Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, the President of Ibuka, an umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors, has said that Rwanda was counting on the collaboration of the international justice community to bring Genocide perpetrators to justice.
He was speaking last night at a Night Vigil at Amahoro National Stadium which brought together thousands of Rwandans, leaders from across the world, diplomats, government officials, and friends of Rwanda.
The Night Vigil was preceded by a ‘Walk to Remember’, which was led by President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
President Kagame, Secretary-General of La Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo, and Hervé Berville, a French Member of Parliament with Rwandan origin during Sunday’s Walk-to-Remember, an annual event that signifies the tribulations faced by Genocide victims and survivors during the Genocide against the Tutsi. / Village Urugwiro
La Francophonie Secretary-General Louise Mushikiwabo, and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during candle-lighting session at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali during a night vigil on Sunday. / Village Urugwiro
President Kagame, First Lady Jeannette Kagame and leaders, including foreign dignitaries, joined the youth for the Walk-to-Remember that started at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura through the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali. / Village Urugwiro
Casmir Yasipi Uwahirwe, First Runners-up for Miss Rwanda 2019 contest, and other youths born after the Genocide against the Tutsi during the Walk-to-Remember on Sunday. / Village Urugwiro
Dusingizemungu said that Rwanda has made tremendous progress for the past twenty-five years, a journey he said that those who participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are unhappy to see and are doing a lot to derail.
“The entire international community should collaborate to make sure that they [perpetrators] are brought to justice. We see no reason why this should not be done,” he said.
He particularly said that Rwanda was counting on the support of Judge Carmel Agius, the new President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), to help bring to book those who haven’t had their day in court.
“Early release of those who masterminded the Genocide (by MICT), acquitting them, reducing their sentences and not collaborating to bring others to book, has made us grieve more,” he noted.
President Kagame helps a group of youths to have their candles lit as the vigil night kicked off at Amahoro National Stadium Sunday evening. / Village Urugwiro
Political and military leaders, including those from other countries, hold handles at the night vigil at Amahoro National Stadium on Sunday. / Village Urugwiro
Thousands of mourners, mostly youths, participated in the Walk-to-Remember session, which started from the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura to the Amahoro National Stadium in Remera. / Village Urugwiro
The event attracted thousands of youths, many of whom were born after the Genocide. / Village Urugwiro
Judge Agius, who had been in Rwanda for nearly a week, was part of the Night Vigil.
Rwanda has in the recent past contested the early release of Genocide convicts, including the most recent case of Aloys Simba.
Dusingizemungu also spoke about France’s move to investigate its role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron appointed a team of researchers and historians to look into the archives of France’s actions in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Our hope is that the new commission established by Macron to probe France’s role in Genocide against the Tutsi is indeed comprised of experts,” he noted.
Many friends of Rwanda participated in the annual event. / Village Urugwiro
First Lady Jeannette Kagame was among the leaders that took part in the walk. / Village Urugwiro
Senate President Bernard Makuza (right) and Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente also joined thousands in the walk that preceded a vigil later in the evening. / Village Urugwiro
A vigil was kept in honour of Genocide victims, at Amahoro National Stadium Sunday evening. / Village Urugwiro
Dusingizemungu indicated that there were countries siding with those who perpetrated Genocide and others who don’t seem to be happy with Rwanda’s progress, and are working to ruin the country’s gains.
At the vigil, names of survivors were recited and messages of hope, unity and remembrance from some of the widely renowned figures, including politicians, actors, businessmen, television personalities, footballers and pastors, were screened.
This included messages from Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Ellen DeGeneres and partner, Strive Masiyiwa, Alex Scott, and Pastor Rick Warren, just to name a few.
Wails and screams could be heard in the terraces of the 25,000-seat stadium.
Thousands of Rwandans turned up for the vigil at the 25,000-seat stadium. / Village Urugwiro
Young Rwandans form a pattern to signify the 25 years that have passed since the Genocide against the Tutsi. / Village Urugwiro
This year’s involvement saw heavy involvement of young Rwandans born after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. / Village Urugwiro
Some of the Rwandan and foreign dignitaries during the candle-lighting session at Amahoro on Sunday. / Village Urugwiro
Samuel Dusengiyumva, a Genocide survivor from Ruhango District in Southern Province, recounted a harrowing story of how he survived.
“When the Genocide was happening in 1994, we tried everything we could to fight for our lives. We sought a hiding place at Nyamukumba but in vain. Genocide had been taught and entrenched to the extent that even children would throw stones at us when they saw us seeking where to hide,” he narrated.
Dusengiyumva who was 13 in 1994, was among the few victims who survived at Murambi where thousands were brutally killed.
Justice minister Johnston Busingye stated that Kwibuka is part of Rwandan culture where people would keep closer to the grieving family in case of death of a loved one.
“What we are remembering today is special. People were killed by neighbours, with the support of the government,” he said, adding that Rwandans were now confident that the path they chose for nation-building will be kept from generations to generations.
Both the Walk-to-Remember and the night vigil traditionally take place on the first day of the official commemoration week, April 7. / Village Urugwiro
Candles illuminated across the Amahoro National Stadium to symbolize renewed hope and optimism in the country’s future. / Village Urugwiro
Samuel Dusengimana, who was aged 13 in 1994, gave a testimony on losing his whole his family during the Genocide against the Tutsi and how he miraculously survived until he was rescued by the former Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) soldiers that were under the leadership of current President Paul Kagame. / Village Urugwiro
Youths meditate at the Kwibuka25 vigil on Sunday evening. / Village Urugwiro
Some of the mourners that kept vigil at Amahoro National Stadium on Sunday. / Village Urugwiro
The Amahoro National Stadium was full to capacity as Rwandans came together to remember their dead and pay homage to the resilience of survivors of the Genocide. / Village Urugwiro
The President of Ibuka, the umbrella of Genocide survivors’ organisations, Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, delivers his address at Amahoro National Stadium Sunday evening. / Village Urugwiro