Piense en un país donde un 90% de la población tiene cobertura de salud, más del 90% de los pacientes con VIH siguen un régimen farmacológico estable, y 93% de los niños están vacunados contra enfermedades infecciosas comunes, entre ellas el VPH. ¿Adivina dónde está esta tierra encantada de equidad médica? ¿Escandinavia? ¿Costa Rica? ¿Narnia?

Le doy una pista: es en África. Para más precisión: Ruanda.

En mi país natal, la atención de la salud es un derecho garantizado a todos, no un privilegio reservado a ricos y poderosos. Ruanda sigue siendo pobre, pero en los últimos quince años, sus avances sanitarios concitaron atención mundial, y con razón.…  Seguir leyendo »

A young boy donning a paper hat emblazoned with the name of the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, tried to climb the small hill on which we were standing, waiting for Rwandan President Paul Kagame to arrive. He was sent back down by a stern-looking police officer. The crowd at this campaign rally in rural northern Rwanda was organized with the efficiency of a Disneyland parade, with barricades and clearly marked walkways but also free water, medical workers and a mobile health clinic. The music picked up, and all of a sudden Kagame was circling through the crowd. In a frenzy, the young boy and all those with any chance of clambering up the embankment did so, trying to catch a glimpse of the president.…  Seguir leyendo »

Today, millions of Rwandans are casting their votes even though they know in advance the election’s outcome: President Paul Kagame will win by a landslide, extending his rule to at least 2024, for a total of thirty years in power. President Kagame even declared he would win weeks before the vote.

Friday’s result is certain because President Kagame has ensured he has no real opponents. A new challenger, Diane Rwigara, was targeted by misogynist smears that included nude pictures, allegedly of her, widely circulated on Rwandan social media. When she still insisted on running, election authorities barred her. An opposition politician who criticized Kagame’s agricultural policies was recently found with his throat slit and eyes mutilated.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is an election in Rwanda on Friday, but its outcome already is nearly certain: President Paul Kagame will win a third seven-year term. Elections there are not a contest for power. They are the ritual confirmation of the power in place.

Mr. Kagame generally wins by margins that would make a dictator proud: In 2010, he scored some 93 percent of the vote. He is the only ruler most Rwandans born since the 1994 genocide know. The Rwandans who remember leaders before him have reason to wonder if they will ever see another: The state’s mighty security apparatus is quietly eloquent, with all those soldiers and police officers routinely patrolling both city streets and the countryside.…  Seguir leyendo »

Often lauded by international observers, Rwanda’s gacaca courts have long been held up by their proponents as a model for successful, post-conflict reconciliation efforts. Confronted with the nearly impossible challenge of rebuilding a country after genocide, Rwanda needed a mechanism to hold those who committed genocide accountable in an efficient and effective manner. The solution was gacaca: a system of 12,000 community-based courts that sought to try genocide criminals while promoting forgiveness by victims, ownership of guilt by criminals, and reconciliation in communities as a way to move forward. While the organizers and leaders of the genocide were mostly sent for trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, gacaca courts tried more than  1 million ordinary people who served as the foot soldiers of the genocide.…  Seguir leyendo »

23 years ago, genocide was unleashed in Rwanda. Almost a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in about 100 days.

Consider not just the scale of the violence but the intimate means by which some 10,000 people a day lost their lives. Men, women, and children were killed at close proximity – often butchered with machetes, knives, scythes, clubs, picks, and sharpened sticks.

Their killers were not only members of the Rwandan army and the government-backed Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi, the Hutu militias. They were also the victims’ own neighbours, those they had sat next to at school, played soccer with, worked alongside.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ruanda ha obtenido algunos de los progresos más impresionantes en materia de salud y reducción de la pobreza en el mundo. Este pequeño país africano sin litoral (del tamaño de Massachusetts, pero con el doble de habitantes) ha desarrollado un sistema de atención médica primaria con un acceso casi universal a la atención clínica y al seguro médico. Ruanda ha reducido tanto la desigualdad económica como en atención médica, y demuestra cómo la “equidad sanitaria” ayuda a construir sociedades fuertes.

