Document - Amnesty International News, May 1995. Vol.25, No.5.
AI NEWSLETTER MAY 1995
A former Argentinian naval officer has spoken out about the deaths of hundreds of people who "disappeared" during the years of Argentina's military rule.
Captain Adolfo Francisco Scilingo said that detainees held at the Naval School of Mechanics (ESMA) were sedated, stripped naked and thrown from aircraft into the sea. Captain Scilingo, who admitted taking part in two of these flights in navy aircraft, said that between 1,500 and 2,000 people were executed in this way.
Following his declaration, the lawyer of the families of two French nuns who "disappeared" during this period made a request to the Appeals Court to order the Argentine government to release the list of all detainees who had been held at ESMA during the years of the military government and whose whereabouts are still unknown. In its ruling on 20 March 1995, the Appeals Court notified the government to provide the list.
Since democracy was reinstated in 1983, the armed forces and security forces have claimed that police and military archives holding the lists were destroyed. On 22 March, the Minister of Defence replied to the Federal Court that the only lists available were those already published in the report of the Comisión Nacional Sobre Desaparición de Personas, the National Commission on Disappeared People, published in 1983.
AI believes that the relatives of the "disappeared" have an undeniable right to a full search for the truth and a public identification of those responsible. The organization has repeatedly stressed that a thorough investigation into mass exterminations in "secret camps" in Argentina during the 1970s and early 1980s is urgently required.
The human rights situation in Cambodia has deteriorated since the Royal Cambodian Government was elected in September 1993, and the positive human rights legacy left by the former United Nations administration is being steadily eroded.
Members of the police and the armed forces are committing acts of violence with impunity and the government itself is increasingly intolerant of criticism and legitimate opposition. Ethnic minorities in Cambodia, particularly the Vietnamese, suffer violent attacks without any hope of seeing their attackers brought to justice.
Some of the worst violations have been carried out by soldiers of the S-91 unit of the Royal Cambodian Army in Battambang Province, which has close connections with the higher ranks of the provincial military apparatus and the upper echelons of the government. Members of the unit have abducted, illegally detained, extorted, raped and murdered scores of civilians with impunity.
Yam Mouern, a 29-year-old labourer, was kidnapped by S-91 in 1993. He was beaten, threatened with death and forced to watch as another prisoner was shot dead. He was conscripted against his will and lost both arms and the sight in one eye when a landmine he was forced to lay exploded. His story represents the experiences of dozens of others. Yam Mouern eventually escaped in June 1994, but many others who shared similar experiences have been killed by S-91.
Despite having clear evidence of S-91's murderous activities, the Cambodian authorities appear to lack the political will and the ability to bring human rights violators to justice.
The government in Cambodia is systematically undermining freedom of expression, opinion and association. Newspapers publishing articles critical of official policies have been closed down. Journalists have been threatened and killed.
Under the editorship of Nuon Chan, the newspaper Samleng Yuvachen Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth) published articles about government officials allegedly involved in corruption. In September 1994 Nuon Chan was shot dead. A 29-year-old journalist, Chan Dara, was also killed after investigating an article on military involvement in the timber trade.
Human rights abuses are also being committed by the armed opposition group, the Partie of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge. These include deliberate and arbitrary killings and forced eviction.
AI condemns these abuses by the opposition unreservedly and is calling on the PDK to respect international humanitarian law. However, such abuses by non-governmental entities can never be used as a justification for governments to commit human rights violations.
AI is calling on the Cambodian Government to end impunity and bring human rights violators to justice, to protect the rights to freedom of expression and association, and to guarantee the rights of ethnic minority groups in Cambodia.
See Kingdom of Cambodia - Human rights and the new government, AI Index: ASA 23/02/95.
Ecuador: Detainees in Putumayo case were tortured
Ten Colombians and one Ecuadorian accused of being involved in the killing of 11 members of the Ecuadorian security forces were tortured.
The state prosecutor, who filed criminal charges against seven of the 11 and absolved the other four, the accused stated in a report that "those responsible for the torture... are members of the Ecuadorian army." The prosecutor sought to minimize the gravity of the treatment meted out to the accused by also stating that the victims were only "ill-treated", and that in any case further statements, obtained after the victims were transferred into the custody of the police-run Office of Crime Investigation (OID), were rendered "freely and voluntarily". However, AI has received compelling and credible evidence that the accused were also tortured in the OID headquarters in Quito, the capital. By the end of March, those responsible for the torture of the 11 victims had not been brought to justice.
