CNLG, German experts in joint effort to preserve remains of Genocide victims

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) and German experts are exploring ways of partnering in conserving the remains of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Students from the School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda also attended the meeting. / Frederic Byumvuhore.
Students from the School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda also attended the meeting. / Frederic Byumvuhore.

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) and German experts are exploring ways of partnering in conserving the remains of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

The initiative is backed by the Institute of Legal Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg in Germany. 

At a meeting in Kicukiro District, yesterday, CNLG highlighted the country’s efforts in protecting the remains of Genocide victims since 1994.

The efforts include enabling decent reburial of victims and construction of memorial sites in different parts of the country.

Dr Jean-Damascène Gasanabo, the Director General of National Research and Documentation Centre on Genocide at the CNLG, noted that conservation of the remains of the victims ensures the protection and preservation of the memory of the Genocide.

He said that the discussions would help them find sustainable methods to conserve the remains. 

“Our emphasis is to see how we can partner with the experts from the University Medical Centre Hamburg in Germany to help us find future sustainable methods of conserving the remains of 1994 Genocide victims,” Gasanabo said.

“We want the remains to be protected and conserve evidence of the Genocide. Preservation will contribute to future research about the history of Rwanda.”

He said participants were to share experience with the visiting German experts. 

Prof. Dr Klaus Puschel, one of the German experts, said that their delegation was ready to share their experiences on how to conserve human remains.

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Prof. Dr Klaus Puschel.

“We had similar problems in Europe, especially in Germany during the second World War. Millions of people were killed in the war. After the war, we thought about what to do. In Germany, we do not have remains of the victims because nobody was preserved. We just have some garments, people’s belongings and a lot of pictures and we have established a lot of museums,” he said.

“We had the same case of genocide, that’s why we came to Rwanda to understand the whole issue of the Genocide. There are human remains and there is a need for care with special preservation. We are not only concentrating on human remains but also other things like photos and videos.”

Why preserve remains 

CNLG officials outlined the importance of conservation of the remains in protecting the history of the country.

They said restoring and preserving genocide victims’ remains, textiles, and documents reclaims the lost identity and humanity of each victim.

Preserved artifacts also represent undeniable proof of the genocide, that’s vital in confronting Genocide denial, among others.

The preservation also gives the next generations an opportunity to learn from the past in order to prevent future crimes against humanity.

The meeting was also attended by students from the School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda; Rwanda National Police officers, Professors from local universities, among others.

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