Stephen Lewis, a member of the OAU panel that did the report. He is the former Canadian ambassador to the U.N. and a former UNICEF official. He joins from Winnipeg, Canada.
Joseph Mutaboba, Rwanda’s ambassador to the United Nations.
David Scheffer, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, joining us from the State Department in Washington, D.C.
An independent panel commissioned by the Organization of African Unity charged this weekend that the United States, France and Belgium, as well as the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, actively prevented peacekeepers from moving in to stop the mass killing of as many as 800,000 Rwandans in 1994. It concluded that the three governments should provide "a significant level of reparations" to the Central African country.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: You are listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman.
An independent panel commissioned by the Organization of African Unity charged this weekend that the United States, France and Belgium, as well as the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, turned a blind eye to the mass killing of as many as 800,000 Rwandans in 1994. It concluded that the three governments should provide "a significant level of reparations" to the Central African country.
The 318-page report challenged President Clinton’s claim that the United States’ failure to act in Rwanda was due to ignorance of the extent of the atrocities unfolding there. And it accuses Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who represented the United States in the U.N. Security Council at the time, of using "stalling tactics" to prevent a military rescue mission. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher responded to the report by saying that Clinton and Albright have already voiced contrition for U.S. inaction. He declined to comment on the call for reparations.
Washington’s refusal to label what was happening in Rwanda "genocide" has been questioned for years. In June 1994 at a State Department press briefing, spokesperson Christine Shelley was asked how careful the State Department was not to say outright genocide.
CHRISTINE SHELLEY: As to the distinctions between the words, we’re trying to call what we have seen so far, as best as we can, and based, again, on the evidence, we have every reason to believe that acts of genocide have occurred.
ALAN ELSNER: How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?
CHRISTINE SHELLEY: Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer.
ALAN ELSNER: Is it true that you have specific guidance not use the word "genocide" in isolation, but always to preface it with this—this word, "acts of"?
CHRISTINE SHELLEY: I have guidance, which—to which I—which I try to use as best as I can. I’m not—I have—there are formulations that we are using.
AMY GOODMAN: That was State Department spokesperson Christine Shelley back in 1994. Well, the seven-member panel called on U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to identify the countries that should pay reparations and to develop a plan to rebuild Rwanda, one of the world’s poorest countries. It also recommends that Rwanda’s foreign debt, amassed by the former government that carried out the genocide, should be canceled in full.
We’re joined right now by three people to discuss the findings of this report. Ambassador Stephen Lewis is with us, a member of the Organization of African Unity panel that did the report. He’s the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and a former UNICEF official. Ambassador Joseph Mutaboba is with us. He’s Rwanda’s ambassador to the United Nations. And Ambassador David Scheffer joins us from the State Department, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes.
We’re going to begin with Ambassador Stephen Lewis, who is part of the Organization of African Unity panel that put out this report. Can you summarize your findings?
STEPHEN LEWIS: Well, you’ve summarized them not badly yourself, Amy. I guess the first thing that must obviously be said is that if there hadn’t been a fanatical and diabolical conspiracy on the part of some of the Hutu leadership to annihilate the Tutsi, the genocide would never have happened. And if the surrounding African countries, in the period prior to the genocide in ’94, had been successful in handling the peace process, if it had been brought to a conclusion which could have prevented the genocide, then things would obviously never have happened or unfolded as they did. But everybody at the time made the same dreadful error in judgment: They thought that the civil war that was then raging in Rwanda was the problem, when in fact the problem was the genocide that was raging in Rwanda.
We called our report "The Preventable Genocide." We called it "The Preventable Genocide" because the evidence—and I want to emphasize this—tremendous mounds of evidence and testimony, drove us irresistibly to the conclusion that the genocide could have been stopped before it started, particularly by the French government, which had intimate and inextricable relationships with the former government of Rwanda, had tremendous influence, and chose never to exert it. It could have been stopped before and during the genocide by the government of the United States, had they been willing to permit a major intervention, a major U.N. intervention force in Rwanda, as the head of the then-U.N. force was desperately pleading for, and all his pleas fell on deaf ears.
The sadness of hearing that quote from the State Department official that you just played in June of '94 is that by that time fully half a million people were dead, and there was no question for the world that a genocide was occurring. And that was such a quintessential quote because it captures exactly the U.S. position: They spent the entire period of the genocide pretending that it wasn't happening and preventing the United Nations from making a major intervention.
