Mistake: Yale Honors Kagame, Murderous Dictator

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Paul Kagame

[Letter]

I was shocked to learn from my former student, Kayla Oliver LAW ’18, now an editor of the Yale Law Journal, that Yale invited President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the most murderous dictator in all Africa, to speak about democracy.

That was a colossal mistake.

During my first weeks serving as U.S. Ambassador to Burundi, the twin-country neighbor of Rwanda, I joined the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda to meet then-Col. Paul Kagame. He was dressed in camouflage uniform and stood in a shattered warehouse amid the rubble in the capital city, Kigali. Open warfare in the most disastrous genocide in decades had ended only a few weeks before.

But revenge had not.

I told Kagame that the UN Refugee Camp, four miles inside the Burundi-Rwanda border, was still receiving 1,000 new Rwandan refugees daily. In my visit to the camp — which housed almost 100,000 — I interviewed camp refugees, asking when they would return to their home country. Their reply was always the same: “When Kagame’s forces stop killing us.”

Kagame’s response to me was insufficient. He told me that occasionally some of his troops might engage in personal retribution, but that revenge was not his policy. This was not the case: genocidal killing and intimidation have, in fact, been his consistent policy for all his 22 years in power.

Human Rights Watch, among others, has documented some his continuing civil rights violations. The United Kingdom, Spain and several European nations no longer grant this head of state entry into their countries.

Please see
http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2016/09/29/letter-09-29-16/

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