Rwandan Genocide: The Hutu Ten Commandments

Tutsi Identity Card
Tutsi Identity Card [Source: Prevent Genocide International]

The Rwandan genocide began on 6 April 1994 when the plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down from the sky, killing all on board.  Over the course of the next 100 days, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered.  While the assassination of President Habyarimana was certainly a catalyst, it did not cause the genocide.

Owing to their systematic and intentional nature, genocides, by definition, are rarely caused by underlying factors, as such.  Rather, underlying factors are manipulated and exploited in the planning and preparation that goes into the act of genocide. (See: What is Genocide?).

In Rwanda, evidence shows that militia had been trained, machetes flown into the country and weapons had been stockpiled for several months before the genocide started.  Much has been made of the role of the media in inciting genocide in Rwanda, with singers, radio presenters and journalists all calling for the extermination of the Tutsi cockroaches. 

“The Hutu Ten Commandments” was a document that was published in the pro-Hutu, anti-Tutsi newspaper Kangura in December 1990, almost four years before the commencement of the genocide in Rwanda.  The document was published in Kinyarwandan, the official language of Rwanda, and has also been translated as “The Ten Commandments of the Bahutu”. 

Incitement to commit genocide is a crime punishable under article 3c of the Genocide Convention.  There were numerous convictions of genocide that related to media, propaganda and incitement to commit genocide.  The Hutu Ten Commandments were attributed to the editor of Kangura, Hassan Ngeze,  and in 2003, he was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity by the ICTR.

The Hutu Ten Commandments

1. Every Hutu should know that a Tutsi woman, whoever she is, works for the interest of her Tutsi ethnic group. As a result, we shall consider a traitor any Hutu who

  • marries a Tutsi woman
  • befriends a Tutsi woman
  • employs a Tutsi woman as a secretary or a concubine.

2. Every Hutu should know that our Hutu daughters are more suitable and conscientious in their role as woman, wife and mother of the family. Are they not beautiful, good secretaries and more honest?

3. Hutu women, be vigilant and try to bring your husbands, brothers and sons back to reason.

4. Every Hutu should know that every Tutsi is dishonest in business. His only aim is the supremacy of his ethnic group. As a result, any Hutu who does the following is a traitor:

  • makes a partnership with Tutsi in business
  • invests his money or the government's money in a Tutsi enterprise
  • lends or borrows money from a Tutsi
  • gives favours to Tutsi in business (obtaining import licenses, bank loans, construction sites, public markets, etc.).

5. All strategic positions, political, administrative, economic, military and security should be entrusted only to Hutu.

6. The education sector (school pupils, students, teachers) must be majority Hutu.

7. The Rwandan Armed Forces should be exclusively Hutu. The experience of the October 1990 war has taught us a lesson. No member of the military shall marry a Tutsi.

8. The Hutu should stop having mercy on the Tutsi.

9. The Hutu, wherever they are, must have unity and solidarity and be concerned with the fate of their Hutu brothers.

  • The Hutu inside and outside Rwanda must constantly look for friends and allies for the Hutu cause, starting with their Hutu brothers.
  • They must constantly counteract Tutsi propaganda.
  • The Hutu must be firm and vigilant against their common Tutsi enemy.
10. The Social Revolution of 1959, the Referendum of 1961, and the Hutu Ideology, must be taught to every Hutu at every level. Every Hutu must spread this ideology widely. Any Hutu who persecutes his brother Hutu for having read, spread, and taught this ideology is a traitor.

Source: Wikipedia (reproduced under Creative Commons)

ICTY Judgement: Milan Lukić & Sredoje Lukić

Yesterday I ran an article relating to the book that Milan Lukić wrote, the transcript of which was smuggled out of the UN Detention Centre illegally.  I discovered the videos below on the ICTY YouTube channel and found them to be riveting. 

Cousins Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić were sentenced to life and 30 years' imprisonment respectively, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad during the 1992-1995 conflict. 

The body of evidence brought against the cousins was extensive and at one point, the judge even refers to a multitude of complaints and testimony that they didn’t even charge the cousins on.  This shows a pattern of murder, rape, extermination and persecution that took place over a period of about three years leading up to 1995. 

They did charge and convict them on several specific incidents including the infamous murder of 59 Muslim women, children and elderly men in a house on Pionirska Street in Višegrad and the murder of at least 60 Muslim civilians in a house in the Bikavac settlement of Višegrad.

Both Milan and Sredoje Lukić showed no remorse during their trial.  They both entered a ‘not guilty’ plea and you can see in the video that Milan shows a specific lack of respect to the proceedings. 

