga, Sgt. Matte, Mwesigye Simon, Sgt. Amza Matege, Lt. Ephram, Cosmas Komakech, Mumbere and many others.”
“In June 2002 they were joined by two Ugandan doctors, who were working in a hospital in Kigali. Other recruits were housed at Kigali Ngali, Nyarutarama and Kyamihurura.”
“In February 2003 some of the Kabuga group was taken to Kanombe Airport, Kigali where they were joined by Col. Muzoora, Bainomugisha and Twinamatsiko.”
“The funds for the rebel activities were channelled to Koboko, the rebel’s base, from Rwanda.”
In conclusion, the charge sheet, signed by Joan Kagezi, Principal State Attorney, states, confidently: “Prosecutions will adduce evidence to show that all the accused persons were living in or transiting through Rwanda.”
That is not all. In his letter to the British government, dated November 28, 2001, President Yoweri Museveni said: “I am writing to you, Honourable Minister, to inform you of the deteriorating relationship between Uganda and Rwanda on account of Mr Kagame planning aggression against our country.”
“You remember how he tried to have a quisling regime in Uganda by supporting Mr Besigye against me in the last presidential elections. Even recently Rwanda intelligence was involved in the so called “escape” saga of Mr Besigye”
“There are some Ugandan army officers who ran from here, fleeing prosecution for a number of crimes, to Rwanda. Furthermore, they have been recruiting Ugandan youth and taking them to Kigali for military training”
“We are now sure that they have opened three training centres around Kigali with the full support of the Rwanda government.” On the basis of President Museveni’s statements, which are remarkably identical to the particulars in Col. Besigye’s charge sheet, won’t his defence lawyers call President Museveni for cross-examination as a star material witness?
Meanwhile, the British Parliament, through Parliamentary Motions 561, dated December 12, 2007; and 207, dated December 9, 2008, have called on “the British and Ugandan governments, and the Commonwealth to ensure Dr Kizza Besigye is immediately brought to court and convicted or released.”
How will Ugandan prosecutors prove their case against Col. Besigye without proving that it was Paul Kagame’s regime which financed, armed and trained the PRA terrorists as alleged?
If and when Col. Besigye is convicted and possibly executed for treason, won’t it directly lead the ICC to indict Gen. Kagame for supporting international terrorism?
Doesn’t UN resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001, explicitly authorise the UN to “ensure that anyone who has participated in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice?” But did Gen. Museveni have to implicate Gen. Kagame, the president of a neighbouring country, in treason, just to ‘win’ the 2001 and 2006 elections? Isn’t this a classic case of killing two birds with one stone?
Why can’t we drop Col. Besigye’s, and by extension Gen. Kagame’s, treason trial, now, if real and sustainable peace is to prevail in the region? Why are we postponing the inevitable?