The Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye has made a strong case for publishing more books on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, mainly by documenting wiped out families as part of efforts to preserve history for posterity.
Once documented, these accounts, especially firsthand testimonies on the cruelty of the Genocide, will also serve as a major tool in the fight against denial of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
He was speaking on Saturday during a night vigil in Nyanza District in honour of 15,593 Tutsi families who were totally exterminated during 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The families, from across the country, were made up of 68,871 members.
The list is not yet conclusive as research for more such families continues.
The process to document the wiped out families is being championed by the association of graduate student survivors of the Genocide (GAERG).
“This organisation that is documenting the history of wiped out families is mainly composed of youth. They have a good initiative to emulate what other youth did to liberate the country and stop the Genocide,” said Busingye, applauding the initiative of the young survivors.
A family is said to have been wiped out when the father, mother and all children were all killed.
The minister stressed that commemorative events and publishing books on testimonies are the tools that government and individuals should leverage to prevent genocide from ever happening again and fight its ideology and denial.
“I thank so much members of GAERG who have so far published books about their testimonies regarding 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Those books are huge contributions to raise knowledge about genocide history and its long-term preservation since there are still people denying it and we must fight them,” he said.
Busingye noted that if genocide history is preserved well through such books, the next generation will have a firm foundation to sustain the achievements registered in the country, and take the nation to another level.
He said that preservation of the events during the Genocide, especially in areas such as the former Butare prefecture where its masterminds were the elite, including lecturers at the former National University of Rwanda, is crucial as it shows how intellectuals masterminded genocide.
“The genocide perpetrated in former Butare prefecture and elsewhere by the so-called intellectuals, most of whom had PhDs, high ranking military officers and top politicians such as Theodore Sindukubwabo, who was president of the genocidal and Jean Kambanda, who was the Prime Minister,” he said.
Both Sindikubwabo and Kambanda hailed from this region.
Minister Busingye also said that joint efforts have to continue to heal Genocide survivors’ trauma and commended GAERG’s healing centre that is particularly looking at trauma cases involving those born after the Genocide.
Figures show that depression among Genocide survivors stands at 35 per cent.
He urged GAERG members to continue research on wiped-out families, set up a better database that could be used for other research work and publish different books based on such history as well.
Egide Gatari, the president of GAERG, said that the census of wiped-out families started 11 years ago and the exercise. He said ultimately, their findings will be published in a book.
He said that preliminary findings indicate that Karongi District has the highest number of wiped-out families with 2,839 families, composed of 13,371 members, followed by Nyamagabe with 1,535 exterminated families with 5,790 members.
“Burera has no wiped out family and Nyagatare District has only one wiped out family. This implies the efforts of RPF-Inkotanyi,” he said.
Prof. Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors, reiterated the call to arrest all Genocide perpetrators roaming different parts of the world.