And unfortunately, the U.N. secretariat didn’t act or didn’t mobilize itself as vigorously as it should, so that, in a sense, all of those who could have stopped the genocide, including the church, which was close to Hutu power, including the Belgians, who pulled their troops out at the moment their peacekeepers were killed in the first 24 hours, just as the United States had left Somalia in a similar situation—everything conspired to make or to permit the genocide to happen, which is one of the great tragedies in the last decade of the 20th century.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain how long did the genocide take and exactly how many people—of course, you don’t know exactly—died.
STEPHEN LEWIS: Well, the genocide took roughly 100 days. It went from April the 6th, 1994, to the middle of July 1994. And I think the estimates—and again, these figures, because they’re human beings, are more than the mind can absorb, but it ranges from half a million to 800,000 on the basis of all the most authentic material. I just want to emphasize that although there may have been no moment precisely in time when you could say a group of people got together to plan the genocide, the unfolding of events, the reports of the catastrophe that was looming, what all of the capitals of the world knew—Washington, Brussels, Paris—because their diplomats were sending back the information—it was a little, incestuous diplomatic community in Kigali. They shared everything. What you learned Tuesday morning, you knew by Tuesday night. The complete abandonment of Rwanda at the point when its people were being exterminated is simply something that is unbearable, Amy. I don’t know how to deal with it simply in a conversation.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Ambassador Stephen Lewis, formerly the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations. What about, specifically, Madeleine Albright and her role—now Secretary of State here in the United States, of course then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?
STEPHEN LEWIS: Amy, Ambassador Albright, in response to the report, has said that she thought the report was inaccurate in its depiction of the United States. I have never felt so certain about a position in my—in a life of feeling certain about positions. I think the evidence is just overwhelming. It’s quoted chapter and verse in the report. Madeleine Albright said that she has apologized and expressed remorse, as has President Clinton. That’s fair enough, although apologies are by no means enough. Both President Clinton and Madeleine Albright say that they were largely ignorant of what was happening. I don’t—forgive me, I don’t think that’s accurate.
Madeleine Albright has said that it would be impossible to get U.N. troops in fast enough, things were unfolding too quickly. Amy, within 48 hours, there were between one and two thousand foreign troops in Kigali, 48 hours of the massacre’s beginning, because they wanted to evacuate their foreign nationals. When France decided to go to the southwest quadrant of Rwanda at the end of the genocide with its so-called Operation Turquoise, it took them 48 hours to get their troops there with a full U.N. Security Council mandate. It’s just poppycock to pretend that you can’t move troops around quickly and in large numbers when the industrial world decides it wants to do so.
Finally, Madeleine Albright says she was screaming about the way in which the Americans were mishandling the genocide; she thought their policies were wrong. Now here I have great trouble. If the screaming went on in Washington, I want to tell you it was absolutely inaudible in the rest of the world. Madeleine Albright, with a zeal which was virtually supernatural, pursued the mandate of preventing the U.N. from entering Rwanda in large numbers. She did it with a determined, methodical prosecution of her brief, in a way—I was an ambassador at the U.N.—in a way few ambassadors do. I would have thought that there comes a point in the life of a public servant, of a diplomat, where if you know that the results of your government’s inaction would mean the death of half a million to 800,000 people, which became early and clearly evident, then either you resign, as a matter of principle, or you yell from the rooftops. You don’t share the animus of your views quietly in the corridors of Washington. And that’s what disturbed the panel about Madeleine Albright.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador David Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, joining us from the State Department, your response to Ambassador Stephen Lewis and this scathing OAU report?
DAVID SCHEFFER: Well, first, let me say that in late 1997 it was Madeleine Albright who, then newly appointed as secretary of state, actually called for the creation of this OAU group of eminent personalities. So she has strongly supported, from the very beginning, this very study. And we have looked forward to its release for quite some time.