Serbian Orthodox Church Endorses War Criminals

This post was written by Daniel Toljaga and was first published as Serbian Orthodox Church Endorses War Criminals on Daniel's blog. This post has been reproduced, in full, with Daniel's express permission and features an important translation of the press release from the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade.
By Daniel Toljaga

A convicted war criminal who burned alive scores of Bosniak civilians and systematically tortured and raped Bosniak women and under-age girls enjoys the uncritical endorsement of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade reports that the Serbian Orthodox Church has hosted a book launch at the parish house of the Cathedral of St. Sava in Belgrade to promote a prison memoir, “Ispovest haškog sužnja” (“Testimony of a Hague prisoner”). The book’s author is the convicted war criminal Milan Lukić — a ruthless mass murderer and serial rapist. The Belgrade publisher responsible for promoting the launch is the Serbian Radical Party led by ultra–nationalist politician Vojislav Šešelj. Šešelj himself is currently on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague for crimes against humanity. The manuscript of Lukić’s book was smuggled out of the UN Detention Unit illegally.

This is not the first time Serbian Orthodox Church has aligned itself with war criminals. The recently-captured fugitives, former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadžić, bragged that the Serbian Orthodox Church helped them evade justice. General Mladić is now on trial as the orchestrator of the Bosnian Genocide; Hadzic is on trial for crimes against humanity committed in Croatia.  The Serbian Orthodox Church sees itself as the moral compass of the Serbian people. Its incomprehensible and repellent actions suggest that the Church is morally adrift.

In 2009 the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague found Milan Lukić guilty of burning alive more than 120 Bosniak women, children and elderly men in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his terrible crimes.

On 14 June 1992, a group of victims, most of them from the same village, were locked into one room of a house on Pionirska Street, Višegrad, which was then set on fire. Milan Lukić was found to have placed an explosive device in the room which set the house ablaze. He then shot at people as they tried to escape the burning house. At least 59 women, young children and elderly people were burned alive, among them a 2-day-old baby.

Lukić was also found guilty of burning alive at least 60 women, children and elderly men two weeks later, on 27 June 1992, in a house in the Višegrad settlement of Bikavac. He and other members of his paramilitary group, ‘White Eagles’, forced the civilians inside the house, blocked all the exits and threw in several explosive devices and petrol, setting the house on fire.
“The perpetration by Milan Lukić and [his cousin] Sredoje Lukić of crimes in this case is characterised by a callous and vicious disregard for human life,” presiding Judge Patrick Robinson noted.

He observed that, “In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high. At the close of the twentieth century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events stand out for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno, and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive.”

Milan Lukić also participated in systematic sexual assaults on Bosniak women and under-age girls in “rape camps” in and around Višegrad. Most notably the Vilina Vlas spa hotel on the outskirts of Višegrad was used as a rape camp while it was, on Lukić ‘s own admission, his military unit’s command post. Approximately 200 women and under-age girls were detained  in Vilina Vlas. The Association of Women Victims of War — led by rape survivor Bakira Hasečić — believes that fewer than ten women prisoners survived their detention.

Rape and sexual slavery charges were added to the indictment against Lukić less than a month before the trial. The day before proceedings were due to begin, the Trial Chamber ruled that the accused did not have enough time to mount an adequate defence. 
I have taken the liberty of translating this short but important press release issued by the Humanitarian Law Center from Serbian into English:
“Humanitarian Law Center urges the institutions and citizens of the Republic of Serbia to condemn publicly the use of the Parish House of the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade for the launch of a book by the convicted war criminal Milan Lukić during which priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church took part in the eulogisation of a war criminal responsible for some of the most terrible crimes against humanity.
Humanitarian Law Center demands that the Patriarch reveal the names of the priests who took part in this public event and explain to the public why a religious building whose construction was paid for by the state and many individual citizens has been used to celebrate a convicted war criminal who burned women and children alive.
On 29 July 2011, in the parish house of the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade, an event to promote the book ‘Confession of a Hague Prisoner’ by the war criminal Milan Lukić was attended by several priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the company of numerous Lukić supporters. The book is published by the Serbian Radical Party.
The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague sentenced Milan Lukić to life imprisonment for shooting five Bosniaks beside the Drina River on 7th June 1992, killing seven workers of Varda factory, burning alive at least 120 Bosniak women, children and the elderly in Višegrad’s Pionirska Street and Bikavac district, the ‘cold and brazen’ murder of Hajra Koric and the brutal torture of Bosniak detainees in Uzamnica detention camp near Višegrad. In all these crimes, Milan Lukić, played a ‘dominant role’ and exhibited a ‘callous and vicious disregard for human life’, personally killing ‘at least 132 people’ according to the judges at the International Criminal Court.”
An album of photos from this ‘book’ promotion can be found on Milan Lukić’s Facebook page, which is being maintained by the priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

This Day in History: 9 August 1956

1948: The National Party Victory

South Africa, 1948: the United Party (led by incumbent Prime Minister Jan Smuts) and the Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunited National Party) (led by DF Malan), competed against each other in the national elections.  This was an election where only white South Africans could vote, and realising that many of the electorate felt threatened by black political and economic aspirations, Malan promised a system of grand Apartheid if he was victorious.

