Government has called upon diplomats accredited to Rwanda to engage their respective governments to make available some of the key information that might be in their custody relating to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The call was made on Monday by Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community, during a Genocide commemoration event held by the diplomats in Kigali.
Though diplomats have taken part in many genocide commemoration events, this was the very first time for an exclusive Kwibuka for members of the diplomatic corps.
The event was held at Marriott Hotel in Kigali under the theme; “The contribution of the International Community in Peace Building, Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda”.
It comes in the wake of a UN resolution adopted by the General Assembly January this year to officially recognise it as “Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi”.
“I reiterate the call by Minister Louise Mushikiwabo to help us in establishing the truth—and the whole truth—by availing the archives, correspondences and documents that your respective governments may have on that tragedy.
“Only truth will help us in preserving the memory of the Genocide and preserving future generations from that tragedy.” Nduhungirehe said.
Genocide fugitives, early release
The minister urged the diplomats to become “advocates” against early release of some Genocide convicts and advocates for arrest, prosecution or extradition of the remaining Genocide fugitives who live in their respective countries.
“We count on you, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, you who have visited different Genocide memorials in the country, you who have interacted with survivors, and you have witnessed the consequences of the Genocide to be “advocates” for arrest, prosecution or extradition of the remaining fugitives, for the recognition of the Genocide as established by the ICTR and decided by the UN General Assembly and to be advocates against the early release of unrepentant Genocide convicts and against genocide denial in your respective countries,” he said.
Government and Genocide survivors have on several occasions expressed displeasure at the early release granted by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to masterminds of the Genocide who were convicted by the UN court.
Recently, the court under its president, American jurist Theodor Meron, set in motion a plan to release three more convicts, including the virulent ex-journalist, Hassan Ngeze, before they complete their respective sentences.
This has been widely contested by Kigali, because, like 14 other architects of the Genocide who have previously released early, none of the three has shown remorse for the crimes they were convicted.
“We call, once again the countries that are yet to do so to help us in holding accountable the many Genocide fugitives who roam free on your streets and who now fuel Genocide ideology among the youth in the Rwandan community abroad”.
South Africa’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, George N. Twala, who is the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, noted that the commemoration is a strong reminder that the international community did little or close to nothing when Rwandans needed them most in pursuit of peace.
He also commended the “Banyarwanda spirit” which he said has played a key role is building reconciliation and an inclusive society.
“The world had looked on, some helplessly and yet for some, they had to watch as the particular agenda unfold. We ought to know what is it that we will do from here. We should be reminded of what brought us where we are today.
Banyarwanda have risen to the challenge and taught us that their divided past should change. The survivors have pledged to never again and never again will the Genocide happen to their nation. They have committed themselves to work hard in rebuilding a society and forge an inclusive nation where all has equal and improved life.” Twala said.
He noted that it was important for the international community to ensure that the culture of impunity will not be allowed to continue unchallenged.
Twala called upon his peers to unmask, arrest, imprison and if need be, extradite to Rwanda the Genocide fugitives in their respective territories.
“This is one issue that some of us should put pressure on our respective governments to do,” he added.