Global Policy Forum

Rwanda: Boutros-Ghali “Connived� With France During Genocide

Rwanda News Agency
July 2, 2007

The former U.N Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali knew whatever was going on in Rwanda during the Genocide but connived with French President Franí§ois Mitterrand to keep the U.N diplomats in the "dark", the Mucyo commission probing the role of France in the Genocide heard Monday. British researcher Ms. Linda Melvern said Mr. Boutros-Ghali often received cable information from the UN force commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire but provided "twisted" briefs to the U.N Security Council. Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali was UN Secretary-General from January 1 1992 for the next five-year term.

According to the former Sunday Times investigative journalist, Mr. Boutros-Ghali had developed close relationship with President Mitterrand even before as Egyptian foreign Minister. She described him to have been a "personal friend" to Mr. Mitterrand. Ms. Melvern said the "closeness" that Mr. Boutros-Ghali and French President had was transformed into a similar relationship with Rwandan late President Juvenal Habyarimana. Mr. Boutros-Ghali apparently had even visited Rwanda in 1983 as Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from October 1977 until 1991. She told the commission that Mr. Boutros-Ghali actually negotiated a $ 6million arms deal between Egypt and Rwanda in October 1990. The arms deal was to expand from $6m to $23m by 1993.

As indication that Mr. Boutros was committed to maintaining grip on information from Rwanda before and during the Genocide - as Ms. Melvern explained, he appointed Jacques Roger Booh Booh as his Special Envoy to Rwanda. The Cameroonian diplomat is believed to have been a "friend" and the two managed all information that the Security Council would get. She described the appointment of Mr. Booh Booh as "unfortunate" because he had "no skills" but just meant for a "purpose". France was closely associated to the establishment in Cameroon as member of the Francophonie - a grouping of former French colonies. The Cameroonian diplomat is also said to have recommended to the Security Council that the Coalition pour la Défence de la République (CDR) party be part of any future government in Rwanda. CDR was an off-shoot of extremist elements from the Habyarimana government. Mr. Booh Booh, according to Ms. Melvern also called violence in Rwanda "common banditry". "The motive of the disinformation to the Security Council by French diplomats was to convince the ambassadors that it was civil war going on in Rwanda. The conflict was actually referred to like tribal anarchy and chaos", she explained.

Linda Melvern said the French UN diplomat Jean-Bernard Mérimée "campaigned hard" to have Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire replaced as UN force commander. At some point, Gen. Dallaire is said to have even cabled names of Tutsis planned to be killed by Genocide militias but was told by "senior UN officials" that that was "not part of his job" to file such reports.

As the Genocide went on during the first three weeks, Melvern said the UN boss was in Europe but "deliberately" refused to return to UN headquarters. Briefings to the Council were done by Ambassador Chinmaya Gharekhan (India) a special appointee by Mr. Boutros-Ghali just for that assignment. "Boutros-Ghali did not want the Ambassadors in the UN Security Council to manage peace keeping affairs in Rwanda", Melvern explained. "Koffi Annan - as head of peace keeping - was also forbidden from appearing before the Security Council to talk about Rwanda." Melvern explained that the Security Council was "kept in the dark" so much so that the New Zealand envoy Colin Keating had to seek information on Rwanda from Human Rights Watch in June 1994. As President of the Council, Mr. Keating had failed in previous attempts for information.

The former journalist also said Rwanda was "not a priority" to Security Council but former Yugoslavia. "Imagine a situation where there were 30.000 well supported peace keepers in Yugoslavia compared to only 2500 very ill-equipped soldiers - most of who were not even sufficiently trained", she noted.

Linda Melvern is author of 'Conspiracy to Murder' and 'A People Betrayed: The role of the West in Rwanda's genocide' on Rwanda. In the later, she provides a damning indictment, not just of the UN Security Council, but even more so of governments and individuals who could have prevented what happened in Rwanda "but chose not to do so". Drawing on a series of in-depth interviews, the author also tells the story of the unrecognized heroism of those who stayed on during the genocide - volunteer UN peacekeepers, their Force Commander the Canadian Lt.-General Romeo A. Dallaire, and Philippe Gaillard, the head of a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, helped by medical teams from Médecins Sans Frontií¨res.

The UN, which fifty years before resolved that genocide never happened again, not only failed to prevent it happening in Rwanda, but, as this book shows, international funds intended to help the Rwandan economy actually helped to create the conditions that made the Genocide possible. Hitherto unpublished evidence of secret UN Security Council deliberations in New York, reveal a shocking sequence of events. She is an Honorary Professor in the Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth and has also published 'Conspiracy to Murder. The Rwanda Genocide' (2004) - her most recent.

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