Remains of over 62,000 Genocide victims to get decent burial

Rusororo residents arrange remains of Genocide victims exhumed from a mass grave in April last year. File.

Remains of over 62,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi recovered from areas around Kabuga trading centre last year, will be laid to rest later this month at Nyanza Genocide Memorial.

The memorial is located in Kicukiro District.

The remains, which were discovered in Kabuga between April and September last year, will, according to Naphtal Ahishakiye, the Executive Secretary of Ibuka, be interred on March 29.

Kabuga lies on the Kigali-Rwamagana highway, and here, over 40 mass graves were discovered beneath houses.

According to Ahishakiye, the fact that 25 years after the Genocide, thousands remain in mass graves in unknown areas all over the country, shows the journey ahead in terms of achieving full reconciliation.

“For people who killed these victims to come forward and reveal the whereabouts of the mass graves so that they get decent burial, is a major step towards achieving full unity and reconciliation.”

“Many Genocide survivors are still waiting for a chance to get the remains of their loved ones so they are buried with dignity and it is a shame that many of them are still unaccounted for,” he said.

He said that the only people who know where the mass graves are, are the convicts.

He said that close to 9,000 convicts will be completing their sentences in the next five years.

Opening up to show where the mass graves are should be part of their efforts to not only reintegrate in their respective communities but also reconciling with those whose relatives they were convicted of killing, he said.

According to Fidèle Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, reintegration of Genocide convicts who complete their sentence should contribute towards unity and reconciliation.

He said that both survivors and the convicts must be prepared early enough before they meet.

Breaking down the numbers, Ndayisaba said that this year, 807 convicts will have completed their sentences, 922 in 2020, and 1,496 in 2021.

Over 3,600 will complete their sentences in 2022 while 2012 are set to be released in 2023.

Furthermore, 250 convicts on crimes related to promoting genocide ideology and 28 sentenced for divisionism and ethnic discrimination will have completed their sentences in the next five years.

He said that the figures are part of 27,662 Genocide convicts who are still in prison, 506 of genocide ideology and 71 of divisionism and ethnic discrimination.

“We have to fight anything that threaten the gains made in unity and reconciliation,” he said, emphasising that any effort to help survivors get the remains of their loved ones is welcome.”

“The genocide convicts are the primary people that should show where victims were dumped. We need to give them decent burial,” he said.