Rwanda: Securing The Records of This Sorry Episode

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

Almost twenty years ago the Isle of Man found itself involved in allegations of arms trading by companies registered here in Africa .

It would not be the first time such allegations were found to have substance and sadly it would not be the last.

However, this embroilment of the Isle of Man in events in Central Africa had truly horrific consequences as it was revealed in 1996 that a Manx registered company had been involved in the supply of weapons which had helped fuel the Rwanda Genocide:

No one was ever prosecuted because a UN arms embargo had not been extended by the United Kingdom to the dependencies.

The Isle of Man government heaved a sigh of relief and within a few years the Island was again involved in a new scandal involving weapons destined for an equally bloody conflict in South Sudan . Indeed as we revealed recently in CL News just five years ago we were the focus of attention over shipping being used to deliver arms into the Middle East .

The Rwanda conflict and its consequences however were truly horrendous and knowing the propensity of governments to ‘lose’ embarrassing records we have asked the current Manx Chief Minister to ensure that any Manx records of this event (there were enquiries at the time and exchanges with the United Kingdom government) are not lost from the historical record.

It would be a double betrayal of the people of Rwanda if important records were denied to those who may wish to research this tragedy.

A copy of our letter is set out below together with related links to this and other Manx arms related scandals:

“The Chief Minister
Allan Bell MHK
Chief Minister Office
Government Buildings
Douglas
Isle of Man

9th June 2015

Dear Chief Minister,

The Rwanda Genocide which occurred 22 years ago was one of the swiftest and sustained genocidal acts of the twentieth century happening as it did in just 100 days and costing the lives of an estimated 500,000 and 1,000,000 people, mainly members of the Tutsi community in that country.

Next year will be the twentieth anniversary of the revelations made in 1996 that a Manx registered company Mil-Tec Corporation had helped fuel the genocide by supplying large quantities of arms to the rebel Hutu militiamen.

At the time these revelations unfolded the Manx government variously: at first were unable to comment, later promising to co-operate with any enquiry and finally saying no Manx laws had been broken.

It is too late now for the Isle of Man to make amends for its shameful involvement in that episode I do trust that any records of enquiries or documentation on the company and individual were retained and will be lodged securely.

As indicated the Rwanda massacres were one of the most terrible events of the last years of the twentieth century and it is important that any records of this event and companies that helped stoke it are not lost to the historical record.

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)
pp Celtic League”

Links:

Carn Magazine No 96 Winter 1996

UK Independent November 1996

Isle of Man Today July 2012

CL News January 2001 (Reference sources at conclusion of this article give links to UK and IOM media reports)

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

09/06/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League was established in 1961 and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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