Special Page Peace Conference in the Hague - 26 April 2008

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Rwandans discuss peace Page

Rwandans discuss peace in The Hague - 26 April 2008 from olny.nl on Vimeo.

Hundreds of Rwandans met on Saturday 26 April in the Dutch Capital the Hague to talk of Peace in their country. I should rather say to talk of peaces as the notion of peace is viewed differently by the Hutu and Tutsi communities.

On the one hand, Hutus from all over Europe and a number of Europeans, were patiently and silently queuing in front of the ICJ, where a heavy police presence could be seen.

On the other hand were Tutsi protestors, who were having banners announcing that the Peace Palace, the seat of the UN Court of Justice was not appropriate for the Peace Conference. Unfortunately, protestors refused to answer my questions, preferring to direct me to their leader who had their official message.

Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda was the key speaker of the day

The public was given a chance to ask questions, even though many of them remained unanswered.

Among other key speakers was Rober Krueger, former Senator who served as US Ambassador to Burundi from 1994 to 1995. Kruger said that bringing president Kagame and other criminals to court would lead nowhere. What I want from him is confession, he said.

Belgian Christian de Beule, founder of SOS Rwanda-Burundi and Dutch Labour Party MP Chantal Gillard also spoke, both emphasizing the need for peace, justice and reconciliation in the Great Lakes Region.

The reality at this moment is that some Rwandans think they have made a giant step towards justice inside the symbolic premises of the International Court of Justice, while others, looking from a distance, think it was a profanation of that temple of international justice.

The April 26 conference proves once again that Rwanda, as professor Mahmood Mamdani said, is sitting on a simmering volcano that can blow up again at any time.

Interview with Paul Rusesabagina

Interview with Paul Rusesabagina -The Hague 26 April 2008 from olny.nl on Vimeo.

At least 400 Rwandans and non-Rwandans gathered on Saturday 26 April in the Hague-based UN Court of Justice to talk of Peace in the Great Lakes Region. Despite a fierce opposition of the government of Rwanda and Tutsi diaspora organisations, the conference took place without any incident.

Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollowood Academy Award winning film Hotel Rwanda, addressed the public and informed them of the solutions his foundation is suggesting to heal Rwanda.

In this interview, Rusesabagina talks about the conflict between him and president Paul Kagame who calls him a Hollywood-fabricated hero, and about his political rights and an eventual role he might play in Rwanda. He also clarifies his position regarding the FDLR and expressed concerns about his safity

Interview with Ambassador Robert Krueger

Interview with Ambassador Robert Krueger- The Hague 26 April 2006 from olny.nl on Vimeo.

Dr. Robert Krueger is a former US senator and Ambassador to Burundi where he served between 1994 and 1995.

He was among the key speakers of the 26 April 2008 International Conference on peace in the Great Lakes Region. In his address to about 400 people, Krueger said that he was a fervent supporter of a truth and reconciliation commission in Rwanda.

He added that he did not believe that bringing criminals to justice would bring peace to Rwanda. Admitting that his position was not supported by many, he said that taking president Paul Kagame to court would not solve the issue. “What I want is to see him confess”, he said.

In this interview, Krueger says that Rwanda’s ambassador to the US had accused him and Paul Rusesabagina of buying arms in South Africa for Rwandan rebels, FDLR, based in the DR Congo. He denies these allegations.

Interview with Dutch MP Chantal Gill'ard

Interview with Dutch MP Chantal Gill'ard- The Hague 26 April 2008 from olny.nl on Vimeo.

Chantal Gill'ard is member of the Dutch Labour Party PvdA. She is the spokesperson of the Dutch parliament’s development cooperation commission. She was one of the speakers at the International conference on peace in the Great Lakes Region.

In her address, Gill’ard emphasized the need for mankind to go beyond differences to form one human race.

Gill’ard also told the audience that some people had requested her not to attend the conference. She rejected the request, saying she would attend any other conference those people would organise on the same subject.

In this interview, she explains the reason why and how her country is granting 17 million euro to Rwanda.

She also commented on Hotel Rwanda and condemned Rwanda’s hostility to that film. However, she encouraged the announced film project aimed at destroying Hotel Rwanda, provided that Rwanda has no hand in it.

Interview with Charles Ndereyehe

Interview with Charles Ndereyehe - The Hague 26 April 2008 from olny.nl on Vimeo.

Charles Ndereyehe is an agronomist who entered politics in the mid-1990 in eastern DR-Congo. He was then among the senior leaders of the Hutu opposition movement known as Rassemblement pour le Retour et la Démocratie (RDR).

He currently live in the Netherlands and is still active within another umbrella body known as Forces Démocratiques Unies.

I met him in The Hague on 26 April 2008 during the international conference on pace in the Great Lakes region. I asked him about his current political activities, his views on the FDLR and on the current situation in Rwanda.