Kwibuka24: CNLG decries lack of expertise to preserve Genocide remains

As the country continues to commemorate, for the 24th time, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, survivors and other partners continue to search for the best way to preserve the remains of the victims.

The remains are mainly those that were not buried but kept at different memorial centres, as a way of keeping the memory alive.

Though the preservation has in the past been frustrated by budgetary constraints, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana, told The New Times yesterday that that is no longer the case and instead pointed to the issue of lack of preservation experts.

“The issue is no longer budget, what we are struggling with right now is lack of experts in this field. What we need are skills.  Another issue challenge is that most of the preservatives that are used in preservation of the clothes that were worn by the victims when they were being killed are not manufactured in Rwanda,” he said.

Bizimana, however, said that, currently, with support from Germany’s Hamburg University, preservation of remains plus such articles as clothes, has kicked off, starting with the Murambi Genocide Memorial Site.

“The University sends experts at least four to five times annually to train CNLG staff. When it comes to preserving the clothes, we work with experts from US’ Pennsylvania University. So far, with the clothes, we have kicked off the preservation exercise, beginning with the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Site where 40,308 victims lay,” he said.

Bizimana says that his office continues to search for more partners to work with because the two universities, though instrumental, are not enough.

In a telephone interview, the Executive Secretary of the IBUKA, Naphtal Ahishakiye, said that it was important to preserve all the evidence of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi but also acknowledged how costly the exercise is.

“When a study was done on how much it would cost to preserve the remains, we found out that it was a lot of money. We are happy that the government decided that the national memorial sites would be the focus of the whole exercise and that the plan is already in motion,” he said.

In the past, remains of the Genocide victims were deteriorating raising fears that if nothing was done, they might not last another 20 years.

In 2008, the Government made it mandatory for all victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi to be buried in state-funded memorials.

At the time, the Government said that this was necessary to ensure that the memorials exhibit undeniable evidence of the Genocide that can be used to teach future generations about the dangers of bad governance and genocide ideology. 



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