The events which led to the accused being tortured began when, on 16 December 1993, a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a guerrilla group, ambushed an Ecuadorian patrol navigating the river Putumayo on the frontier between the two countries. Eleven members of the security forces were killed, some of them reportedly after being taken captive.
During the following few days, the Ecuadorian military detained some 30 people in connection with the attack, all of whom were reported to have been tortured or ill-treated. Nineteen of these were released almost immediately without charges and the other 11 were held in incommunicado detention for up to 10 days. Separate reports issued by official forensic doctors in January and February 1994 were subsequently used by the state prosecutor to reach his conclusion that the army was responsible for torturing the 11 detainees.
The 11 people who were tortured are: Juan Clímaco Cuéllar Lanza, Carlos Enrique Cuéllar Urapari, Harold Heberth Paz Payaguaje, José Otilio Quinayas Chichangana, Froilán Cuéllar Linares, Henry Machoa Payagnaje, Josué Bastidas Hernández, Alejandro Aguinda Lanza, Demetrio Pianda Machoa, Leonel Aguinda Urapari and Cármen Bolaños Mora, the only woman.
Last March, AI wrote to a judge who was to preside over a pre-trial hearing of the Putumayo case, reminding him that the use of statements obtained under torture is inadmissible under international human rights laws to which Ecuador is party. The organization has also called for those responsible for the torture to be brought to justice.
AI's Tunisian Section was banned from holding a Women's Day celebration in March, to mark the launch of the organization's campaign on women victims of human rights violations throughout the world.
This was the latest in a series of restrictions the government has placed on human rights defenders and their activities during the last two years. The authorities have systematically intercepted correspondence, blocked publications and other documents that are vital for AI's campaigning work worldwide, and banned public meetings.
In line with AI's working rules, the Tunisian Section plays no role in collecting information, writing reports or campaigning against human rights violations in its own country.
In December 1994 AI members in many countries launched a series of activities in solidarity with members in Tunisia, and in support of members in Egypt, whose Annual General Meeting had been banned by the government.
AI condemns the continuing harassment of its Tunisian section and has urged the Tunisian authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that members of AI in Tunisia are able to resume their human rights work fully and without restriction.
Prisoners in Mongolia are dying of starvation due to gross neglect, says an AI report published in April*. Overcrowded prisons, bad sanitation and shortages of clothing, drinking water and medical supplies are also contributing to illness and possibly death among prisoners.
According to official statistics, 90 people died in Mongolian prisons between autumn 1993 and autumn 1994. Although officials claim that between 15 and 30 of these of these were caused by starvation, AI believes the true figure to be higher.
Some prisoners are being deliberately starved while in custody in order to force confessions from them. There have been cases in which a prisoner who fails to confess under interrogation is put on a reduced ration, or given no food at all for several days, before being brought back for further interrogation. The majority of those who die are already starving when they come from pre-trial custody and their condition deteriorates further once they reach prison.
Many prisoners are starving because food supplies to Mongolian prisons are inadequate. Rations are not paid for directly by the state. The law requires all prisoners, except juveniles and those who are certified disabled, to work to pay for their food. With Mongolia's introduction of a market economy, however, prison economic enterprises are not always viable. When there is no work for prisoners they are unable to pay for food.
AI has called on the Mongolian authorities to amend the law which links prisoners' labour and the provision of food, and to provide all prisoners with adequate food and medical care. It has also made a number of recommendations which, while acknowledging that deliberate starvation in pre-trial detention is not officially condoned, aim to safeguard detainees against such inhumane practices.
AI is also concerned that the Mongolian Government uses the death penalty. It is continuing to call on the authorities to stop all executions and abolish capital punishment.
*See Mongolia: Prison Inmates Starve to Death, AI Index: ASA 30/02/95).
Women family members of executed army officers have been beaten up and threatened with rape and death following anti-government protests in Sudan.
The 28 women and their children held a small protest march in Khartoum, on 25 February 1994?? surely 1995. They dressed in white, the colour of mourning, and carried placards and photographs of their male relatives, who were accused of an attempted coup and summarily executed 24 hours after being arrested in April 1990.