El secreto del éxito de Ruanda es que sus líderes están construyendo “instituciones modernas sobre la base de valores tradicionales”. Construyeron un sistema de justicia comunitaria, llamado Gacaca, que integró su necesidad de una reconciliación a nivel nacional con una antigua tradición de clemencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rwanda’s Leader Must Step Down

On Friday, Rwanda votes in a referendum to amend its Constitution to allow President Paul Kagame to seek a third term. If it passes, as is likely, Mr. Kagame will be eligible to run in the 2017 presidential election. His victory in that contest is all but guaranteed, giving him another seven-year term and opening the way for two five-year terms after that, possibly keeping him in power until 2034.

With this vote, Rwanda must decide whether it will create a political space in which contentious issues can be resolved peacefully, or continue the cycle of autocracy, repression and conflict in which it has been trapped since independence in 1962.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un tribunal «gacaca» dans le sud du Rwanda en 2005. (Keystone)

En 1994, un million de Tutsis ont été assassinés. C’est l’un des événements les plus tragiques du XXe siècle. Les plus hauts responsables du génocide ont été jugés à Arusha par le Tribunal pénal international des Nations unies pour le Rwanda, d’autres furent encore jugés par la justice rwandaise. Pendant une dizaine d’années, quelque 120 000 génocidaires présumés furent emprisonnés sans procès au Rwanda. Il aurait fallu des dizaines d’années, sinon davantage, pour offrir un procès équitable à une telle masse de prévenus.

Confrontées à ce génocide pen­sé par des extrémistes, mais exécuté par des dizaines de milliers de paysans hutus, les autorités rwandaises mirent en place la justice dite «gacaca».…  Seguir leyendo »

War Crimes and Rwandan Realities

Gen. Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, the head of the Rwandan intelligence services who is now free on bail in London pending an extradition hearing in October, is an exemplar of the tightly knit group of diaspora Tutsis that ousted Rwanda’s Hutu-dominated government and rose to power during the 1994 genocide. Once a victim of human rights abuses, he now stands accused as a perpetrator. He is also a hostage — not of any justice system, but of an increasingly lone and erratic dictator, President Paul Kagame, who uses and abuses his inner circle as he grows more desperate to stay in power.…  Seguir leyendo »

Au cours des 20 années d’existence du Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda (TPIR), le travail de vérité et l’œuvre de justice ont avancé de pair pour illustrer et comprendre les très concrètes « politiques du génocide ». Il ne s’agissait plus alors de questionner le « pourquoi » de ce génocide, dont tant de conférences et colloques exposaient les fondements présumés, mais de répondre au « comment ».

Comment, quand, qui a décidé, mis en œuvre, entretenu pendant trois mois le génocide des Rwandais tutsis au printemps 1994. Cette histoire factuelle de l’accomplissement des massacres s’est attachée à établir le plus objectivement possible comment « les choses se sont passées » dans les différentes préfectures, selon les groupes d’acteurs et les individus.…  Seguir leyendo »

Laments about corruption, physical insecurity and unresponsive bureaucrats are a staple of life in many countries in East and Central Africa, with one notable exception: Rwanda.

The streets of its capital, Kigali, are impeccable, the roads are good, lights work and, unlike the traffic cops in Nairobi, Kampala or Dar es Salaam, police officers do not stop drivers simply to coerce bribes. Yet the architect of this miracle, President Paul Kagame, is in danger of reversing the gains that have made Rwanda a beacon of progress on the continent.

For the most part, Mr. Kagame gets laudatory media coverage, especially in Africa, and it’s easy to see why.…  Seguir leyendo »

Virginie Uwamahoro vanished in April. A primary school teacher, she was last seen settling in for the three-hour bus ride from the Rwandan border town of Gisenyi to Kigali, the capital. She called a friend once she got into town: Someone from the government wanted to see her. She would drop by his office before heading home.

Ms. Uwamahoro’s name is now on a list of missing people included in a new Human Rights Watch report on a series of politically motivated detentions and disappearances in Rwanda since mid-March. Human Rights Watch attributes the disappearances to sweeps by the army and the police targeting people suspected of being critical of the government, and cites 14 cases in one district alone.…  Seguir leyendo »

One day in April 2011, about 70 villagers from a maize-growing community in the Amuria district of northeastern Uganda gathered in a dusty yard surrounded by thatched huts. They came to hear a young man confess to the crimes he had committed there and in a neighboring community in 2004. Back then, he was a member of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group that terrorized northern Uganda from the late 1980s to the mid-2000s.

