By Jean Gatera
A French newspaper that ten years ago leaked an incomplete report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which also became discredited after it was discovered it had been compiled partly with testimonies from Rwandan genocidaires, now is preparing an anniversary. Le Monde, a Parisian newspaper, is preparing what it is touting as the tenth anniversary of the document, also known as “the Mapping Report” on crimes committed in DR Congo.
Initially, the mapping report was supposed to be an OHCHR report on crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a ten-year period, between 1993 to 2003, and its authors were to focus on mapping where allegations of human rights violations occurred in the Congo in that period “without necessarily gathering evidence as a judicial inquiry would.”But then a draft was leaked to Le Monde which published a long article on it. The intention of the leak in a French newspaper, according to analysts, became apparent: “it was to accuse Rwanda of genocide of Hutus in the Congo.”
But it turned out that the 600-page report had serious flaws in its methodology such as collecting evidence from known genocide fugitives hiding out in eastern Congo, as well as genocide deniers.Experts note that the main objective was to advance a denialist double Genocide theory that had failed in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Among other things, it was discovered that the OHCHR investigation team, which leaked the document, had overstepped its mandate.The team classified, and imputed crimes without conducting basic due diligence, fact checking, and with no authority to do so.
Regional experts, scholars, and diplomats including former EU Special Envoy to DR Congo Aldo Ajello; the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Liberata Mulamula and others roundly denounced the leaked report for attempting “to taint public opinion with the pre-set narrative of Genocide by the Rwandan Army.” After its flaws were exposed, the “Mapping Report” was discredited and shelved.
But now, ten years later, Le Monde is preparing to “celebrate its tenth anniversary”. Analysts are convinced there is an agenda behind the move, “to re-validate” the document. Observers point to the fact that, as if in a coordinated move, major deniers or revisionists of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi are also celebrating “the ten years of the mapping report.” In a zoom meeting prepared for today, Thursday 01 October, a panel that consists of individuals like Judi Rever, a Canadian journalist who has written a book and several articles to accuse the current Rwandan leadership of genocide; Claude Gatebuke, a very active genocide trivializer on social media; and a few Congolese are holding a discussion centered around the report.
At the UN level, however, the Mapping Report is un-recognized, as it never was adopted. “This fact hasn’t prevented the editors at Le Monde from going ahead with their plans, which dovetail very well with those of all kinds of genocide deniers eager to push their ‘double genocide’ theory,” said a Kigali media commentator.