By supporting terror suspects, Lantos Foundation falls on wrong side of history

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By supporting terror suspects, Lantos Foundation falls on wrong side of history
By supporting terror suspects, Lantos Foundation falls on wrong side of history

Africa-PressRwanda. On September 9, the Lantos Foundation issued a press release calling on the U.K. “to reject credentials of newly appointed Rwandan Ambassador,” Johnston Busingye, for “his role” in the prosecution of terror suspect Paul Rusesabagina.

This latest move by the Lantos Foundation to sanitize a terror suspect could not have come at a worse time. It was just a couple of days to September 11 – a day the world joins the US for the 20th commemoration of the terror attacks on American soil where over 3,000 people lost their lives. This is a time to, not only sympathize with those that lost their loved ones but also reiterate efforts to fight terror and an opportunity to support anyone, especially allies, involved in the global war on terror.

“The Lantos Foundation filed a formal submission to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Treasury in May 2021 … and simultaneously transmitted to authorities in the U.K. for consideration. Neither country has taken action” the press release reads in part.

The U.K. and U.S. governments are fully committed to the fight against terrorism – even Belgium that shared evidence against Rusesabagina with Rwanda’s prosecutors – and works hand-in-hand with their allies across the globe in this war.

Therefore, it is not surprising that these governments have ignored numerous demands by the Lantos Foundation to intervene on behalf of the terror suspect, Paul Rusesabagina, who has publicly admitted his role as head of the FLN outfit that carried out the massacre of innocent people in Nyabimata, Southern Rwanda.

Lantos Foundation does not set the diplomacy of countries; only shared interests do, not lies. The appeal to the UK has also been ignored because the foreign policy of the country is premised on promoting commonwealth values, and surely terrorism isn’t one of them. Obviously, everyone wishes to see a fair trial and justice for the victims of the crimes that claimed the lives of 9 innocent people. The fact that these people are not Hollywood stars does not make them any less deserving of justice.

Rusesabagina, who often appeared in public gatherings and YouTube channels predicting the fall of the Kigali administration because his “youth” were doing a good job torching neighbourhoods obviously feared returning to Rwanda to face justice. In the video, Rusesabagina said that “the time for a political solution” had passed and that terrorism against an elected government was the only solution left to remove the “regime” in Kigali.

Therefore, Rusesabagina’s reluctance to return to Rwanda did not stem from “fear of retribution” as the Lantos Foundation claims in its press release, which aims to divert attention from Rusesabagina’s crimes by bringing up non-issues.

Among those non-issues is the Lantos Foundation’s claim that Honorable Busingye’s appointment as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom is somehow linked to the case of Rusesabagina, but nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Busingye had served for almost 10 years in his position as Minister of Justice and, at some point, his tenure was bound to expire.

Moreover, he had served in different responsibilities before becoming a minister, and his tenure in those also expired. The suggestion that his new appointment in the UK is punishment instead of being yet another opportunity to serve his country in a prestigious position is ridiculous. Rwanda values its partnership with the UK, and anyone entrusted with the responsibility of furthering such relations is obviously a trustworthy civil servant.

Another non-issue is that the government paid for the plane that delivered Rusesabagina to justice. But the government also paid for the vehicles that delivered Rusesabagina’s 20 co-accused, something the Lantos Foundation has totally ignored because they are not famous, from their hiding areas where they were captured after blowing up vehicles and terrorizing people in Southern Rwanda.

The Lantos Foundation should wait for the verdict that’s getting delivered this month. The U.S. and the U.K. are Rwanda’s allies in many areas of interest, including the war on terror. They could have done more to apprehend the terror suspect when he was on their soil. However, what matters now is that he is on trial; the fact that “neither country has taken action” in defense of terrorism is the least they can do.

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