He wore a plain white T-shirt. Standing with a local elder at his side, he described committing two murders and one rape and burning down a hut.…  Seguir leyendo »

I moved to Nairobi last year for a challenge and to try something new. I thought that reporting from all over East Africa would be nothing like my previous assignment covering Central Europe from Berlin and I was excited to leave behind the stolid German Finance Ministry and embark on bumpy jeep rides through lush jungles and desert dunes.

If I’m being honest, I also needed to get away from Germany for a while. More to the point, I needed a little distance from the Holocaust.

For half a decade I had been working on a book about a concentration-camp doctor who evaded justice by fleeing to Cairo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pascal Simbikangwa est le premier Rwandais jugé en France en lien avec le génocide. | AFP/BENOIT PEYRUCQ

Il y a quelques jours s’est achevé le premier procès tenu en France visant le génocide des Tutsis au Rwanda intervenu entre avril et juillet 1994. L’accusé, le capitaine Pascal Simbikangwa, a été reconnu coupable de génocide et de complicité de crime contre l’humanité par la Cour d’assises de Paris et condamné à 25 ans de réclusion criminelle à l’issue de 6 semaines de procès.

Exceptionnel, ce procès l’est à bien des égards, car c’est la première fois que le crime de génocide inséré dans le code pénal français en 1994 était utilisé, première fois que celui de crime contre l’humanité, le « crime des crimes » car celui simplement « d’être né » (André Frossard), était employé depuis le procès de Maurice Papon en 1997.…  Seguir leyendo »

Más de un millón de muertes en solo 100 días: el genocidio de la minoría tutsi de Ruanda es la más fulgurante tentativa de exterminio de la historia contemporánea. También, la menos conocida y reconocida.

Sin embargo, hoy está establecido que el Gobierno francés, y en particular el Gobierno de Mitterrand, muy informado sobre la situación real en el país, lejos de apaciguar los ánimos racistas de la población hutu, armó a las fuerzas ruandesas —que pasaron de 3.500 a 55.000 hombres— con material de guerra y formación técnica.

Veinte años después es el título de la célebre novela de Dumas.…  Seguir leyendo »

El brazo de una muchacha en Ruanda

Todavía era temprano. El sol no estaba en su cénit. Era el mes de abril: cruel para muchos lectores de poesía desde que T. S. Eliot lo decretó. Un mes amable, sobre todo en el hemisferio norte. Los machetes ya habían sido distribuidos. Centenares de miles, a estrenar. Afilados. Made in China. El fax no era el primero. El general canadiense que después escribiría, para tratar de lavar su alma con la lejía de la expiación, que había estrechado la mano al diablo, se lo había mandado a Kofi Annan, que entonces, como responsable de las misiones de paz de la ONU, ya tenía un buen despacho en el Parlamento del Hombre, levantado al final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial en Nueva York para que «el flagelo de la guerra» no volviera a azotar al mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le monde rend hommage au million de Tutsis exterminés entre avril et juillet 1994 et partage la honte de n’avoir rien fait pour les sauver d’une mort certaine, diffusée en direct sur CNN. La France ne participe finalement pas aux cérémonies. Pourquoi ? Pour une phrase vindicative de Paul Kagamé dans Jeune Afrique ?

Evidemment l’attaque du président rwandais relève d’un calcul politicien. Evidemment, les auteurs et les acteurs principaux du génocide de 1994 ne sont pas français. Mais s’il est un pays qui devrait passer outre les critiques de Kigali et placer l’hommage aux victimes au-dessus de tout, c’est bien le nôtre.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ce 7 avril, une occasion nous est donnée de commémorer avec compassion toutes les victimes du génocide perpétré contre les Tutsis du Rwanda voici vingt ans tout juste. Les faits sont, dans les grandes lignes, connus. Dans les journaux, sur Internet, les témoignages se multiplient. La monstrueuse entreprise d’éradication fut déclenchée dans la nuit du 6 au 7 avril 1994, après que l’avion du président Juvénal Habyarimana eut explosé au-dessus de la capitale rwandaise Kigali, atteint par un missile. Des dizaines de milliers de Hutus abreuvés de ­propagande raciste et assassine tuèrent, trois mois durant, plusieurs centaines de milliers de ­Tutsis.…  Seguir leyendo »