The families meet each year to mark the anniversary of the executions, which happened on the 28th day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, to voice their protest and to demand official information on what happened to their husbands, sons and brothers. The authorities refused to release the bodies to the families and have not even told them where they are buried. Each year the women face harassment and arrest.
After walking a few hundred metres from the Presidential Palace to the University, handing out leaflets and protest poems, the women were confronted by security officials and police from the Ministry of Interior who are reported to have beaten them. An eye-witness said that policemen smashed the head of one of the women protestors, Wadid Hassan Ali Karrar, against a wall. Other women were cut and bruised.
Six women were arrested, among them Wadid's sister Samira, who the authorities appear to regard as the leader of the family protests. They were taken to security offices where they were verbally abused and hit. Samira was threatened with death.
After being forced to stand battered and bleeding in the sun, they were released in the evening with orders to report to the security offices the next day. On Sunday, they decided to defy the order.
The families met on the Monday evening, despite being told not to by security officials, but decided not to make speeches and hold other planned activities. Security police disrupted the gathering and ordered Samira and her sister to leave, before following them home in a vehicle. They remain under close security surveillance.
AI is calling on the Sudan Government to take immediate steps to prevent further abuses against the women and to respect their fundamental right to freedom of peaceful association and expression.
Subeh Salim 'Abd al-Hamid Surur (aged 51), 'Adel Subeh 'Abd al-Hamid Surur (aged 27), 'Ali Wasfi Harb (aged between 25 and 30) and 'Abd al-Majid 'Abdullah Qazzaz (age unknown) were arrested at their homes, in Amman, on 10 December 1994. They were charged with distributing leaflets for an illegal organization (the Liberation Party in Jordan (LPJ), and with insulting the King.
The four were tried by the State Security Court the day after their arrest, and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Their sentence was based on their confessions, in which they admitted to distributing leaflets. They did not deny these in court. According to reports, the judge stated that since they did not deny their confessions, they did not need a lawyer. The leaflet was entitled "King Hussein declares war on Islam" and criticized a speech he had made on 15 November 1994 for going beyond the beliefs of Islam and for siding with the enemy by making a peace treaty with Israel in October 1994.
AI considers these four men to be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned for their non-violent political activities, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release. The LPJ advocates the establishment of an Islamic state. AI has found no evidence to suggest that the LPJ or its members have used or advocated violence in pursuit of their aims and neither did the leaflet.
PLEASE WRITE TO His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, The Royal Palace, Amman, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Subeh Salim 'Abd al-Hamid Surur, 'Adel Subeh 'Abd al-Hamid Surur, 'Ali Wasfi Harb and 'Abd al-Majid 'Abdullah Qazzaz.
Khin Zaw Win was arrested while boarding a flight to Singapore at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar, on 4 July 1994. A qualified dentist, he had received a scholarship from the Singapore Government in June 1993 to study for a Masters' degree in Public Policy at the University of Singapore. His thesis topic was the political situation in Myanmar and he had returned home to carry out academic research.
Khin Zaw Win, also known as Kelvin, was sentenced on 6 October 1994 to a total of 15 years' imprisonment for "causing or intending to spread false news", "membership or contact with an illegal organization", and "possession or control of secret information". AI believes that he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for carrying out peaceful political activities critical of, or in opposition to, the Government of Myanmar, and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
At the time of his arrest Khin Zaw Win was believed to be carrying documents relating to the political opposition movement in Myanmar, with which he is known to have close links. He was initially taken to a Military Intelligence detention centre and then transferred to Insein Prison - Myanmar's main detention centre in Yangon.
Please write calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Khin Zaw Win, to: General Than Shwe, Chairman/State Law and Order Restoration Council/c/o Ministry of Defence/Signal Pagoda Road/Yangon/Union of Myanmar.
AI is profoundly dismayed that 27 prisoners of conscience were still imprisoned in Peru at the end of March 1995. They were unjustly sentenced, between 1992 and 1995, to up to 30 years' imprisonment for terrorism-related offences, following unfair trials. The organization is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.
AI believes that the 23 men and four women are all prisoners of conscience because there seems to be no credible evidence whatsoever of their having had any links to the armed opposition, and because the charges they faced appear to have been politically motivated. None of them has either used or advocated violence.
Since Peru's current anti-terrorism laws came into effect in May 1992, AI has adopted 72 prisoners of conscience -- 45 of whom were subsequently released after spending up to 30 months in jail. The organization has documented the cases of at least a further 400 prisoners in Peru who are reported to have been falsely accused of terrorism-related offences.
