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Rwanda genocide denials under fire on 29th anniversary

The denials of killings targeting one ethnic group - often made within and outside Africa - are seen as a “hollow narrative propagated by revisionists”. Denials against the Rwanda genocide that claimed nearly a million lives in 1994 have come under fire. By Zephania Ubwani

Rwandan President Paul Kagame delivers a speech during the 29th commemoration ceremony for the 1994 Genocide at Gisozi Genocide Memorial in Kigali on April 7, 2023.

The denials of killings targeting one ethnic group - often made within and outside Africa - are seen as a “hollow narrative propagated by revisionists”.

“The denial is unacceptable because we are aware of the atrocities,” said Ms Grace Kakai,the deputy registrar of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR).

She said during the 29th commemoration of the massacres that shook the world, that the killings, mainly targeting the Tutsi ethnic community, indeed took place.

“The African Court acknowledges the genocide. The genocide atrocities are evident,” she said during an event held at the East African Community (EAC) headquarters.

Ms Kakai said the genocide which took place in Rwanda 29 years ago was “the most serious affront to human rights”. She added that despite Rwanda having pulled out of the African Court’s Declaration on NGOs, the judicial organ would stand “with the people of Rwanda”.

Justice Nestory Kayobera, the President of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), said he was surprised by such denials.

“Some people say there was no genocide yet in front of them are hundreds of dead bodies,” he wondered.

“It was one of the worst atrocities. We hope it will not happen again in states surrounding Rwanda and beyond,” he pointed out.

Justice Kayobera renewed EACJ’s commitment to uphold human rights and adherence to the rule of law and accountability.

In regard to the masterminds and perpetrators of the genocide, he stressed; “Judiciary must do its job. Criminals must be punished”.

Arumeru District Commissioner Emmanuela Kaganda said during the 1994 Rwanda mayhem, thousands of innocent people were hacked to death on ethnic lines.

“They were brutally murdered for no other reason than their ethnic belonging,” she said, noting that no effort should be spared in the fight against genocide ideology and revisionism.

Mr Daniel Murenzi, the chairperson of the Rwanda Diaspora in Arusha/Moshi, insisted that the genocide against the Tutsi was not spontaneous but planned.

He said since most of the massacres were massively carried out by the youths, the brutal killings “tarnished the image of the youths”.

Mr Murenzi challenged the youths that such horrific murders do not happen again, not only in Rwanda but elsewhere in the world.

EAC secretary-general Peter Mathuki all humans were created equal each with certain unalienable rights that include the right to life.

“Therefore, no one has the right to take away one’s life as was done 29 years ago from the innocent men and women of Rwanda,” he pointed out.

The Registrar of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals or the Mechanism, Mr Abubacar Tambadou, said the ongoing trial of Felicien Kabuga was an eye opener of anti-genocide fight.

The 89-year-old former businessman in Rwanda is the alleged mastermind and financier of the murders which were triggered by the killing of former Rwanda leader Juvenal Habyarimana.

The genocide led to the hunt and prosecution of the alleged perpetrators. Scores were apprehended and 61 were convicted by the now closed down International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Author: MANZI
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