Here goes a bit from my latest on the Peter Erlinder case in Rwanda published on the Huffington Post. Hillary Clinton referred to the case earlier today, but indirectly – hopefully the administration can work up the courage to do what’s right.
Many observers with close knowledge of the case assure that the charges are entirely politically motivated, with no grounds or factual basis. “On a case like this, nothing’s going to happen unless the government officials of Rwanda make a decision on their own to release him,” said Erlinder’s lawyer Kurt Kerns. “All the judges there are figureheads. (…) They do what they are told to do.”
Peter Erlinder has not committed any crime, but rather has been jailed and persecuted for exercising his duties as a defense lawyer at the ICTR – an environment in which many of his former colleagues on both sides of the cases would attest to the intense nature of these proceedings, and the extraordinary vulnerability and risks faced by those with enough courage to take on unpopular and difficult cases. Part of his work has led him to unearth a number of legal documents from the United Nations and other official organizations, and collect them for review at the website known as the Rwanda Documents Project. Much of this evidence casts doubt on the official story of the 1994 genocide as told by the current authorities, but in no way does Erlinder’s research constitute a crime.