Please photocopy or cut out the following list of the prisoners' names and attach it to your letter or card, appealing for their immediate and unconditional release. Please send appeals to: Presidente Alberto Fujimori, Presidente de la República del Perú, Palacio de Gobierno, Plaza de Armas, Lima 1, PERU.
ALANIA OSORIO, Francisco; ÁLVAREZ PACHAS, José Antonio; AMBROSIO CONCHA, Marco Antonio; CASTIGLIONE MENDOZA, Jesús Alfonso; CRUZ FERNÁNDEZ, Ubildor; CHUCHÓN ZEA, Carlos; CHACÓN RODRÍGUEZ, Alfonso Rosely; DÍAZ BARBOZA, Oscar; ENCARNACIÓN NIETO, Filomeno Arturo; FORONDA FARRO, María Elena (f);
GUARINO GARRASI, María Gabriela (f); HERRERA GONZÁLEZ, Domiciano; JARA PAREDES, Celestino; LÓPEZ CURI, Liborio; MEDINA QUISPE, Nery Fermín; MOLERO COCA, Carlos Florentino; OCAMPO SALDAÑA, Mario; RIVERA GUERRERO, Hermes; SALCEDO PIZARRO, Pelagia (f); SÁNCHEZ GUTIÉRREZ, Juan Antonio; SOTO RODRÍGUEZ, Michael; SUMINA TACO, Fortunato;
TARAZONA TINOCO, Efraín Isidro; VALDÉZ BERNALES, Pedro;
VALQUI ZUTA, Euménides; VEGA VALLE, Pedro Telmo; ZUMAETA ARISTA, Victoria (f).
NEWS IN BRIEF
1) Charles Ombusu, 20, has become the first person to be sentenced to death in Papua New Guinea (PNG) since the death penalty was reintroduced in 1991. He was sentenced to hang for murder in an atmosphere of intense public debate over violent crime. Charles Ombusu's solicitor has lodged an appeal to the PNG Supreme Court. If he loses at the Supreme Court, he can appeal for a pardon to a constitutional committee which has the power to make a recommendation to the PNG Cabinet. Amnesty International is urging the Cabinet, and in particular Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, to commute the sentence.
2) Excessive use of force by Turkish police apparently led to the deaths of at least 20 demonstrators in Istanbul in mid-March. Violence erupted when police broke up a rally to protest about an earlier attack on a cafe by unidentified assailants. Those who were killed allegedly died from gunshot wounds sustained when police fired directly into the crowd. AI is calling on the Turkish Government to ensure that the deaths are thoroughly and impartially investigated.
3) A major conference on AI's campaigning work was held at the International Secretariat in London, in March. It was attended by 62 delegates from 36 countries. The discussion centred on how to coordinate and develop AI's campaigning in all regions of the world. From discussions at the meeting and within the IS we will finalize a set of standards for AI's campaigning work.
RWANDA FOCUS MANUSCRIPT - MAY NEWSLETTER
The entire world was shocked by the scale of the genocide and other crimes against humanity which occurred in Rwanda between April and July 1994. Officials of governments and intergovernmental organizations declared that those responsible, particularly members and supporters of the former government, who had planned, ordered or condoned the killings and human rights violations would have to be brought to justice. One year on, the political will and resources to ensure that this happens remain inadequate.
The people of Rwanda need justice. An estimated one million people have been massacred -- the victims and their relatives are still waiting for those responsible to be held to account. Assistance from the international community is needed to bring the perpetrators of mass murder, mutilation and rape to justice because the Rwandese judicial system has collapsed. But the international community is failing to mobilize the resources and expertise which were pledged when Rwanda was in the headlines and which are urgently required.
Thousands of people have been imprisoned by the current government without charge or trial. Some of these suspects are not the real culprits: they are held arbitrarily on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. Some, such as a 12-year-old boy held in Butare prison, in the south of the country, claim they are held in place of relatives accused of human rights crimes.
Unless the judicial system is rebuilt these people may languish in prison for a long time. Some have been tortured and many are held in secret detention centres in appalling conditions. The judiciary in Rwanda must be supported to ensure that the innocent are released and the guilty brought to trial. If the victims of the genocide do not see justice being done, they may prolong the current cycle of revenge and violence.
