Six years after the Gacaca courts closed after trying 1.2 million cases related to the Genocide against the Tutsi, a total of 1,538 people convicted by the semi-traditional courts remain at large.
This was stated by the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) on Tuesday as the commission tabled their activity report for the year 2017/18 and projections for the coming year, before parliament.
Some of these convicts are still in the country and their addresses known, others are known to have fled to other districts but their proper address not clear, while the others have fled to other countries, the commission says.
Presenting the report to a joint chamber of parliament, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners in CNLG, Dr Emmanuel Havugimana, said they had resolved to make a list of all the convicts still at large from each district and they would enlist support of different institutions to apprehend the convicts so that they can serve their sentences.
“The first category is composed of 167 people whose address is known, the other category is composed of 1,072 who escaped to other districts in the country, the third category is made up of 95 people whose address is unknown and the last category is made up of 204 people who escaped to other countries,” he explained.
Havugimina said that CNLG continues to put together their files adding that in the 2017/2018 fiscal year alone, 358 files were sent to the justice department so that they can be followed up.
Children with unknown background
Meanwhile, Havugimana said that the search for families of children who survived the Genocide whose origin is unknown is still ongoing.
The lack of identity for some of these children has over the years hampered their access to some of the social amenities accorded to Genocide survivors, according to the commission.
“Efforts continue to be put into removing all obstacles that block these children from being FARG beneficiaries so that whoever needs help can access it. Some of these children live in orphanages and others are being raised by different families,” he said.
FARG is a social fund for support to Genocide survivors that was set up by government.
In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, a taskforce composed of the Ministry of Local Government, FARG and CNLG was formed to follow up on the issues raised by members of “Hope for Future Family” (HFF) who do not know their families,” he said.
In two meetings held in April and May this year, the committee agreed that placing these youths in homes would be done following the normal procedures in which vulnerable Rwandans are given shelter while other amenities would be provided basing on the need.
The taskforce also established that the National Identification Agency (NIDA) is clear about the fact these children’s details concerning their parents and their places of birth are unknown until their families are found.
MP Damascene Murara said that the issues regarding the property that was owned by the survivors need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
“Imagine someone who was 50 years old at the time of the Genocide against the Tutsi is now 74. It is worrying that more than two decades later, the property issue involving the survivors has never been fixed,” he said.
Meanwhile, MP Christine Muhongayire called for the closure of the football pitch opposite Nyundo Memorial Site in Rubavu District to ensure the site is preserved, saying that this was a scene of massacre during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Ceremonies are held at this playground and I just feel that it’s wrong. There is need to speed up the discussions between the (Catholic Church) diocese there and the district authorities so that the area is closed off since it’s just next to the memorial site,” she said.