What I find a little surprising is that—I’m somewhat surprised at the presumptions that Ambassador Lewis reflects in his comments and which are also reflected in portions of the report. A large part of the report is actually quite good. But it does leap to assumptions about the intentions of policymakers and the intentions of decisions by governments, which we certainly consider to be unwarranted with respect to the United States government. So that’s—that’s a serious flaw in the report, are those presumptions.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I’m going to—
DAVID SCHEFFER: You know, we had—we had this group in Washington for a couple of days, and I remember spending a considerable amount of time with them and working through, almost on a week-by-week basis, what occurred during the genocide, as well as the weeks prior to it. And it’s unfortunate that I find almost none of the perspectives that we provided the group in this report. If those perspectives had been recorded, then the report, I think, would have been much more accurate with respect to what actually occurred.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador David Scheffer, we have to break for stations to identify themselves, but you can continue with your response after that break. We’re talking about the report that has just come out from a panel of eminent personalities, as they’re called, of the Organization of African Unity on the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when at least 800,000 people died in a hundred days. You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! Back in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! The Exception to the Rulers. I’m Amy Goodman, as we talk about the report just released from an Organization of African Unity panel on the Rwandan genocide of 1994, particularly focusing on the role of the United States, France, the Catholic and Anglican churches, in that genocide. We’re joined by three ambassadors: Ambassador Stephen Lewis, formerly the Canadian ambassador to the U.N., who was part of the group of people who did the report; Ambassador Joseph Mutaboba will be joining us in just a minute, Rwanda’s ambassador to the United Nations; and Ambassador David Scheffer is with us from the State Department, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes. You were criticizing the report, Ambassador Scheffer, for—as you talked about the discussion of intentions. But what about the U.S. government stopping the Security Council from authorizing a peacekeeping force from moving into Rwanda before the genocide?
DAVID SCHEFFER: Well, we have acknowledged that during those first two weeks of the genocide, we had two very clear priorities. And we’ve always—you know, we’ve described this as our conventional response to an unconventional crisis, and we’ve learned lessons from that. But the conventional response was, first, get all Americans out of there, and secondly, protect the peacekeepers themselves. And if that means actually removing the peacekeepers, then—given the fact that the donor countries were demanding that they be removed, then we had to respond to that, particularly Belgium’s demand that its peacekeepers be removed.
We were also very closely in contact with the secretary-general and with Kofi Annan, who at that time was head of the peacekeeping operations. And I can assure you that in those early weeks, we were so closely in contact with them that the actions that we were taking in the Security Council very much reflected their thinking. Now, it did occur that when we took the step—I guess in about the second week or so of the genocide—to propose, you know, withdrawing the entire peacekeeping force because of the violence that was erupting—and it did not have a mandate to deal with that violence, nor the training to do so—that it encountered dissent within—by some members of the council. So we put our proposals aside, we sat down with the members, and we started working, along with the secretary-general, on how to keep a peacekeeping force there in a manner that was going to be acceptable to the membership of the Security Council.
So, you know, when we look back at how we acted at that time, it’s clear in hindsight that it would have been preferable to have perhaps acted in a somewhat different way to try to shore up the peacekeeping effort with forces that in fact could take on that kind of mandate under those circumstances more quickly than was the result. But at the time, and under the circumstances at the time, we were dealing with a lot of recommendations coming from the donor countries themselves, from the secretary-general, from the head of peacekeeping operations, and also we were dealing with—with, you know, what we ourselves were capable of doing on a short notice.
I think we’ve learned from the experience two major things. First, that when there is a lot of mass killing unfolding, you have to consider dynamic military options much more quickly than we did so at that time. We acknowledge that. We have to act more quickly to consider how to respond militarily in real time in an unconventional crisis, as opposed to sort of a conventional, as Ambassador Lewis said, civil war scenario.
Secondly, there’s been a tremendous amount of misrepresentation and confusion about the use of the word "genocide" by the U.S. government. And this tape from June is a classic tape, and we’ve often talked about it. She did say "acts of genocide," and, you know, in retrospect, we should have clarified with the spokeswoman, you know, acts of genocide is genocide; don’t try to fudge the distinction. But at the time, we just didn’t get that clarified. We were very, very prepared, as of mid-May, to take the position that genocide was occurring in Rwanda. We made that decision internally, and then our spokespeople were instructed to that effect, but it just got a little bungled in the way it was actually delivered when actually asked by the press.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me ask Ambassador Stephen Lewis: Do you think it was bungled, or do you think that that was deliberate because to say the actual word "genocide" without the qualified "acts of" would trigger a process that would mean peacekeepers moving in? Ambassador Lewis?
