Canada Wants UN to Sack General Karake

Canada Wants UN to Sack General Karake

The Canadian government through its representatives at the UN Headquarters has been consulting to know whether it is “convenient” to have Rwandan Gen Karenzi Karake among its ranks considering the accusations against him, RNA reports.

 Gen Karenzi Karake is the deputy commander of the UN/AU Mission to Darfur but campaign organizations and exiled Rwandan opposition groups say he has blood on his hands. Last month, new accusations surfaced suggesting that the same General was behind the death of Canadian missionary Guy Pinard.

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier said last week that he is “preoccupied” with the presence of General Karake on the payroll of the UN amid such accusations. I hope the UN goes to the bottom of all this, Mr. Bernier said as quoted by Le Journal de Montréal.

But Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Rosemary Museminali said on Thursday that government here was “not aware of any demarche” by Canada at the UN on that issue.

“The governments of Canada and Rwanda to not communicate through the media”, is how Ms. Museminali said when RNA put to her that Canada’s position was all over the media.

“As far as we are concerned, there is no demarche by the Canadian government on that issue (complaint to UN over Karake)”, added the Minister.

According to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Shaun Tinkler, Canadian diplomats have engaged UN officials over General Karake.

“Canadian representatives have inquired from UN officials as whether it is convenient to have General Karake continuing to undertake his duties on a peacekeeping force”, said Tinkler.

The General’s woos arise from a Spanish investigation that led to the indictment of 40 senior officers for allegedly causing the deaths of 9 Spanish nuns in Rwanda and DR Congo just after the Genocide.

Last month, the Spanish lawyer Jordi Palou-Loverdos who has been working with the Judge that made the indictments took his battle to Montreal claiming that their investigation shows that General Karake and General Fred Ibingira know who killed the Canadian priests in questions.

The investigation, according to Palou-Loverdos points to Maj. General Karake – then a Lieutenant Colonel – as responsible for the death of Father Guy Pinard in 1997. As for priest Claude Simard, the Spanish attorney blames it on Maj General – then a Colonel.

On his trip to Sudan two weeks ago, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister met with a delegation from the UN mission there including the force Commander Nigerian General Agwai and his deputy General Karake.

“Karenzi Karake was in the meeting that I attended. He came in and went out. I did not speak to him. It did not bother me that he was subject to an arrest warrant”, Minister Maxime Bernier told Le Journal de Montréal last week.

General Karake was nominated by the African Union as the preferred candidate to aide with the command of the hybrid UN/AU force in Darfur. Controversy over his candidacy was sparked by report after another from campaign groups and Rwandan opposition.

Rwanda had about 7200 soldiers in Darfur as part of the ill-equipped AU mission that has now been replaced with a shared UN mandate. However, the 26.000 strong force is yet to be on the ground as the UN, troop contributing countries and the Sudanese government bicker over who are welcome and not.

Meanwhile, Kigali is ‘still waiting’ for communication from the Canadian government on recent complaints from Rwandan travelers that they have been asked to present details about their ethnic background.

According to Rwandan citizens that have filed for Canadian visas, part of the forms requirement is that they detail their ethnic history – that some including senior officials have described as ‘horrifying’.

Some of those that have been victim include President of the Genocide survivors umbrella association Theodore Simburudali and Central Bank Governor François Kanimba.

“We have communicated our concerns to the Canadian government”, said Minister Museminali and added that Kigali has “not yet” got any response. (End)



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