On September 12, 2011, american attorneys John P. Zelbst, Prof Peter Erlinder, and Kurt P. Kerns representing the plaintiffs Mrs Agathes Habyarimana, the widow of the assassinated Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Mrs Ntaryamira, the widow of the assassinated Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira filed an Objection against the claim of immunity from prosecution by United States States Department for the current Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame.
The objection follows the request by the U.S. State Department for a civil immunity from persecution for the Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame, claiming that because he is a foreign head of state, the U.S. courts should not prosecute him. He is accused of assassinating the two presidents and their staff, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Some of these accusations are also contained in UN reports and Spanish and French courts indictments against Paul Kagaame’s top aides. Spain and France have not indicted the Rwandan Dictator because of the provisions of immunity for foreign heads of states.
The lawyers argue that the US State Department initiative goes
beyond the immunity that U.S. Presidents can claim after Clinton v. Jones limited U.S. Presidential immunity to wrongful acts committed while head of state only. The State Department has claimed immunity for Rwanda President Paul Kagame’s alleged wrongful acts before he was in government, an immunity which Bill Clinton could not claim from Paula Jones’ lawsuits when he was President of the United States, and she alleged wrongful acts committed while he was Governor of Arkansas.
On May 1, 2010, the representatives of the courts in Western Oklahoma attempted to serve the General Paul Kagame and succeeded to reach his bodyguards while he attended an event at a public university in Oklahoma. However, on June 23, 2011, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs did not properly serve the defendant (see our articles on the case here).
General Paul Kagame, who is currently in France, is expected to visit the US and will attended an event on September 16, 2011 at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is planning to continue his trip to Oklahoma. The lawyers were planning once again to attempt to serve him. That is probably what led to the US State Department to file a Suggestion for Immunity on August 29, 2011 to preempt the representatives of the plaintiffs from serving the Rwandan dictator.
According to the note received by AfroAmerica Network from the lawyers,
The Objection on behalf of the Presidential widows filed today [attached] lists French and Spanish Indictments; Four UN Security Council Reports from 2001-2008; a 600-pp UN HCHR Report of RPF genocide, war crimes, etc. between 1993-2003 issued Oct 1, 2010; UN-ICTR Prosecutor Reports from 1994-2003; all of which confirm massive crimes committed by Kagame and his RPF that are in the public record. The irony of the “suggestion of immunity” is compounded because Victoire Ingabire, the would-be candidate against Mr. Kagame who I attempted to advise in Rwanda in May 2010, which resulted in my own arrest by Kagame on charges of “genocide ideology” is now in the dock in Kigali facing trumped-up terrorism charges, as reported in the NYTimes 9/10 ….the same week the Obama administration has asserted immunity for massive crimes for Mr. Kagame is charged in multiple criminal indictments and UN reports. The question is….why is IS protecting Mr. Kagame so important for U.S. policy-makers, anyway?
One of the lawyers, Professor Peter Erlinder, was detained and tortured in Rwanda prisons while attempting to represent a Rwandan opposition leader. He was accused by the Rwandan government of divisionism, before being released for humanitarian reasons under the pressure from the Unites States Department.
For more on Peter Erlinder case see our articles here
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