STEPHEN LEWIS: Oh, I’m sorry. Somebody had knocked on my door, and I got distracted for a second. I was inclined to think that—nobody knew whether the Genocide Convention could be triggered at any point. It was always said that the United States was faintly uncomfortable, that if it got—if it admitted to genocide, then certain obligations would follow. I’m not sure that the Genocide Convention imposes those obligations, except in a moral sense. But I must say that it’s a little difficult for me—forgive my incredulity—it’s a little difficult for me to believe that in the middle of—well, I believe it, but just to apply it—that in the middle of May you come to a conclusion that you’re in the middle of a genocide, and your spokespeople in June, the next month, are still using "acts of genocide" in a way which is clearly so uncomfortable that they become a laughingstock. So there was something wrong, generally, with the way in which the United States responded to this.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me bring in Rwanda’s ambassador to the United Nations, Joseph Mutaboba. At the time, in 1994, where were you, Ambassador?
JOSEPH MUTABOBA: At the time, I was in London. But at the height of the genocide in the months of May and June, I was at the border between Burundi and Rwanda, trying to [inaudible] for those who had survived, having the prime—primary information, information from those who had just survived from the genocide. So I was operating from Burundi, and I went back to London. [inaudible] it’s a kind of a—
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Mutaboba, what is your response to the report?
JOSEPH MUTABOBA: Well, and then, this report is, yet again, another report. But the difference it has with the previous ones—and I’m talking of the report from Belgium, the one from France, and the latest, which was the Carlsson Report—the difference to them, with them and from them, is that it goes to the point. It goes to the point and clearly dares to call a spade a spade. When I look at the—for example, the responsibilities as they are expressed, they put more weight at condemning the Security Council, which was not done in clear terms by the previous reports. And I find it to be a very positive kind of a move to do so, because, for the time being, as you know, people have tended to be more apologetic, rather than accepting facts. And here, there’s no speculation to be made, because we are talking of facts. What Ambassador Lewis just described a few minutes ago in what the leadership was saying is exactly the facts.
So, if the—if Washington, for example, failed to use the word "genocide" in time, and yet they had diplomats in town, actually, if in the Security Council they failed to stop the ambassador, the ambassador from Rwanda, who was sitting there, trying to convince and lobby, as you know, not to use the word "genocide," that’s a big mistake. In the same time, all the forces which were on the ground—French, Americans, Belgians—would not stop and say on the radio, RTLM. So all these are facts. So you cannot speculate and [inaudible] from what happened. That would be such a blind—what do you call this? A blind amnesty, I would say. But I’m not witch hunting here. I was just trying to say that the facts are there. They speak for themselves. There’s nothing new as far as the report is concerned. It is telling us exactly what we said before, but the world would not believe that this is how it happened. So that’s what I see as a kind of strong point of the report.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Stephen Lewis, the OAU report also criticizes the current government of Rwanda, which Ambassador Mutaboba represents. What were your concerns about its role?
STEPHEN LEWIS: Our concerns were the potential for human rights violations. There had been many accusations about the government of Rwanda. We talked about this very, very frankly in Rwanda. We met with then-Vice President Kagame and the president and members of the Cabinet, and we had two very, very extensive discussions where we were very, very frank as a panel in saying to them there are strong allegations of human rights violations at two points in time—one when the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the current government, as it were, invaded Rwanda from Uganda in October of 1990 and moved south through the country, engaged in this civil war and then in attempting to prevent the genocide; and then, after the huge refugee exodus into what was then Zaire, and Rwanda, the present government of Rwanda, in tracking down the génocidaires, in attempting to disarm the refugee camps, was also accused of engaging in human rights violations, quite massive on occasion, in those—in those efforts.
