Fascinated by Kagame's heroic image, it seems like the international community hasn’t read this report, which is 500 pages long and highly documented, and continues to be indulgent towards the one Professor Filip Reyntjens from the University of Antwerp calls "the greatest war criminal in power today". Kagame's self-confidence was boosted by the disdain the international community displayed for the truth when, for example, the Paris Public Prosecutor requested a dismissal (13 October 2018) of the case against his associates who had been involved in the attack that cost Habyarimana his life.
Kagame became President of the African Union in January 2018, which has allowed him to lecture his peers, for whom he only has limited respect. The opposition had long been disciplined through robust methods. MP Léonard Hitimana and former President of the Court of Cassation Augustin Cyiza disappeared without trace. The Vice President of the Green Party (opposition) was found dead after being tortured. The journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, who was investigating the case of General Kayumba Nyamwasa, who had switched to the opposition, was killed in 2010 after Kayumba himself had been the target of two assassination attempts. Former Security Chief Patrick Karegeya was found strangled in a South African hotel room on 1 January 2014. Opposition journalist Charles Ingabire, a genocide survivor, was shot dead in the street in Kampala in November 2011. And so on and so forth. Violence has even become "democratized" since 2016, with the summary executions of dozens of petty criminals (cow thieves, smugglers, fishermen using illegal nets...) killed by the army for no other reason than to frighten people in order to "keep order". On her recent release, Victoire Ingabire, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for daring to run in the elections against Kagame, said: "I hope this is the beginning of the opening of the Rwandan political sphere". Unfortunately, this seems highly unlikely.
Kagame is an iron man. Yet even iron eventually rusts away. A few years ago, he faced all the challenges with a cool temper we could qualify as "British", but that we call "itonde" in Kinyarwanda. When Colonel Tauzin declared, while defending Gikongoro, "that he would "give no quarter" if the RPF attacked and that an officer translated (Kagame did not understand the French expression "faire de quartier") by saying: "it means that he will kill all the wounded", he simply observed: "It is a little hostile, isn't it?" Today, the same man is seen shouting at his bodyguards, slapping a secretary or trampling underfoot a Minister who crossed him. Many of his former comrades from 30 years ago have joined the opposition and live in exile. He and Museveni have hated each other since the Ugandan President investigated Rwigyema's death and today, he helps a guerrilla group that has infiltrated the Nyungwe forest and entrenched itself there. Today, Paul Kagame is the master of Rwanda, the only African head of State who can speak as an equal with the world's great leaders, and who can influence the decisions of most international tribunals. This involves a massive and solitary power, and absolute power is absolutely solitary.
Illustration : David MARTIN for Institut Montaigne