Most of the people who committed genocide and other crimes against humanity were supporters and members of the former government. Some of them have continued to commit abuses in refugee camps, particularly in Zaire and Tanzania. Neighbouring countries have a particular responsibility to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
Although on a far lesser scale, hundreds more people have been killed or "disappeared" since the present government came to power in July 1994. Many have been returning refugees or people living in camps for the displaced. The government has said it is holding some 400 soldiers accused of unlawful killings and other abuses carried out since July 1994. Few have been prosecuted.
The international community has betrayed the victims of crimes against humanity and has fallen short of the standards it has set for itself. It has effectively condoned impunity for mass murderers by failing to adequately investigate them. Although steps have been taken to set up the International Tribunal for Rwanda, this is not expected to try more than 20 suspects per year. The vast majority of cases will have to be investigated and prosecuted by the Rwandese judiciary.
To date, funding by governments and the efforts of intergovernmental bodies, such as the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, have been under-resourced and ineffective. It is time for the world to carry out it's commitment to see justice done.
By March 1995 23,000 people in Rwanda had been detained, most of them accused of involvement in the April to July 1994 massacres and other related crimes. From late 1994 to March 1995 100 persons or more were being arrested daily. In some prisons detainees, including women and children, are held in over crowded open air prison compounds. Many of them claim that they are innocent or are prisoners of conscience held for their known or suspected non-violent opposition to the new government. Yet, with a near non-existent judiciary, it is unlikely that they will be brought to trial or released in the near future.
Soldiers are reported to be interfering in the work of judicial officials and carrying out mass arbitrary arrests. Civilian judicial or government officials are reportedly unable to prevent these abuses or to order the release of innocent detainees. Some of those who have been released have been promptly rearrested or even "disappeared". The Prefect of Butare was assassinated in early March, apparently because he protested against mass arrests by soldiers in the prefecture.
Many detainees are said to be held on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations made by their personal enemies. Sylvestre Kamali, a 60-year-old former diplomat, was told when he was arrested in mid-July 1994, that he was being detained for not having correct vehicle papers. He was later accused of involvement in genocide and was unlawfully held until 2 September 1994 when he was reportedly charged with killing a man called Jean Tegeli. There are reports that his alleged victim has since been seen alive, but Kamali remained in prison without any opportunity to challenge the legality of his detention. He is reportedly held on the instigation of a political rival who is a top government official.
Some detainees claim they are being held in place of their relatives. Augustin Minani, a 12-year-old boy, was reportedly informed by the soldiers who arrested him in September 1994 that he was being held instead of his brother, whom they said had killed Tutsi during the genocide. Minani and five other young boys were arrested in Ntyazo district (commune), in Butare prefecture, and held in a hut where they were severely beaten. One month later the other boys were released, but Minani remained alone in the hut for a further three months. He claims to have been forced to sign a statement in which he confessed to a murder. He was subsequently moved to Butare prison where he was believed to be still held by March 1995.
Thousands of refugees have refused to return to Rwanda for fear of arrest. Returnees who have been subsequently arrested include dozens of former government soldiers and officials who had been recalled to join the new government's institutions. Jean Mukuralinda, a former magistrate of the Butare High Court (Tribunal de première instance), was arrested soon after he returned to his former post in Butare. He had been invited to return by the Minister of Justice who had apparently still not been able to secure his release by March 1995.
In late 1994 the Rwandese Government set up a committee to screen detainees and release those held unjustifiably. AI is concerned however, that three members of the committee overseeing cases of civilians are security force members. Their impartiality and independence are questionable. They head the same agencies which carried out the unlawful arrests. The committee was reported to have ordered the release of only six detainees by March 1995. There have also been reports that the committee is mostly concerned about cases of prominent persons whose continued unlawful detention is an embarrassment to the government.
People held in secret detention are not included in the 23,000 recorded detainees. They are in particular danger and likely to be subjected to torture, execution and "disappearance". Some are thought to be held by the security forces or government officials. Their relatives have considered them "disappeared" and there are reports that many may have been killed.
The whereabouts of Gratien Ruhorahoza, President of the Kigali High Court, have remained unknown since he was taken away by soldiers on 10 October 1994. He is believed to have been arrested because of his role in processing dossiers of detainees held in Kigali central prison. He had reportedly authorized the release of 80 detainees after deciding that there was insufficient evidence to justify their continued detention. Sources in Kigali say that if Ruhorahoza is still alive he is likely to be held in a military installation, where he may be subjected to torture or extrajudicial execution.