Now, we looked again at all of the reports of the international human rights bodies. We looked at all of the material that we could get our hands on from within the secretariat. We talked to the United Nations High Commission on Refugee people. We did everything we could to ascertain, from the literature and from direct evidence, what we thought was the most honest finding. And we said—and we were brokenhearted to have to say it, because you don’t want to have to say it—that we found very real evidence of major human rights violations on the part of the present government of Rwanda, particularly post-genocide in the Kivus and in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, let me say that the panel understands that until Rwanda’s borders are secure, there will always be these depredations. And another terrible failure of the international community was the failure to disarm the refugee camps in the then-Zaire, because it was an invitation to the génocidaires to continue to attack Rwanda from the base within the now-Congo. So we know that has to be resolved. That’s still what’s plaguing the whole Great Lakes region. But we did identify human rights violations in the process, and we felt we had to say so, because we weren’t going to write a report which wasn’t driven to conclusions by the evidence.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Mutaboba, your response? Ambassador of—
JOSEPH MUTABOBA: Well, here, I have no intention of going onto the defensive. But to come back to the point Ambassador Lewis made, that if you look back at what happened, the chronological events that occurred during the time of the aggression of Rwanda, during the genocide and after genocide, it is very evident that Rwanda, and the RPF especially, had been left to themselves. There was no—some kind of assistance whatsoever, as far as the stopping of the massacre, everything that was going on.
So, when we stopped the genocide in July 1994, and the forces of the Habyarimana regime crossed into Congo, we said it clearly. We said, "Look, you have all these evil forces crossing into a foreign territory," armed as they were, and trained as they went to be, and it resembled—the evidence showed afterwards, we all said, "You are simply just sitting on a bombshell." So, what happened later on and what is happening even today proved us right. We were right to say, and we were right to call on the entire international community, including the Security Council, to say, "Please make sure that you stop this train of events. You have the killers who are still at large, who are still killing, who are still planning to kill more. Do something." Nothing was done. And when we stopped it ourselves in 1996, you know and everyone knows how many aggressions we had against us—by human rights organizations, by some European countries, and any other bodies you can think of. You have that on the record. And I find this to be rather a kind of a double standard. Here you are, the international community says all along "failed Rwanda" and it will help us to find a solution.
And in the path—on the path of finding that solution, of course, we are not saying that our citizens were sinned, as war can be. It’s impossible to say that, especially when they were fighting with the whole population. The population was armed, the civilians. In their army, the militia, there are some who had police uniforms on, and some who did not have any on and still were armed. So how do you decide between who is the fighter, who’s not? So, in the course of events, it is true, and we regret, that many people, their lives have been lost. But we cannot take to the systematic violations—intended violations of human rights. That would be wrong. And I wish that everybody could come back with one sentence and judge the situation from facts and then from security.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you calling for—are you calling for reparations, Ambassador Mutaboba?
JOSEPH MUTABOBA: Well, I think I have already lost my voice many time in the—many times in the U.N. and everywhere else. And my fellow countrymen and the government said the same. We think that in the wake of what happened in Rwanda, the world should put their hands on their hearts and say, "We went wrong. We were wrong," without their being defensive. "What can we do now? We cannot dwell on the past for long, for a long time. What can we do for that country to rebuild itself? What can we do to help that country—the government to stop cutting itself in 10 pieces and so on? Whatever we can do to help." That would be heard. That’s what [inaudible] says to what to do in the future. And what can we do to change the way the [inaudible] works? Yeah, you don’t seem to have learned any lessons.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Stephen Lewis, in the recommendations, you call for reparations. Exactly what?
STEPHEN LEWIS: What we were suggesting, we mentioned the experience of Germany after the Second World War. We were using that simply as a way of looking at how the reparations might be cast. We asked the secretary-general to see if he couldn’t devise a formula. And there is a document on recommendation—on reparations, which ironically just went to the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. a few months ago, a document on which a formula might be based.
Our call for reparations is really for money that would go to rebuilding the economic and social infrastructure of Rwandan society, of reparations that would apply to the state as a whole. Rwanda itself has established a fund for the survivors, to which it contributes 5 percent of its very small budget and to which I think other countries in the world who were in part responsible for observing the genocide and doing nothing—other countries should contribute to that survivors’ fund, because that goes directly to the people affected. But our call for reparations, as such, was a broader call modeled on the kind of pattern of the money that Germany paid to Israel at the end of the war as a way of rebuilding the entire society rather than identifying the money on the basis of individual people.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to get the response of Ambassador David Scheffer to the call for reparations, but we do have to break, and we’ll do that when we come back. Then we’re going to look at the Middle East peace summit taking place in Camp David, Maryland. You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! We’re speaking to Ambassador Stephen Lewis, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, now member of the OAU panel that did the report on the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Also, Rwanda’s Ambassador Joseph Mutaboba is with us, the ambassador to the United Nations. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, as we wrap up this discussion of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, where 800,000 to a million people died in a 100-day period. We’re talking to one of the authors of that report, Ambassador Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, also a former high-level UNICEF official; Ambassador Joseph Mutaboba, Rwanda’s ambassador to the United Nations; and Ambassador David Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, speaking to us from the State Department. What about this call for reparations, Ambassador Scheffer?
