Hypocrisy is “one of the three systems that rules the world”, President Paul Kagame has said, while condemning powerful countries for their reaction to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Mr Kagame said powerful countries stood idly by during the genocide and therefore have “no lesson to teach anyone”. He accused them of “hiding their responsibility” by talking about justice and democracy.
READ ALSO: Rwanda: Emmanuel Macron recognizes France’s “responsibility” in the genocide and asks Rwandans for forgiveness
“There are three systems that rule the world, one is called democracy, the other autocracy, the third, the most powerful, very silent, efficient, is hypocrisy,” Kagame noted.
At the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, as he officiated the start of a period of genocide commemoration, Mr Kagame, a former rebel leader, said his forces avoided retaliatory killings as they took the power after t he genocide.
“Imagine those of us who carried arms – if [nous] we were allowed to pursue those who were killing our people, and to kill them as well,” he said.
“First of all, we would have been right to do so. But we didn’t, we spared them,” he continued.
A report by UN experts accused the rebels, then the army led by Mr Kagame, of committing atrocities on Hutu refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who fled after the defeat of the genocidal regime.
Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were systematically killed in April 1994, after a plane carrying then-president Juvénal Habyarimana and his counterpart from Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira – both Hutus – was shot down, killing all the people on board.
The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Kagame’s mostly Tutsi rebel group, had been accused of shooting down the plane, while a report commissioned by the Rwandan government blamed Hutu extremists.
The UN has made April 7 an international day of reflection on the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda.