Mode of extraction
It bears the primary responsibility for the political and economic instability in the Great Lakes Region (including the overthrow of the Congolese government), which is functional to its mode of extraction of wealth and its regional dominance.
It practises, and has contributed to, a complex, regional regime of illegal economic transactions, evasion of UN sanctions, arming of militias, criminal business organisations, and disregard of neighbours’ borders and fiscal systems, which has greatly impoverished the region.
The RPF has used an extraordinary amount of violence, domestically and internationally. It has killed several thousands Hutus, citizens and others, and is responsible for the deaths of even more through displacement, malnutrition and hunger. It has denied hundreds of thousands of children the opportunity of education, and deprived millions of family and community life. It has conscripted child soldiers. The UN has voluminously documented these practices and repeatedly chastised Rwanda for its irresponsible behaviour in the DRC. Beneath the gentility of RPF leaders, the tidiness of Kigali, and its gleaming high rise buildings, I found a country deeply fragmented, operating under the hegemony of a small Tutsi political elite, which rules through oppression and fear.
Effective Public Relations
I discovered that these leaders are extraordinarily effective at public relations, especially as directed at the West, and make the most of the guilt in the West for doing so little to prevent the terrible genocide in 1994, directed largely but not exclusively at the Tutsi.
[The report of the CHRI can be found at http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/hradvocacy/rwanda’s_application_for_membership_of_the_commonwealth.pdf]
Prof Ghai is a former CKRC Chaiman