The Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, has called on the United Nations to intervene in reining in the growing list of groups and individuals who continue to deny the facts around the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He made the appeal during the ‘Colloquium on the UN and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda’ on Wednesday, April 28. Quoting research professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention Gregory Stanton’s stages of genocide, Busingye said that denial is usually the last stage and it is damaging. “The denial we are seeing today is precisely the last stage. It harms Rwanda, survivors and history irreparably,” he said, “The UN Security Council should consider adopting a resolution condemning any denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda as it did with the holocaust.” Busingye, who is also Rwanda’s Attorney General, expressed concerns over the increasing genocide denial, saying it is crosscutting among the old and young generation, Rwandans, foreigners, academics, researchers, journalists and those who identify themselves as human rights defenders. “This trend is worrying and concerning,” he noted, adding that “The deniers are using different platforms from online platforms to academic and formal gatherings. On this particular point, we would also wish to call the attention of the UN and seek its full cooperation in dealing with this growing phenomenon.” Criminalise genocide denial The Chief Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Serge Brammertz also called on the United Nations to criminalise genocide denial due to the effect it has on preventing another genocide. “Every prosecution of any genocide perpetrator anywhere in the world is not a reminder of the truth of the genocide but also the best possible response to genocide denial and its high time we make denial a criminal offence worldwide as well,” he said. The Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu reminded that genocide denial sets a stage for another genocide. “We need to support Rwanda as it seeks accountability but also ensure that the facts around the genocide are never disputed or denied because denial sets a stage for another genocide and wounds the victims and survivors afresh,” she said. Justice for victims The UN’s failure to intervene in Rwanda during the genocide, Busingye said, was not based on lack of information but lack of will. He added that political interests and institutional stalling had been put before the lives of more than a million who perished. However, he pointed out that the UN can respond to the consequences of the genocide and bring perpetrators to justice. “There is still a big number of genocide suspects who remain at large. Some have known addresses and others do not. These can be found on different continents in different states members of the United Nations,” he said. Commending IRMCT He commended the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunal for considering the gravity of the crime or crimes for which a prisoner was convicted as one of the critical factors in assessing a request for early release.