In some cases relatives of those "disappeared" have contacted high ranking government and security officials but have failed to get information about the victims. The wife of Marcel Ntirenganya, a businessman, has failed to obtain information from local officials, members of the Gendarmerie or government ministries, about her husband's fate since his arrest on 20 October 1994. On that day a government soldier known to Ntirenganya went to his house and asked for a lift into Kigali. When Ntirenganya failed to return she looked for him and finally found his truck parked at Muhima Gendarmerie brigade, in Kigali. The Gendarmerie refused to tell her what had happened to him and there was no trace of the soldier. She still had no news of her husband by March 1995.
Many of those who have been detained since July 1994 have been tortured. AI has received photographs of detainees with wounds above the elbows consistent with kandoya or "three-piece-tying". The victim's arms are tied above the elbows behind the back, a method which sometimes results in permanent injury and leaves scars on the arms. Most of the torture, which in some cases has resulted in death, is carried out in secret detention centres or under the authority of district officials.
Abdullah Musabyimana is reported to have been repeatedly subjected to severe beatings while being held in a private house in Gisenyi. He and several other detainees, including one called Kagabo, from Gisenyi prefecture's Kamana district, were subsequently held in a store room at Gisenyi Technical School (Ecole technique de Gisenyi). Women held with them are reported to have been raped repeatedly by soldiers. There are reports that some of the detainees, including Kagabo, were executed to make room for new detainees. Those still held at the start of 1995 included Yussuf Mbonabucya, who is 90 years old, and Gabriel Mbiracyane.
Although torture has usually stopped when detainees are transferred to official prisons, rape is reported to have continued. Marie Mukamazamayimpaka, a 46-year-old mother of three who had been arrested at the end of 1994, was taken to a building occupied by soldiers, in Butare, on 12 February 1995, and raped for two days by two soldiers. The rape followed severe beatings. Beatings appeared to be restricted to the women's wing in Butare prison. Soldiers reportedly told their victims that they were avenging the rape of Tutsi women by militia and former government soldiers, most of them members of the majority Hutu ethnic group. Thousands of women were raped by militia and soldiers of the former government with the acquiescence of the then authorities. Hundreds or even thousands of children are reported to have been born to victims of these rapes, and many babies have been abandoned or killed.
Although reports of extrajudicial executions have abated since the April to July 1994 massacres, killings by soldiers continue to be reported. The government has said that it is holding some 400 soldiers accused of extrajudicial executions and other crimes. However, it remains unclear whether they have been formally charged and, if so, whether they will have a fair trial. AI is totally opposed to the use of the death penalty and is concerned that those found guilty of carrying out murder and other capital offences may be executed.
Despite firm action announced by the government against soldiers perpetrating gross human rights abuses, some reported killings do not appear to have been the subject of any investigation. Australian soldiers serving with UNAMIR reported a sighting of several dozen bodies among bushes at Save near Butare. RPA soldiers denied the peace-keepers access to the site. Two weeks later the bodies reportedly disappeared without trace. Local people claim that hundreds of civilians had been massacred by soldiers in the area.
Many victims of recent killings have been returning refugees or people living in camps for the displaced. At least 12 people were killed and 37 wounded when soldiers opened fire in Busanze camp, in southwestern Rwanda. The Minister of Defence, Major Paul Kagame, announced that he would take stern action against the perpetrators. It was still unclear by March 1995 whether the Rwandese authorities had taken any action.
Some of those responsible for the genocide in Rwanda have continued to perpetrate abuses in refugee camps, particularly in Zaire and Tanzania. Dozens of refugees accused of supporting the new Rwandese Government have been killed. Other victims have included those who intended to return to Rwanda. An armed gang suspected of comprising former militia killed four refugees in eastern Zaire's Kibumba camp. The victims appear to have been members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group accused of supporting the RPF.
Some former militia and government soldiers are reported to be reorganizing within the camps in order to fight against the new Rwandese Government. There have been reports of some armed groups infiltrating Rwanda to kill soldiers and civilians, mostly Tutsi. One such group from refugee camps in Zaire reportedly killed 36 Tutsi, including 26 children, in Rutagara village near Gisenyi on 30 October 1994. In October 1994 the Tanzanian authorities arrested about 50 Rwandese refugees hiding on Mibali island on Lake Victoria and accused them of possession of firearms and grenades. It remains unclear whether the Zairian and Tanzanian authorities intend to bring to justice those responsible for abuses in their countries.
