Below is an open letter sent to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon raising concerns about Mr Steve Hege, the Coordinator of the Group of Experts on DR Congo, which published a report linking Rwanda to Congolese M23 rebels.
The letter was also copied to all embassies in Rwanda. We publish the letter in its entirety.
Re: An ideological warrior, Steve Hege, a supporter of perpetrators of Genocide against Tutsi
We, undersigned, the President of Ibuka, an umbrella organization for survivors' associations of Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda and our sympathizers would like to express our concerns over Mr. Steve Hege, the Coordinator of UN Group of Experts (GoE) on DR Congo:
Mr. Steve Hege has been Coordinator of the UN Group of Experts (GoE) since June 25, 2010, vetted by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on DR Congo and submitted to the Security Council, which recommended him to the UN Secretary General for appointment. This suggests that the UN system conducted the exercise with due diligence.
Mr. Steve Hege describes himself as a "specialist" or "Consultant" on DRC. He has also provided consultancy support on DRC to various aid agencies, academic institutions and think tanks. Mr. Hege has also been working on Kivu conflict settlement since around 2000 during which he has authored or contributed to various disturbing works that undermine the suffering that Tutsis have endured.
On February 24, while working as an associate at Peace Appeal Foundation, Mr. Hege wrote a fact sheet entitled; 'Understanding the FDLR' in which he advances arguments in favour of the genocidal forces who escaped into the then-Zaire after killing a million of their fellow Rwandans in 1994.
He writes: "Consistently linked to the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the FDLR are better understood in relation to the massive revenge killings of Hutu refugees in the eastern Congo from 1996 to 1999."
In this context Mr. Steve Hege shows that the FDLR are not perpetrators, but victims of violent atrocities. This is textbook revisionism. Victim is violator.
Later in the same document, Mr. Hege leaves nothing for imagination when it comes to his views on modern Rwanda. He writes: "Economic and political power remains resoundingly concentrated in the hands of the Ugandan Tutsi elite from the RPF."
It should be noted that this document was online until it was uncovered on July 31, 2012. Within a day of the revelation, the article was removed.
Several articles have been published to highlight this issue, among which includes the following:
1. Rwanda Article Is Removed Then Reposted Online, As Expert Hege Scrutinized
Rwanda: Are the UN Experts Credible?
Rwanda: Govt Wants Lead UN Expert On Congo Probed
Ideological warrior Steve Hege and his high-stakes vendetta against Rwanda
Rwanda: violator or victim?
Le patron des experts de l'ONU au Congo, compromis par ses écrits révisionnistes et pro-génocidaires
Le Rwanda, coupable ou victime d'une machination ?
KEEP SMILING, KEEP SHINING: STEARNS' LAME HEGE DEFENCE
Rwanda claims UN report is biased
Orwellien. Le rapport de la mission de l'ONU au Congo n'a pas été écrit par des experts mais par "LE GROUPE"
To Ibuka, Mr. Steve Hege is regarded in all perspectives as a revisionist; part of wider negationist agenda to promote a different narrative contrary to what the UN itself has made law. Instead of condemning the genocide against the Tutsi, Mr. Hege denies a fact recognized by the international community, publicly peddles and spreads the genocide ideology.
It is in this regard that we, undersigned, in memory of our beloved parents, brothers, sisters and relatives who perished in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, urge your Office to reconsider whether Mr. Steve Hege is the best possible option available. As a UN body, the Group of Experts (GoE) deserves better, instead of individuals who undermine its fundamental principles.
We also urge the UN to carry out a thorough investigation aimed at reviewing all the GoE reports to which Mr. Steve Hege contributed. The extensive review should begin with the latest report which contains fraudulent allegations linking Rwanda to Congolese M23 rebels. With Mr. Hege, a revisionist so called UN expert, the international body is putting its own credibility at stake.
We hope our concerns will be taken into consideration.
Prof. Jean Pierre DUSINGIZEMUNGU
President of Ibuka