Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) made a political decision to give complete immunity to President Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) for their crimes and as a result they have been granted impunity to commit the terrible war crimes in Rwandan and Congo since: because they know they can get away with it.
Mr. Obote-Odora's statement that he has seen no evidence that the RPF shot down the plane is astonishingly bizarre since the evidence for it has been in the prosecutor's hands at the ICTR since 1997 when Louise Arbour ordered an investigation into the shoot down of the presidential plane.
That investigation, by the very office that Mr. Obote-Odora worked for and led by Australian lawyer Michael Hourigan, determined that it was the RPF that shot down the plane, had the witnesses and documents to prove it and so informed Arbour. But Arbour ordered the investigation to be closed on being informed it was the RPF, an order prompted by the US. Hourigan resigned in disgust at this political interference in a criminal investigation and in the decision by Arbour and every ICTR prosecutor ever since to protect Kagame and the others involved from prosecution.
Obote-Odora also ignores the radio intercept that was produced in evidence in both the Military I and Military II trials; the radio intercept of a message from Kagame to his forces in the field that his forces had hit the plane and that they would be successful in the offensive launched that same night and that they had the help of the Belgians.
He also ignores both the very extensive and thorough French and Spanish investigations that also determined that the RPF had shot down the plane, the testimony of significant witnesses like Colonel Marchal (commander of the Kigali UN forces) and Colonel Vincent, Belgian intelligence officer that there was no doubt the RPF shot down the plane; the statements by a number of leading RPF officers from Jean Pierre Mugabe, chief of RPA intelligence that the RPF shot down the plane, Theogene Rudasingwa, Nyamwasa and so on and on.
The prosecutors at the ICTR have made a political decision to give complete immunity to Kagame and the RPF for their crimes and as a result they have been granted impunity to commit the terrible war crimes in Rwandan and Congo since, because they know they can get away with it.
The testimony of all the diplomatic and UN witnesses in the Military II trial was that only the RPF opposed the Arusha Accords and only they had the motive to shoot down the plane and murder the president of Rwanda and the president of Burundi.
Those who obstruct justice are as complicit in the crimes of the actors as those who commit the crime; they are accessories after the fact. It is unfortunate that Mr. Obote-Odora keeps trying to justify the crimes of his bosses by denying what everyone knows: the RPF shot down the pane on Kagame's orders and he had lots of help from the west and the UN itself.
* Christopher Black was Lead Counsel to General Ndindilyimana (acquitted on all counts), Chief of Staff, Rwanda Gendarmerie, Military II case, ICTR. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada