Rwanda condemns Belgium-based genocide negationist organisation

Rwanda accuses all the speakers for sharing denialist positions and strive to stain the memory of the victims and erase the traces of “this last genocide of the 20th century”.
National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) Executive Secretary, Jean Damascene Bizimana during a past news briefing. Sam Ngendahimana.

The Government on Friday strongly denounced the actions and activities of the Seth Sendashonga Institute (IScid), a Belgium based organisation that facilitates debates which seek to repeatedly deny the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“The Seth Sendashonga Institute (IScid) is organising a conference-debate on the denial of genocide perpetrated against Tutsi on 23 February 2019 in Brussels. This association created on May 1, 1999 in Brussels is clearly a forum of deniers, the common denominator of which is the propagation of genocide denialist ideas,” reads part of the statement from the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG).

“This denial conference held two months before the commemoration of the genocide committed against the Tutsi is more than ever a proof of the existence of gravediggers of memory who coalesce to erase the memory traces of this genocide consecrated by all the authorised international bodies,” adds the statement signed by CNLG’s Executive Secretary, Jean-Damascene Bizimana.

The body is organising a conference that will feature speakers, including Filip Reyntjens, Faustin Twagiramungu, Jean-Baptiste Nkuliyingoma, Johan Swinnen, Gustave Mbonyumutwa, and Dr Innocent Biruka.

Rwanda accuses all the speakers for sharing denialist positions and strive to stain the memory of the victims and erase the traces of “this last genocide of the 20th century”, adding that they also defend the false formulation of “Rwandan genocide” with the aim of attempting to enthrone an imaginary genocide allegedly committed against Hutu.

According to the government, the thread running through Filip Reyntjens’ publications since the end of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi is a web of lies and falsifications of history.

The Commission highlights that one of Reyntjens’ strategies is to use all manner of manipulations, such as books, articles and colloquia to demonize Tutsi victims, to attack the leadership of the country incarnated by the Rwandan Patriotic Front and thus overthrow the responsibility for the genocide by attributing it to the Tutsi.

This, they say, is the same case of the former Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda from August 1990 to April 1994, Johan Swinnen.

“In the most abject way, Johan Swinnen knowingly interferes with the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi and the massacres. But before the genocide, he was in Kigali flirting with the regime of Habyarimana, the planner of the genocide,” the government says.

It added; “During these years, he became aware of all the preparations for the genocide and either ignored it or was a passive accomplice of the genocidaires. Rather than questioning himself today, he prefers to collaborate with the deniers, to offer a rereading of the history of Rwanda by denying the specificity of the extermination of the Tutsi to establish a wrong version of the facts”.

Rwanda compares this recycling of history as what Gustave Mbonyumutwa and his negationist association Jambo ASBL, also does.

Gustave is the grandson of Dominique Mbonyumutwa, Rwanda’s first President and one of the key architect of the so-called Permehutu ideology.

The case of Jambo

Jambo was created in Belgium by children or relatives of genocidaires sentenced by international justice by Rwandan courts for their involvement in the genocide committed against Tutsi.

The members of Jambo employ many strategies, ranging from the organisation of denial conferences, candidacies to municipal elections, filing complaints that aim to create a judicial forum where deniers from all sides would be invited to dwell on their unhealthy theories.

Faustin Twagiramungu, a veteran of denial conferences and statements, is also among the speakers of the day.

He proposes to ramble over the Rwandan genocide terminology. He says that in Rwanda, there have been clashes between the majority and the ethnic minority, that the majority are right, that minorities are wrong. He explicitly denies the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.

Twagiramugu also pretends to ignore that he observed the unfolding of this genocide, and that if he is alive, he owes it to the RPF who saved him from the genocidaires who tracked him down to eliminate him as an opponent of the Habyarimana regime, the statement says.

This is the same for Jean-Baptiste Nkuliyingoma, one of the tenors of the Republican Democratic Movement MDR-PARMEHUTU, this extremist political party which, created in 1959, was revived in 1991 by the nostalgic of ethnic hatred.

Many leaders of the Party including Shingiro Mbonyumutwa and Jean-Baptiste Nkuliyingoma, former journalist of the state radio of the single party MRND, still embody today a divisive ideology that they seek to perpetuate in Belgium in order to blur the preparations for the 25th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi.

“In sum, these facts show that conference-debates such as that organised by the Sendashonga Institute in Belgium on February 23, 2019 is part of denialist activities organized by individuals nostalgic of the former genocidal regime. They must therefore be denounced and the organizers unmasked,” the statement reads in part.

CNLG commends in advance all those who recognise and act for the dignity of the victims and survivors of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, encouraging Rwandans and friends of Rwanda to join forces in the fight against genocide denial.