It is absurd and contrary to the principles of Human Rights Watch for Mr. Albert to say in the New Times of 14/09/12 that Human Rights Watch hates Rwanda because of what he calls another damning report accusing Rwanda, alongside the M23 mutineers, of a “horrific trail of new atrocities in Eastern Congo” defined as large-scale war crimes. Unfortunately Mr. Albert is ignoring or is misinformed on how Human Rights groups work, Human Rights groups expose the human rights violations by the governments and for his information they are never friendly with sitting governments especially in Africa because they always expose their wrongs.
While in developed world Human Rights groups are regarded as partners, in developing World and to certain extent backward nations like ours (Rwanda), are regarded as enemies. Is Mr. Albert forgetting the good job Ms Alison Des Forges did in our country during genocide? Is he aware of the sacrifice this lady gave to Rwanda by standing firm against the regime of Habyarimana? During that period the RPF movement praised her as a heroine. But when this lady started to demand human rights accountability from Kagme, the whole RPF apparatus turned against her and they started accusing her of hating Rwanda?
Is this the same hate Mr. Albert is trying to feed his readers in the New Times? To my understanding, Mr. Albert is not differentiating the State and the government. A government is a group of people who control a state at a given time, While a State is a political and geographical entity. Does Mr. Albert trying to inform the readers of New Times that when any human right group exposes the killings, disappearances of innocent people done by any government mean hating the country?
Alison Des Forges Des, who was senior adviser to Human Rights Watch’s Africa division for almost two decades before her death, dedicated her life to working on Rwanda and was the world’s leading expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide and its aftermath. Dr Alison Des Forges was very instrumental of course through her Human Rights Watch to be among the first to highlight the ethnic tensions that led to the genocide, and when it happened and the world stood by and watched, Alison did everything humanly possible to save people in Rwanda. Alison Des Forges wrote the definitive account on the genocide that was taking place in Rwanda since 1990-1994 and it’s believed she knew more on Rwanda than any other western person and did more to document the genocide and to help to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Alison Des Forges was best known for her award-winning account of the genocide, “Leave None to Tell the Story,” and won a MacArthur Award (the “Genius Grant”) in 1999. She appeared as an expert witness in 11 trials for genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, three trials in Belgium, and at trials in Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Canada. She also provided documents and other assistance in judicial proceedings involving genocide in four other national jurisdictions, including the United States all in the name of giving back the human beings and Rwandans in particular the dignity deprived of them by genocide governments.
Why Alison fell apart with the RPF Government?
Single handedly and courageously, Des Forges made herself unpopular in Rwanda by insisting that the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front forces, which defeated the genocidal regime, should also be held to account for their crimes, including the murder of 30,000 people during and just after the genocide. The Rwandan government banned her from the country in 2008 after Human Rights Watch published an extensive analysis of judicial reform there, drawing attention to problems of inappropriate prosecution and external influence on the judiciary that resulted in trials and verdicts that in several cases failed to conform to facts of the cases and many conducted just to settle the political scores of the political opponents or those perceived to be.
The above testimony was not well received by the RPF regime and unfortunately by the big powers of the west and this made her unpopular, especially in the United States and in Britain. While the RPF regime and their backers the West hated her for her professionalism and impartiality, the office of the prosecutor in Arusha Tanzania relied on Alison as an expert witness to bring context and background and detailed knowledge of the Rwandan genocide, Many countries in Europe sought her expertise again and again on cases unfolding in their courts of individuals facing deportation, or on trial for alleged involvement in the Rwandan genocide.
The death of Dr Alison De Forges did not only rob the Human Rights Watch or her family a professional person but also the human race which she served with integrity and dedicated her life to the human dignity, the Rwandan community and the Great Lakes Region as a whole. At the time of her death, she had started working on a Human Rights Watch report about killings in eastern Congo by different armed groups, and their backers (Rwanda).
It is for this reason that Mr. Albert and his pay master are trying to hide their crimes by accusing the Human Rights Watch of being a Puppet , a puppet for who? It is evident that Human Rights groups are not popular in many countries which are known for gross human rights violations, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Dr Alison Des Forges and human rights watch are admired and loved by many Rwandans but hated by authoritarian regimes and dictators like Mr. Kagame and their proxies.

Jacqueline Umurungi