Written by  //  April 7, 2024  //  Africa, Justice & Law, Rights & Social justice  //  Comments Off on Rwanda

30 years after Rwandan genocide, Roméo Dallaire feels ‘rage’ amid global crises (video)
Roméo Dallaire led the UN’s peacekeeping mission when more than 800,000 Rwandans — most of them Tutsis and moderate Hutus — were slaughtered by the Rwandan military and Hutu militia. Thirty years after the genocide, Dallaire criticized world leaders for seemingly not learning from past atrocities and not going ‘beyond the talk’ to intervene. Dallaire, who was also a senator, said Canada has ‘lost that extraordinary position’ of an innovator and reliable actor when it comes to international diplomacy.
Documenting the Rwandan genocide
(Al Jazeera) On April 7, 1994, one of the most harrowing events in modern history began: the Rwandan genocide.
One hundred days of unfathomable slaughter in which an estimated 800,000-1,000,000 people were killed.
Rwandans were pitted against Rwandans, Hutu against Tutsi, neighbour against neighbour, and in some cases, family member against family member.
From grandmothers to infants, no one was spared – all dispatched to the next world by machete, machinegun or hand grenade.
Thirty years ago, Jack Picone was among the first international photographers to document the carnage.
He reflects on the journey he took in the grips of genocide, how ordinary Rwandans are finding healing and forgiveness, and the memories that still haunt him to this day.
The judicial legacy of the Rwandan genocide: 30 years of double standards
The international community’s efforts to prosecute perpetrators of core crimes remain selective and politicised.
Following the indignation of the international community, the United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to “prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law”. The ICTR indicted 93 individuals – three of whom remained at large – and delivered verdicts against perpetrators responsible for committing genocide. This was the first time in history, an international tribunal made such rulings.
As with its sister tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), ICTR’s emphasis on supranational jurisdiction aimed to contribute to a reconciliation process with the ultimate goal of helping Rwandans live side by side in peace again and deterring the perpetration of similar atrocities in the future.
What was considered a “cause of all humanity” for then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, must have seemed excessive to those countries who decided not to submit their territories to the ICC’s mandate – three of which (the United States, China and Russia) are the most prominent permanent members of the UN Security Council, the very entity that had initiated the movement towards international prosecution.
In the meantime, some European states had codified the principle of universal jurisdiction into domestic legislation, thus allowing their prosecutors to go after perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, even if such core crimes were committed abroad and even if offenders and victims were foreigners.

6 April
‘He killed my sister. Now I see his remorse’: the extraordinary stories of survivors of the Rwandan genocide who forgave their attackers
by Dick Wittenberg
(The Guardian) Half a million died in 100 days: neighbours attacked neighbours, children saw their families slaughtered. But 30 years on, many of the victims and perpetrators have forged reconciliations – even become friends. How did it happen?

5 April
New mass graves in Rwanda reveal cracks in reconciliation efforts, 30 years after the genocide
(AP) As Rwanda prepares to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the genocide next week, continuing discoveries of mass graves are a stark reminder not only of the country’s determination to reconcile with its grim past but also of the challenges it faces in aiming for lasting peace.

4 April
Macron to say France and allies could have stopped Rwanda genocide in 1994
French president marks 30th anniversary with video, airing Sunday, saying international community lacked will to stop the slaughter
(The Guardian) In a video message to be published on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the genocide, Macron will emphasise that “when the phase of total extermination against the Tutsis began, the international community had the means to know and act”, the presidency said on Thursday.
The president believes that at the time the international community already had historical experience of witnessing genocide with the Holocaust in the second world war and the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during the first world war.
Macron will say that “France, which could have stopped the genocide with its western and African allies, did not have the will” to do so, the official added.
The president will not be going to Kigali to attend commemorations of the genocide this Sunday alongside Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, but instead France will be represented by its foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné.

