Global universities urged to offer courses on Genocide against the Tutsi

Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye on Thursday urged representatives of over 30 world universities and research institutions to provide their students with in-depth courses on the Genocide against the Tutsi.

He was speaking from California State University in United States during an International Conference on Genocide.

This, in addition to giving students the appropriate support to understand the 1994 Genocide, is important so that the younger generations have sufficient knowledge to understand what happened in Rwanda, with the goal of preventing other atrocities from occurring.

The three-day conference has attracted over 500 people.

Minister Busingye speaks from California State University in United States during an International Conference on Genocide.

Busingye said: “We welcome the fact that courses on the Holocaust are taught in universities around the world; and this must continue for future generations.”

“It is equally important that other internationally recognized genocides are taught globally, so that the younger generations have sufficient knowledge to understand what happened in 1994, with the goal of preventing other atrocities from occurring.”

The Minister told those attending the conference that the National Commission for the Fighting against Genocide (CNLG) is ready to welcome researchers and support them in this regard.

The conference, which is the fifth of this kind, is being held under the theme “Forms of Genocide Across the Globe: Challenges, Responses and Accountability.”

“The conference is focussing on the collective memory of genocide including denial, impunity, arrests in aftermath, survivor testimony and prevention. The first international genocide conference to Sacramento State was initiated by Professor Alexandre Kimenyi in 1998,” Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the CNLG Executive Secretary, told The New Times Friday.

Kimenyi is a Rwanda-born US scholar who died in 2010. At the time of his death, he was a professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University, and organised the first of such meeting in 1998.

Bizimana said: “For us in CNLG this [the conference] is a good way of informing people in international universities about the Genocide committed against the Tutsi, discussing and sharing ideas with researchers in America so that they know the truth and get encouraged to do more research and write about the Genocide against the Tutsi.”

“CNLG has a partnership with four universities in the USA and we are looking to partner with other universities represented here in this international conference.”

Officials from Rwanda attending the three-day international conference include representatives from the University of Rwanda (UR), CNLG, Imbuto Foundation, and private practitioners in law.

On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, Busingye thanked the Ethnics Studies Department of California State University for organizing the conference in collaboration with CNLG.

In about five months, he noted, Rwanda and the world will commemorate the 25 years since the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.

“This symposium is an opportunity for experienced as well as new researchers better understanding of this Genocide, and build up the store of knowledge on this issue.”

On January 26, this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating April 7 of each year as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda, in 1994.

This resolution modified another adopted on December 23, 2003, which, Busingye explained, created some confusion in its title because it spoke of “International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda" without naming which genocide it was.

“There are no crimes without perpetrators and victims; it is therefore important when we talk about the gravity of genocide, to state the facts, to qualify for the honour of the victims, and also for the historical clarity.”

He explained that all genocides come from an ideology of hatred, segregation, division, rejection of others and violence. 

“This is taught, disseminated and publicly inculcated with the intention of extermination of a particular group of people. It is this ideology that lawyers call the intention of committing genocide, that distinguishes genocide from other crimes against humanity.”

This ideology of hate that precedes genocide, he said, is transmitted in advance to mobilise.

And, he added, it is transmitted during the perpetration of the genocide to maximise participation in the killings and finally, it is transmitted after the perpetration of the genocide to deny the facts, distort its reality, denature its specificity, in order to discredit the honour and memory of victims and vindicate perpetrators.



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