The best way to fight against genocide ideology is to put in place a comprehensive international strategy to attack it on each of its seven stages, Jean-Pierre Karabaranga, Rwanda’s envoy to the Netherlands has said.
During a memorial attended by more than 300 people at The Hague to mark the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, last Friday, the envoy observed that more and more people are still attempting to distort Rwanda’s history and deny the Genocide.
Some of these people, he said, come from rich powerful nations and they are trying to do so for different reasons but many are linked to those who committed the Genocide and their plans are not yet completed.
“The best way to fight against genocide ideology is to put in place a comprehensive international strategy to attack it on each of the seven stages. Genocide perpetrators must be hunted down across the world, then arrested, tried before relevant tribunals,” Karabaranga said.
“But what we have seen in the last years, is that the prosecution of Genocide suspects is too slow and in some countries they are not even indicted, they live in total impunity.”
Karabaranga, however, thanked the Dutch government, for showing a good example by prosecuting two Genocide suspects there and for having extradited two others to Rwanda to face justice.
Last year, the Netherlands deported Jean-Claude Iyamuremye and Jean-Baptiste Mugimba, over genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the 1994 Genocide.
“This is a good example that other countries in Europe should follow. But also here, we know that many Genocide fugitives are still on the run. More efforts should be put in trying all those who live on the soil of this beautiful country, the Netherlands, which hosts the International City of Justice. The Hague should not be a safe haven for Genocide fugitives.”
The audience included Yoka Brandt, Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pauline Krikke, the mayor of The Hague, and diplomas.
Karabaranga recalled that Genocide is a crime against humanity that has no borders and is not time-bound.
“That is why the world should continue to go after all those who committed genocide wherever they may be and bring them to justice.”
Kigali has issued 691 indictments to 32 countries globally seeking the arrest and trial of Genocide suspects. Eight countries have prosecuted suspects in their domestic jurisdiction while four countries deported or extradited suspects to Rwanda but 20 still have not acted.
The commemoration of the Genocide provides an opportune moment to take stock of progress, both at national and international levels, in holding to account those who planned, ordered, and carried out these horrific crimes, according to the envoy.
“In that regard, we call upon countries to start a new momentum for prosecution of those suspects in their own countries or extradite them to Rwanda to face justice,” he said.
“The world cannot prevent possible future genocide without punishing previous ones. Where the process has started, it must continue until the end. Genocide criminals and suspects should not find any safe haven in any place in this world and certainly not in a beautiful country like the Netherlands.”
On the same day, in Abuja, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Stanislas Kamanzi, addressed a similar event. He made a renewed call for the international community to stand “firm and clear, against the ever-looming threat of genocide commission” and for commensurate engagement in the rejection of its ideology, and the exposure of those who shamelessly indulge in acts of denial and revisionism.
The commemorative theme this year, “Remember the Genocide Against the Tutsi - Fight Genocide Ideology - Build on Our Progress,” he said, embodies the aspiration of the people of Rwanda to build a resilient, all inclusive and prosperous nation.
Kamanzi said: “For Rwandans, it articulates a logical challenge to sustain the successful process of national reconciliation, rule of law based governance of the Country and socio-economic development, as an unshakable foundation for the total defeat of the genocide ideology and its advocates.”
For the international community, he said, it is also a renewed call to expose those who shamelessly indulge in acts of denial and revisionism, including many of whom actually committed genocide, currently enjoying comfortable hospitality in many countries across the world, yet they should be brought to justice.
“Against the unacceptable indifference and absence of clarity that have consistently characterised most of the influential global players, the theme is an urge for continued support to those nations that have risen up, and are more than ever determined in this fight,” Karabaranga said.