Lexington, VA • Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The following letter was published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, August 29. Prof. Drumbl wrote the letter in response to an earlier editorial which ommitted the third world leader to face genocide charges.
Rwanda Leader Was Third to Face Genocide Charges
In your Aug. 23 editorial "Saddam's WMD," you identify Saddam as the second contemporary world leader to face charges of genocide, with Milosevic being the only other. There is a third, Jean Kambanda, the former prime minister of Rwanda. Kambanda is in fact the first leader ever to be convicted for genocide for his leadership of the Hutu government of Rwanda in the tragic summer of 1994, where from 300,000 to 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered.
Kambanda was charged with genocide, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to life imprisonment by the international Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1998. He appealed his sentence--unsuccessfully--in 2000, and is currently serving time in a prison in Mali.
As you rightly point out the case against Saddam for his alleged responsibility for the Anfal campaign will involve an assessment of whether he intended to commit genocide, namely to wipe out the Kurdish population in whole or in part. I expect that the case-law of the Rwanda Tribunal will be of great use to Iraqi prosecutors. Let us not give short shrift to how the suffering of Rwandans has, after the fact, generated important milestones in international law.
Mark A. Drumbl, Professor of Law, Director, Transnational Law Institute,
Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, Va.