The international community's response to the crisis in Rwanda has been shamefully inadequate, lacking proper planning, funding and direction.
The UN Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur for Rwanda in May 1994 and agreed to deploy a few field officers to support his work. Their deployment was slow and they lacked basic equipment such as vehicles, telephones and fax machines. Human rights monitoring was subsequently taken over by the UN High Commission for Human Rights.
In September 1994 the High Commissioner for Human Rights launched an initiative to send 147 human rights monitors to Rwanda. Months of delay caused by lack of funds, personnel and logistical back-up meant that only about 80 of them had been deployed by March 1995. By March 1995 the monitors had not published any reports about their work. AI is concerned that some of the monitors may have neither the experience nor the training to investigate and report on human rights abuses.
The UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), a peace-keeping force set up by the UN Security Council, includes UN civilian police monitors (UNCIVPOLs) and unarmed military observers (UNMOs). In May 1994 the Security Council decided to cut the size of UNAMIR in Rwanda from just over 2,000 to about 400 after mass violence broke out in April. AI urgently called for the immediate return to Rwanda of the UNCIVPOLs and UNMOs and for an increase in their numbers. Despite their vital role as a dissuasive presence, reporting systematically on abuses, their deployment took months -- only a few hundred had been deployed by the time the RPF-led government was formed in mid-July. By March 1995 there were 5,740 UNAMIR troops in Rwanda. The full 309 UNMOs have now been deployed, as have most of the UNCIVPOLs.
In late 1994 the European Union (EU) decided to fund the deployment of 40 to 60 human rights monitors in Rwanda, working under the command and control of the monitoring operation set up by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. They have not yet been deployed.
On the African continent itself the Organization for African Unity (OAU) appears to be taking a back seat in reinforcing respect for human rights. By March 1995 it had not established a program for Rwanda. AI believes that the OAU should play a leading role in identifying African judges, lawyers and other experts to work in Rwanda in the short to medium term, and should urge its member states to cooperate with the international investigators in bringing suspected perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice.
On 8 November 1994 the UN Security Council established the International Tribunal for Rwanda to try people responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of humanitarian law, committed during 1994. The tribunal's jurisdiction also covers crimes committed by Rwandese in neighbouring states.
Investigating and prosecuting cases in Rwanda is expensive and time consuming. Witnesses are scattered and are being intimidated and killed; many are now outside Rwanda. Little documentary evidence exists -- graves have to be laboriously exhumed and carefully studied by teams of forensic scientists, and testimonies of witnesses will have to be carefully checked and tested. There are limited facilities in Rwanda to carry out these investigations.
A number of experts in Rwanda have been involved in gathering information. A six-person team of investigators arrived in the country in January 1995, but this is inadequate given the scale of the crimes. More systematic and large-scale investigations carried out by specialists in criminal investigations are urgently needed.
The rebuilding of the legal, judicial and penitentiary systems and supporting services and institutions as well as the police force in Rwanda should be made a high priority. The Rwandese Government has repeatedly called for international assistance in doing this. A system to prevent future violations of human rights should be set up and short to medium-term ways of restarting judicial functions must be found, with the help of legal experts from other countries. These interim measures should receive international supervision.
The UN Secretary General's Special Representative should keep up pressure on the Rwandese, Burundi, Tanzanian and Zairian Governments to fully cooperate with the International Tribunal for Rwanda. Other governments should also cooperate with the tribunal. The representative should also ensure that national trials are fair and that the death penalty is not applied.
The Rwandese Government should urgently set up, with the assistance of the international community, particularly the UN, an independent and impartial commission to examine detainee dossiers and determine whether there are sufficient grounds to warrant continued detention.
These measures will go some way towards ensuring that justice is seen to be done in Rwanda and violent retribution minimized. Only with the commitment of the international community can Rwanda begin to heal past wounds and sow seeds for the future. AI believes that this responsibility should be taken seriously and that well-intentioned words are not enough. Greater financial assistance and more international expertise must be provided to help rebuild Rwanda and safeguard the human rights of its people.