Kwibuka25: Speaker Mukabalisa calls for extradition of Genocide fugitives

Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa has urged countries around the world to arrest and extradite Genocide fugitives.

This, she said, will not only serve justice for the over a million people killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, but it is also necessary to give closure to the survivors of the slaughter.

She was speaking Thursday during a night vigil in honour of the over 12,000 victims interred at Nyanza Genocide memorial in Kicukiro District.

“It is sad that, as we mourn our loved ones, we still have so many Genocide perpetrators roaming foreign countries,” the head of the Chamber of Deputies said.

“We thank countries which have arrested and extradited Genocide fugitives or even tried them but there are still so many out there who need to be brought to book,” added the PL party president.

The vigil was attended by thousands of mourners from all walks of life, particularly survivors from the Kicukiro area.

Figures from National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) show that at least 1,000 indicted Genocide suspects remain free, with most of them suspected to be living in African and European countries.

Mukabalisa said that countries need to validate a UN Security Council Resolution that affirmed that a genocide was committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda, by ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to book.

“Worse still, those Genocide fugitives are the same people who continue to spread   genocide ideology and denial of the same atrocities they committed,” she said.

“This is something we must all fight, especially our youth, using all tools available to us, especially technology,” she said.

Mukabalisa also said there was need to adequately document the events of 1994, saying that this will ensure that future generations learn about the Genocide and other barbaric events that befell the country, and ensure that such does not ever happen again.

“Writing helps preserve the memory of genocide,” the speaker said.

Documentation will also serve as a vital tool to counter denial or revisionism of the Genocide against the Tutsi, Mukabalisa added.

She urged all Rwandans to support Genocide survivors – both morally and otherwise –, especially those that still face severe consequences of the atrocities.

Mukabalisa, herself a survivor of the Genocide, saluted forces of RPF-Inkotanyi, who gave their all to stop the Genocide and, against all odds, and have restore hope among survivors.

Addressing the mourners, Prof. Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of Ibuka, the umbrella body for Genocide survivors, called out countries that still offer support elements that perpetrated the Genocide and those who deny it or bent on derailing Rwanda from its progress path.

Most of these negative elements, he said, harbour the intention of returning to Rwanda in a violent way to “complete their ‘unfinished business' of genocide.

He commended countries that have recently taken a strong stance against Genocide denial by adopting legislations that recognise the Genocide committed against the Tutsi.

He named Canada as one such country and recognised Belgium’s recent announcement that it will later this month enact a law criminalizing denial of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Dusingizemungu also welcomed France’s recent move to investigate its own role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

“This is a positive step forward and, as survivors, we expect nothing but the truth to come out of this initiative,” he said.

The vigil was preceded by a Walk to Remember that started from the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC)-Kigali – formerly ETO-Kicukiro, to the Nyanza memorial, to reflect the 3km walk that many among the victims laid to rest here were forced to take before they were killed on April 11, 1994.

Thousands of Tutsi who had taken refuge at ET0-Kicukiro were slaughtered by Interahamwe militia and then government forces after a UN contingent of Belgian peacekeepers withdrew from the compound and left the country altogether.

During the commemoration event on Thursday several survivors shared testimonies of what happened on that fateful day and thanked the current government for stopping the killings, and fostering peace and reconciliation.