6 February 2006

Rwanda: Ignore French Writer, Ibuka Told

Kigali — The visiting members of the Global Parliamentary Network on World Bank (PNoWB) have advised Rwandans not to drag French writer Pierre Pean to court over his controversial book on the 1994 Genocide.

The MPs said that such a move would only serve to popularise the Frenchman's book 'Noir Fureurs, Blanc's Mentaurs',(Black Furies, White Liars) ,published on October 25, last year..

They were reacting to last month's threats by IBUKA, the Genocide survivors umbrella organization, to sue Pean for allegedly downplaying the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.

Alain Destexhe, the speaker of the Belgian senate, who led the delegation on a five-day visit to Rwanda, said, "the book is an insult to both the Rwandan Government and the Genocide survivors. However, I personally would advise Rwanda not to drag Pean to Court because it will be contributing to the advertisement of the book."

In the book, Pean denies the existence of a Genocide against the Tutsi section of the Rwandan population in the 1990s.

But Destexhe maintained that some legal difficulties were likely to come up should the lawsuit be filed.

"It might be hard for Rwanda to sue Pean because filing a case in France against a Frenchman is not something easy especially when you are accusing a prominent person who has influence in his nation."

However, the Belgian speaker criticized the book saying that Pean was ignorant of the Euro 25 million former Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana's regime got from the Belgian people to facilitate the Genocide.

Destexhe has written two books about the 1994 Genocide and has lobbied for a commission of inquiry to be instituted on the Belgian senate.

In a later exclusive interview, Senator Lydia Madero from Mexico said that Pean has written several controversial books.

"I think his book is just fiction with no reality. I don't find any reason why Rwanda should show much concern about it. Though the book seems to be an abuse of the human rights and mostly to the victims of the Genocide, taking Pean to court would be another way of encouraging people to read the book."

French Senator Michel Guerry said of Pean's book: "We have freedom of expression in our country. Pean was very free to publish whatever he wanted."

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