Bringing Genocide suspects to account can help settle the question of reparations

As we approach the 24th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the issue of reparations for the over one million victims is again being revisited.

In normal circumstances that responsibility would have fallen on the Genocidal government and its key supporters. But that is out of question.

Usually governments assume responsibilities of their predecessors, such as financial obligations to international financial institutions. But the current government cannot take responsibility per se because IT STOPPED the Genocide.

What the Government did was to seek justice for the victims as well as taking care of their welfare such as setting up FARG, a fund to help survivors; they got free education, medical assistance and housing.

But the buck should not stop with the Government because some elements of the international community also bear some responsibility, especially the United Nations and its peacekeepers and governments that directly gave support to the Genocidal regime and its members before, during and after the Genocide, such as France.

But the reparations Rwandans seek from all the major players in the 1994 tragedy should not be confused with compensation. No price is high enough for even a single soul among the over one million who perished.

If survivors could receive justice, that could be reparation enough. If countries could stop shielding Genocide suspects ­­– some of who were even indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) but are strolling around in European cities with impunity – that would be reparation enough.

Reparation can come in many forms, but the most important is to help rebuild the lives of survivors, bringing perpetrators to account and setting up mechanism so that Genocide never occurs again, anywhere.

 

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