17.03.08 - RWANDA/CANADA - INTELLECTUALS TO MEET IN CANADA

Montreal, 17 March 2008 (FH) - A conference bringing together Canadian, French and Spanish intellectuals who dispute the official version of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, will take place on 29 March in Montreal.
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Pierre Pean, a French writer and journalist; Jordi Palou-Loverdos, a Spanish lawyer; and Robin Philpot, author of a book on the genocide, are awaited at the conference. Peter Verlinden, a Belgian journalist, will express himself via video.

The meeting is entitled "The Media and Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth ".

"We are in a world where there is freedom of expression, we cannot be against that. But, as it is, we disapprove of what these people [intellectuals] advance.", Mrs Edda Mukabagwiza, Rwanda's Ambassador to Canada, told the Hirondelle Agency. "It is always when we near the commemoration period of the genocide (6 April 1994) that these people make themselves heard. It is not even astonishing, it is now always like that", added the ambassador.

According to Robin Philpot, author of several books on Rwandan genocide and whose editor is organizing the event, "more and more, evidence is coming out in trials or newspapers which make it possible to say that the official story does not tell all. It is our duty to find the truth".

The brother of Robin Philpot, John Philpot, is the defence lawyer for Protais Zigiranyirazo, who is on trial before the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Zigiranyirazo, known
popularly as "Mr Z" is an ex-businessman and the brother-in-law of the former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana.

The most awaited person at the conference will undoubtedly be the French journalist Pierre Pean; who has written many popular works, including "Black Furies, White Liars".

The publication of the book resulted in the filing of a complaint by the French association S.O.S. Racism, which claimed that Mr Pean was repeating "presumptions of the genocide ideology". Mr Pean and his editor will be tried next September in Paris over charges of "complicity in racial slander and complicity in provocation to discrimination, violence and racial hatred."

The Spaniard Palou-Loverdos, lawyer of an organization that filed a complaint and  led to the issuance of arrest warrants against forty former Rwandan o RPF rebels, is also expected to be present at the  Montreal gathering.

"For the survivors and the victims, I find it unacceptable to deny reality", stated to Canadian media Callixte Kabayiza, President of an association of victims of the Rwandan genocide in Canada.

CS/PB/MM/SC
© Hirondelle News Agency