Rwanda Leader Sees Logic of
Iraq War Without U.N.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Rwandan
President Paul Kagame, whose nation saw 800,000 people slaughtered in a 1994
genocide, said on Saturday that nations must sometimes intervene militarily
even if the United Nations disagrees.
In an interview with Reuters,
Kagame drew on Rwanda's experience as an example of what not to do as countries
consider whether to wage war on Iraq.
"They should act when they are
right to act because the Security Council can be wrong. It was wrong in
Rwanda," said Kagame, a tall, lanky man whose straightforward, mild manner
belies his status as a powerful national leader who spent years as a guerrilla
"The Security Council was wrong in Rwanda, about the genocide,
and we lost one million people," he said at a downtown San Francisco hotel.
"I do not know whether you have to wait until Kuwait is taken over by
Iraq or Saudi Arabia is overrun by Iraq in order to act," he added.
Kagame, who lived most of his life in Uganda, founded the Rwandan Patriotic
Front and entered Rwanda in 1990 to fight the Hutu government. He became vice
president in 1994 after a genocide in which extremist Hutus killed some 800,000
Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
"Even if there was a resolution telling me
not to fight to save my people, I would have simply ignored them, yes, because
they were wrong and did not know what was happening," he said. "For me, saving
my people outweighs simple obedience to a wrong Security Council."
Kagame remains bitter that the United Nations did not stop the bloodshed in
Rwanda in 1994.
"In the case of Rwanda, very clearly I think it was
sheer failure of the international community," he told Reuters. "It was a
terrible failure indeed."
"Even after failing to prevent it, what
excuse is there that even when it was happening they failed to do something to
"You might avoid war and have a worse situation," he said.
"That is why I was giving a comparison with our case. People avoided a war or
doing very much and it ended up with a genocide."
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the prior written authority of Reuters Ltd. 03/08/2003