DAVID SCHEFFER: Well, unfortunately, it’s an erroneous use of the word "reparations." Reparations has a long history in international law, and it particularly refers to payments that are due when there has been a violation of the laws of war. That’s how it started almost a century ago. And, of course, reparations were required of Germany after World War I and after World War II. But it relates, essentially, to the state responsibility—or, with particular emphasis on individuals, criminal responsibility—for violations of the laws of war. That’s not what is at issue in Rwanda. And the presumption that pervades in parts of this report that somehow there was actually a conspiracy on the part of governments to fuel the genocide, that there was, as Ambassador Lewis said—he said "pretending that it wasn’t happening"—all of that is so far off the mark that when you talk about how to recover from the genocide, talking about reparations from foreign governments is simply an inaccurate terminology. I think we would have been very comfortable if that whole section of the report that focuses on reparations would have recast it as the responsibility of governments to provide levels of foreign assistance to Rwanda to help it rebuild its society.
And the United States, we wish we could be providing more money than we do to Rwanda, but we do provide a fair amount of foreign assistance to Rwanda. We’ve been one of the major, if not the major foreign contributor to the survivors’ fund that was mentioned by Ambassador Lewis. And we have many other programs that impact Rwanda that we’re providing financial support for. But I think a report like this can highlight the need to rebuild a society, to help the victims, to ensure that they can restore their lives. And that’s accomplished, under these circumstances, with increased foreign assistance. But reparations is a totally inaccurate term.
STEPHEN LEWIS: Amy, if I may, very quickly?
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Lewis?
STEPHEN LEWIS: A slight smile was forming at the edge of my lips as I thought perhaps Ambassador Scheffer would be more comfortable if I had used the phrase "acts of reparations." The fact of the matter is that we don’t have to get into a kind of arcane legal acumen here. The truth is that the meaning of our words were clear. Whether it is expressed by way of foreign assistance or whether it is expressed by way of a special levy on those countries who can afford it, what is clear in the report is that the use of the word "reparations" is meant to compensate Rwanda for the grievous harm that was done when the world community failed to intervene as they might have intervened. I don’t want to get into an argument with David Scheffer, but there has been an extraordinary amount of historical revisionism about what took place during that genocide.
And I want to just leave you, Amy, with one point. On May the 17th, in the middle of the genocide, the Security Council voted to set up what they called UNAMIR II, the second U.N. peacekeeping operation, with 5,500 men and a significant additional amount of armament and armored personnel carriers, 50 in total. The United States, and the United States alone, was able to provide those carriers, and the world witnessed a most extraordinary phenomenon of deciding what symbol should go on those carriers, what they should be painted, how they would get there, how the men would get there. And from May the 17th 'til the end of the genocide, Amy, in the middle of July, not a single additional piece of equipment got to Rwanda. Not one single additional U.N. peacekeeper got to Rwanda. For two months, the world stalled. And grievously, unhappily, that stalling was led by the United States. Those are historical facts. I don't even like saying them, but they’re all on the record. And I think a country with as much power and force and, at many times in its history, the moral legitimacy of the United States has to recognize that it has a lot to answer for.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, on that note, we have to wrap up, because we’re moving on to the Middle East summit that is taking place now at Camp David. Our guests, three ambassadors, thank you for being with us, Ambassador Stephen Lewis, a member of the Organization of African Unity panel that put out the report; Ambassador Joseph Mutaboba, Rwanda’s ambassador to the United Nations; and Ambassador David Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, speaking to us from the State Department. If you want to get a hold of this more than 300-page report, you can go to the web at www.oau-oua.org. That’s www.oau-oua.org.
Recent Shows More
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to
democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions,