updated 12/2/2004 6:27:57 PM ET 2004-12-02T23:27:57

Callixte Mbarushimana was born in Rwanda and worked for the United Nations from 1992 to 2001, when he was arrested on charges of genocide. He was interviewed by NBC News producer Nancy Ing in Paris. Below is a transcript of that interview.

Nancy IngSir, can you tell me a bit about yourself? Where did you grow up, what did you want to do, what were your ambitions?

Callixte MbarushimanaI was born in Ciangugu, that is in the northern part of Rwanda. That was 41 years ago. I was born in the countryside. I was educated there. ... Initially, I wanted to become a priest. … I went to University and I studied technology and became an information technology specialist. … In 1991 I got a contract as a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme.

Nancy IngTell me, why did you join the U.N.? Did it come to you? Did you seek it out? And what did it mean to you to be working for the United Nations?

Mbarushimana: The thing that attracted me to the United Nations was that mission of serving people, especially those who are suffering. To eradicate poverty, for instance, and to help ... many people around the world. … So the beliefs of the United Nations in Rwanda attracted me to join it.

Ing:  During your time with the United Nations in Rwanda, events turned drastically there. Were you able to help people there while this horrible massacre was taking place there, ten years ago?

Mbarushimana:  I tried to do my best.

Ing:  Can you give me a sense of what it was like to help those people?

Mbarushimana:  Yeah, I helped some colleagues of the United Nations first to get from Kigali to some safer places. I helped also to provide them with some food, mainly that.

Ing:  As you know sir, there are some very serious charges against you. I understand that you have never been prosecuted. Is that evidence that you are innocent of those charges?

Mbarushimana:  I cannot answer to the details of that. My lawyers have advised me not to go into details about that.

Ing:  Do you have a feeling that with all the years of the allegations swirling around you, you are a free man sitting here today, does that say something?

Mbarushimana:  Yes. First, what I would like to say … is that I am innocent of any of the allegations which have been raised by some individuals. The second thing is that the International [Criminal] Tribunal for Rwanda … has [made] a judgment. And the prosecutor has dismissed the case so I don't see what they can add to that.

Ing:  The whole problem with this case is that there are 24 people who have claimed in the indictment against you that you did order the killing of people. How can two dozen people get it so wrong?

Mbarushimana:  I cannot go into details of that once again, and I do not have any of the details or information of what they have said. So I cannot go into details of that.

Ing:  Sir, you have not been prosecuted. Do you think that's proof that you're innocent?

Mbarushimana:  I think that the proof comes from the decision of the ICTR [International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda]. The decision was reached upon the examination of those proofs [witness statements] and they were judged insufficient to make an indictment.

Ing:  Now you asked for financial compensation for the mishandling of your case. Why do you deserve this compensation?

Mbarushimana:  First, the United Nations Administration in Kosovo mishandled the case while I was a U.N. employee and they canceled my contract while I was entitled to a new one…. I felt that I was restricted. That's why I asked them for a re-assertment. .... The second is that while I was in prison, the U.N. spokesperson made some statements to the press which were really damaging to me…

Ing:  What has been the hardest part of this ordeal for you?

Mbarushimana:  The suffering of my family. My family has suffered a lot, especially the separation between them and me for such a long period. … They have suffered because of the lack of financial assets. … The education of my children who are very young has been interrupted. You can imagine children who can no longer go to school at the ages of 8, 9, 10.

Ing:   How did you feel about the time you were in prison? Did it shock you? Did it alarm you? Scare you?

Mbarushimana:  I have lost almost three months of my life in prison… Wrongful, based on wrongful allegations. It was really awful. I don't have any words that can really characterize that.

Ing:  Can you understand why these people made these allegations? Is there anything you did that would make them suspicious? Can you understand where they would be coming from?

Mbarushimana:  I don't really know why they're doing that. Once again, I think they are the ones who are able to justify why they are doing that.

Ing:  Tony Greig says that you killed many people. He wants your case to be re-opened. Do you think he's in a position to ask for that?

Mbarushimana:  I don't know.

Ing:   Do you think he has something against you?

Mbarushimana:  I don't even know the person so I cannot even say if he has something against me or not. Once again he's the one who can answer that question.

Ing:  One of the allegations is that you ordered the killing in 1994 of one woman [a colleague from the United Nations named Florence Ngirumpatse] and school girls at her home. How can you explain evidence like that? What's your reaction when someone says you murdered people?

Mbarushimana:  I think that is really something very awful. Considering the genocide as a very horrible thing, when they accuse somebody without having really proof of that, it is very disruptive. But also I would like to take this opportunity right now to express my deep pain for what has happened in Rwanda in 1994. It was something horrible. And I believe nothing can justify such horrible acts. I have always condemned them, I will continue to condemn them. I am innocent of whatever they are accusing me.

Ing:  You were there for the genocide of Rwanda. What was happening? How can there be so much hate against one group of people?

Mbarushimana:  I think it's a very difficult question which I am not able to answer myself. I still have many questions about that. How it came about such a horrendous thing. There is nothing which can justify what happened. It was inhuman.

Ing:  What is your impression of the Tutsis?

Mbarushimana:  I have always [had] good relations with them.

Ing:  What were you taught about different ethnic backgrounds growing up in Rwanda?

Mbarushimana:  In my family, we did not really make any ethnic distinctions between different ethnic groups. When I grew up, I didn't really notice there was a difference as such. At school there wasn't as well. I told you I was educated in a seminary. The priests who always teach us to be in good relations with others.

Ing:  How has your life been changed by these allegations? What is your life like today?

Mbarushimana:  When those allegations came in, I lost my job. I became destitute. I was autonomous … now I am no longer. I was not a refugee … now I am a refugee in France. I am no longer autonomous. Can you imagine somebody who has been living with his own money, going to a job everyday, exercising his professional capacities and now being … helped by a humanitarian organization on clothing on eating, on sleeping? Now that's me. Now imagine the family the way they are suffering, they way they are, without income. Being separated from the father. Imagine the children themselves, who are very young, who have not know their father for many years. Who have just learned that their father is somewhere, and somewhere where he is, he is accused of horrendous crimes. So those allegations have had a very bad reputation on me.

Ing:  Do you feel like your reputation has been destroyed?

Mbarushimana:  Yes. Sometimes you see the friends who were with you, considering you as somebody who is good. You talk together, live together. You share everything together. At a certain moment they look at you and say … maybe what [they] say [is] true. So they start considering you guilty of what you have done, as a criminal, although you have not been charged or condemned. And so the people even who could receive you do not do it because they are afraid of being accused themselves of having helped someone accused of those allegations, of those crimes.

Mbarushimana:  What would you say to your accusers if they were here today?

Ing:  First, I would ask them why they are persecuting me [in this] way. I don't know them and they don't know me. I don't think I met any of them, maybe one or two. Every day there is someone who comes with a new allegation, so you ask them first, why they persecute me. Second, I would tell them that really I am innocent of what has happened. I've been always in good relations with everyone in Rwanda, where ever I was. Not only in school, but also everywhere that I was working. I have always been in good relations. I don't see why I could have done such things.

Ing:  Who do you blame for what happened to you?

Mbarushimana: The blame could go to the people who made the first allegations without any foundation.

Ing:  Do you feel let down by the U.N.?

Mbarushimana: Yeah, actually the United Nations has not helped me not only during the proceedings in 2001 in Kosovo but after that, they treated my like I was not even staff.

Ing:  What would you like to see happen now?

Mbarushimana: When I made an appeal to the [United Nations] Administrative Tribunal, I wanted to go back to [my] job. I wanted to go back to work with the [United Nations] where I wanted to continue to serve. I have not done anything wrong. … The second is that the [United Nations] do whatever is possible in its power to make sure that [the] publicity around this case … stop.

Ing:  Has the U.N.'s reputation been tarnished in your eyes?

Mbarushimana: Actually when they talk of my case, they also talk of the U.N. as well when they say they have … employed someone who has been accused of genocide. So I think in one way or another, the aim of that publicity is to damage the United Nations.

Ing:  Did you murder any one, order any killings in Rwanda?

Mbarushimana: No. I have not murdered anybody. I have not participated in the ordering of killing of anybody. I have not conspired against anybody in Rwanda.

Ing:  Then why these allegations?

Mbarushimana:  Once again, the people who made the allegations are the ones who can say why. But that might be about it. I think it is the government of Rwanda who has always been behind that kind of things, those allegations.

Ing:  What do they have against you?

Mbarushimana: Actually, it's not me in particular. Go back behind to what happened in Rwanda. Go back to the United Nations in Rwanda. People who were not killed, are they still working with the U.N.? Now, many people of them have [been sent] to prison by the government of Rwanda without any proof, without any evidence. Cases exist. Even the United Nations has published a list on a regular basis. Nothing could be done. So I am a part of that vendetta that is organized by the government of Rwanda against these intellectuals. Against the intellectuals who were there in Rwanda….

Ing:  So you think you're being persecuted by the Rwanda government?

Mbarushimana: Yeah, I think and I really believe that I am being persecuted by the government of Rwanda. Isn't the government of Rwanda the one who sent an indictment to the [United Nations] in Kosovo without providing any evidence, insufficient evidence?

Ing:  Anything else you would like to say?

Mbarushimana: One thing I would like to add to this is all these allegations and what came after them has really harmed me, not only my reputation but also my life. It … has [had] really destructive consequences on me and my family. What I would like to have right now is to have some peace, to rebuild my life, to rebuild my family, to be with my family, that is what I would like to have. And that is what I request from everybody. Thank you.


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