The HNP was victorious and when they came into power in 1948, they implemented Apartheid.  The HNP was eventually renamed the National Party and thus, the same party was in power from 1948 to 1994, when the African National Congress took power in the first democratic elections in South Africa that featured universal franchise.

Apartheid Whites Only

1950: The Group Areas Act

One of the first acts to be enacted following the implementation of Apartheid was the 1950 Group Areas Act.  The Group Areas Act divided up urban areas and assigned different racial groups to different residential and business areas. This meant that the black, white, Indian and coloured populations could not live together or own businesses in the same areas.  The 1913 Native’s Land Act had already ruled that only white people could become landowners in South Africa.

1952: The Pass Laws

The 1923 Native Urban Areas Act had made it compulsory for black men in cities to carry passes on them.  Any man found without a pass would be arrested and sent to a rural areas.  In 1952, the Native Laws Amendment Act and the Natives (Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents) Act were enacted to assist in policing the 1950 Group Areas Act.  The Native Laws Amendment Act required that no black South African could remain in an urban areas for longer than 72 without the necessary documentation.  The Natives (Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents) Act required that all black South African men over the age of 16 had to carry a single reference book.  It also noted that women would be required to carry such reference books at some time in the future.


The Injustice of the Dompas

The reference book (enduringly referred to as the dompas in Afrikaans) would stipulate where and for how long a person could remain and it included photographs, fingerprints and employer details.  It was a horrifically limiting document because black South Africans were subject to persecution if they were found to be outside of their stipulated area.  That meant that a man could not visit his brother who was working in the next neighbourhood, for instance.  If he lost his job, his right to remain in an urban area could be rescinded by any government employee and he could be made to return to rural areas immediately. 

Blacks in urban areas were often forced to leave their families behind in rural areas.  The consequence of this is that they could be subject to arrest, punishment and persecution if they were discovered to be travelling to or from those rural areas too.  Basically, each time a black person wanted to move within the country, they had to seek permission and that permission was recorded in their pass book.

Life in the Homelands

In the decades leading up to the 1950s, the majority of black South Africans in urban areas had been men.  They were often migrant workers, employed on mines and in factories and women were often left behind to look after the family.  The problem with the rural areas (and Homelands) allocated to black people is that they were specifically chosen on the basis of their dry, arid and unsustainable nature.  The very worst pockets of land in South Africa were allocated to rural black populations. 

A combination of factors lead to more and more women moving to urban areas in the early days of Apartheid.  Some scenarios include the death of income earners in precarious conditions in mines and factories; neglect from partners who took up with mistresses in town; and severe poverty caused by the high cost of living in urban areas, the inability to send enough money home, and the inability to sustain families in the arid conditions of the Homelands and rural areas.  Women were also permitted to join their spouses in urban areas if he had been born in that area or had laboured continuously in an area for over ten years.

(Incidentally, many of these factors continue today and many children are brought up in rural areas by grandparents and the extended family as poverty and economic needs continues to drive families apart).

1955: Plan to Issue Pass Books to Women

In response to the growing number of black women in urban areas, the government announced in September 1955 that all black women would be issued reference books with effect from January 1956.

9 August 1956
©Baileys Archives [Source]

The protest on 9 August 1956 was not the first protest against the Pass Laws and it was one action among one of the most colourful and successful liberation struggles in history.

What was outstanding about this protest is that it surprised many parties, the government and liberation movement included and it showed that women were active, organised and militant.

On 9 August 1956, 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in protest of the pass laws and the roll out of reference books for women.  The march was organised by the Federation of South African Women in conjunction with the ANC Women’s League and was attended by such great women as Helen Joseph and Albertina Sisulu.

Women came from all over the country to attend the protest, from as far afield as Durban and Cape Town, and black, white, coloured and Indian women attended the march.

The crowd left bundles of petitions filled with 100,000 signatures at Prime Minister JG Strijdom’s doors as he was not at the Union Buildings that day. 

In a masterpiece of peaceful protest, the women stood for a full half an hours’ silence, many with children on their backs, as they protested the assault on their freedom and integrity that the pass laws represented.

9 August 1994

Apartheid ended in 1994 when the African National Congress came to power.  Since 9 August 1994, the day has been commemorated as National Women’s Day in South Africa.  It is a public holiday and that is why South Africans celebrate women’s day on a different day to the rest of the international community.