Kigali, 4 October 2012
President Kagame has cautioned against the misuse of justice and aid by international partners as a political stick to punish Africans. President Kagame was speaking today at the launch of the 2012-2013 Judicial Year and swearing- in of a new member of Parliament, Clothilde Mukakarangwa, the new Ombudsman, Cyanzayire Aloysie and the new Army Chief of Staff, Major Frank Mushyo Kamanzi at Parliament.
President Kagame said Rwandans will not comply with injustice, but instead, will be defiant because they are better off that way. Citing suggestions from quarters of the international community asking Rwanda to condemn groups fighting in Eastern Congo, President Kagame said:
“If I were to condemn, I would start by condemning the leadership that has neglected its people and the International Community that caused those problems and appears to be blind about what is happening there before condemning the groups that came about because of a combination of all those problems. To me, the Government of Congo, the International Community and M23 are all ideologically bankrupt. For a decade they have failed to properly define a simple problem and keep blaming Rwanda. Why don’t they have enough courage to blame themselves? What is this blackmail about?”
President Kagame said that the fact that international partners are talking about freezing and suspending of aid is an indication that they don’t give the aid with the intention to help Rwanda develop because if it were so, they would recognize the fact that no country beats Rwanda at utilizing aid effectively. He pointed out that as it is, aid is used as a tool of control and management.
“These people who have created injustices for our region cannot give us lectures on anything. They are free to go and do anything they want, and I know they are capable of doing wrong things. We are doing our best to take this country forward, unite Rwandans and give them a decent living, development and value like they have, but they think we don’t deserve it. The only crime we have committed is to be trying our best to decently make progress. Why should we accept it? Let us continue doing our best, let us not be provoked, let us keep mastering our art of getting the best out of the little we have in our hands and be decent people.”
President Kagame pointed out that Rwanda was not ready to own Congo’s problems which were created by international actors and called on Rwandans and Africans to challenge bullying attitudes because if they don’t, they will be worse-off.
“Some still treat Rwanda as if it’s still in the Rwanda-Urundi and Congo-Belge era but this is no longer the case. Those who sowed seeds a century ago that evolved into the current problems in Congo should be the ones to take accountability. They keep asking Rwanda why there are Rwandophones in Congo yet keep quiet about those who took them there in the first place. The Rwandophones in Congo are persecuted every day, but those who give human rights lessons keep quiet and condone this and turn to Rwanda. This is the law of the jungle. It is normally ‘you break it, you own it;’ but to them it is ‘I break it, I make you own it.’ We are not going to own it. I will not stop telling my brothers and sisters of Africa, you must wake up and stand up to the challenge.”
On international justice, President Kagame said that what is called the International Court of Justice is actually for Africans and not necessarily those who have done wrong, but those who have disobeyed world powers:
You will hear the so called champions of human rights condemning those who recruit child soldiers, but they won’t pursue those who kill children and rape women because that’s how Africans should be; they make it look as if there are people who deserve to be killed and raped. Now everything wrong that goes on anywhere in Congo is blamed on M23 and Rwanda should condemn that. Justice should be impartial.”
The President of the Supreme Court, Professor Sam Rugege thanked President Kagame for his commitment to creating an independent judiciary in Rwanda. Enumerating the achievements of the justice sector, Rugege said that Rwanda is ahead of many countries in the world, including those in the developed world, in terms of independence of the judiciary, according to the recently released World Economic Forum Competitiveness report. He also said that current statistics and international rankings show that Rwandans have trust in their judicial system and that Transparency International survey shows that 80% of Rwandans believe justice is rendered fairly.
The Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga noted that the prosecution had been able to address challenge of case backlog by resolving 35,000 in the past year. He also said prosecution had been able to win all extradition cases for genocide suspects living abroad, and more than 80% of cases were taken to court.