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Diplomatic Corps in Rwanda commemorates the Genocide against the Tutsi

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Kigali: For the first time, Diplomatic community in Rwanda together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide organized a ceremony to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

In his opening remarks, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe requested foreign countries to Rwanda to establish “the truth and the whole truth”.

Fourty Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of Missions in Rwanda attended the event which held at Marriott Hotel in Kigali, on Monday 11th June 2018, under the theme; “The contribution of the International Community in Peace Building, Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda”.

Nduhungirehe asked them to avail the archives, correspondence and documents, “your governments may have on the tragedy.”

“Only truth will help us preserving the memory of the Genocide against the Tutsi and preserving future generations from that tragedy,” he said.

Minister Nduhungirehe also took the advantage to address an underlying concern of countries that have become safe haven for Genocide perpetrators.

He asked them to advocate for the arrest, prosecution or extradition of the remaining genocide fugitives and the recognition of the Genocide as established by the ICTR and decided by the UN General Assembly and to be advocates against the early release of unrepentant Genocide convicts and against genocide denial in their respective countries.

“We count on you, you who have visited different genocide memorials in the country, you who have interacted with genocide survivors and you who have witnessed the consequences of the Genocide against the Tutsi, to be our advocates,” he said.

Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), elaborated on the kinds of files Rwanda is looking for and talked about the early release of Genocide convicts.

He said some of the files include embassy cables and UN dossiers and correspondences during and before the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.

He highlighted the serious danger that Rwanda still witnessing 24 years after the end of the Genocide committed against the Tutsi, as the persistence of the ideology of genocide, the Genocide denial of which is the most virulent manifestation.

Dr. Bizimana added that Rwanda recognizes that the United Nations and the Member States have done the right thing to punish the perpetrators of Genocide, including the establishment of the International criminal Tribunal for the Rwanda but highlighted the abuse of law makes by the presiding judge of the residual mechanism for international criminal tribunals, Mr Theodor MERON, by unilaterally takes the decision to release those convicted criminals for Genocide in advance without seeking the advice of the Rwandan Government or the Attorney. Those acts make the survivors of the Genocide feel extremely disappointed.

“We ask that States and international organizations that you represent, act as quickly as possible, to stop these maneuvers of the residual mechanism presided over by Judge Theodor MERON, who give more strength to impunity than to Justice”, Dr Bizimana concluded.

Venuste Karasira, who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at "ETO Kicukiro" shared his testimony about how UN troops abandoned them and how they were forced by the then Government soldiers and Interahamwe militias to march to Nyanza hill known as "Nyanza ya Kicukiro" to be killed.

“At Nyanza, they killed us as they wish. They killed us as if we were not human beings; we reached to the point we negotiated to be killed by bullets instead of machetes” Karasira whose right arm was cut by killers stated.

South Africa’s ambassador to Rwanda, George Nkosinati Twala, who is also the Dean of the diplomatic corps in a Rwanda, echoed the minister’s statement.

Over two decades ago, a tragedy took place here, he said, and the world had looked on, some may say they did not know, but a particular agenda had been planned.

“When artificial differences were pronounced, what was our response?” he asked. “Silence!”
“When premeditated murder occurred…killings…what was our response?” he asked again. “Silence!”

He said apart from the world ignoring as over a million Tutsi perished, the world should at least allow and support Rwanda to heal the wound, rebuild itself and forge a better future.

“We should join hands and disabuse a narrative that calls the current government a Tutsi-led government,” he said, referring to the ongoing efforts of genocide denial by perpetrators and their supporters.

“We should arrest and repatriate perpetrators, it’s good that some countries are responding,” he said. “The time of breaking the silence has come, and the culture of impunity will not continue unchallenged. Ambassador Twala concluded”. (End).


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