In a Rwandan reconciliation village, collaborative efforts among women give hope for unity
(AP) … The killings were ignited when a plane carrying then-President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down over Kigali. The Tutsi were blamed for downing the plane and killing the president. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis were killed by extremist Hutus in massacres that lasted over 100 days in 1994. Some moderate Hutus who tried to protect members of the Tutsi minority were also targeted.
At least 382 people live in Mbyo Reconciliation Village -a community of genocide perpetrators and survivors 40 kilometers (24 miles) outside the Rwandan capital of Kigali- which some Rwandans cite as an example of how people can peacefully coexist 30 years after the genocide.
More than half the residents of this reconciliation village are women, and their projects — which include a basket-weaving cooperative as well as a money saving program — have united so many of them that it can seem offensive to inquire into who is Hutu and who is Tutsi.
In Rwanda, a small East African country of 14 million people, women leaders have long been seen as a pillar of reconciliation, and Rwandans can now “see the benefits” of empowering women to fight the ideology behind genocide, said Yolande Mukagasana, a prominent writer and genocide survivor.
Two of three members of Mbyo Reconciliation Village’s dispute-resolution committee are women, and they have been helpful in resolving conflicts ranging from domestic disputes to communal disagreements, residents say.
…the village…was launched in 2005 as part of wider reconciliation efforts by Prison Fellowship Rwanda. The organization, which is affiliated with the Washington-based Prison Fellowship International, wanted to create opportunities for genocide survivors to heal in conditions where they can regularly talk to perpetrators. There are at least eight other reconciliation villages across Rwanda.


13 March
Kagame looking at ‘resolving’ detention of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero Rusesabagina
(Reuters) – Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday said there were discussions about “resolving” the fate of Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda” and is serving a 25-year sentence in Rwanda on terrorism charges.
Rusesabagina was sentenced in September 2021 over his ties to an organization opposed to Kagame’s rule. He denied all the charges and refused to take part in the trial that he and his supporters called a political sham.

11 March
Félicien Kabuga: Rwanda genocide trial halted over dementia claims
The trial of a suspected financier of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 has been put on hold at The Hague.
Félicien Kabuga, who is 90, was set to face trial after evading capture for 26 years, but his lawyers say he has dementia and is not fit to stand trial.
The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals agreed to a pause while his health was assessed.
He is alleged to have financed ethnic Hutu militias who slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The killings took place over just 100 days.


26 May
UN team helps nab Rwandan militia leader
The Rwandan militia leader accused of masterminding the 100-day genocide in 1994 of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus has been captured. Bernard Munyagishari — who had been at large for some 17 years — was seized in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a joint operation with the Congolese army and a team from the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. BBC (5/26)

August 5 – 6, 2008
Génocide au Rwanda : Kigali menace de poursuivre des “responsables” français
Le long rapport présenté mardi, qui accuse de nouveau Paris d’avoir activement “participé” au génocide de 1994, est “une bonne base pour d’éventuelles procédures légales”, selon le ministre de la justice rwandais.
Paris était “au courant des préparatifs” du génocide de 1994 au Rwanda, a “participé aux principales initiatives” de sa mise en place et “à sa mise en exécution” : telles sont les conclusions, présentées mardi 5 août, du rapport de 500 pages de la commission d’enquête rwandaise sur le rôle supposé de la France dans le génocide, qui avait entamé ses travaux en avril 2006 et dont Paris a rejeté toute légitimité. Si ces accusations ne sont pas nouvelles de la part de Kigali, le gouvernement rwandais laisse cette fois entendre qu’il poursuivra en justice “des responsables politiques et militaires français”, responsables de “complicités” attestées par “la persistance, la détermination, le caractère massif du soutien français à la politique rwandaise des massacres” selon ce rapport rédigé en français.
Senior French officials involved in Rwandan genocide: report
(CBC) Rwanda has accused senior French officials, including the country’s former president and prime minister, of being involved in its 1994 genocide.
France knew preparations for the genocide were underway and even contributed to them, according to accusations in a 500-page report compiled by an independent commission appointed by the Rwandan government.

Rwanda accuses France over genocide
(Al Jazeera) Rwanda has accused France of having an active, direct role in the African country’s 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people were killed.
A report commissioned by the Rwandan government named 33 senior French military and political figures, among them Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister, and Francois Mitterrand the late former president, who it said should be prosecuted.
It also accused French troops of directly taking part in the slaughter.
“The French support was of a political, military, diplomatic and logistic nature,” the report said.

Australia to examine Rwanda report
(Sydney Morning Herald) Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says Australia will carefully examine allegations French forces played an active role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
A report unveiled on Wednesday by the Rwandan government names French political and military officials, including former president Francois Mitterrand as having a direct role in the tragedy.
The 500-page report alleged that France was aware of preparations for the genocide, contributed to planning the massacres and actively took part in the killing.

French politicians accused of assisting Rwandan genocide
· Investigators say Paris armed Hutu extremists
· 500-page report follows two-year inquiry
(The Guardian)The Rwandan government has called for the prosecution of a number of senior French politicians over the 1994 genocide of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis, after releasing a report from an official commission that accuses the former president François Mitterand and more than 30 senior French officials of aiding the killers.

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