EDITORIAL: The world must not let genocide perpetrators, deniers off the hook

Scholars, researchers, and policymakers will for the next two days attend a conference in Kigali that seeks to examine issues surrounding the legacy of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the challenges encountered in efforts to build a cohesive society in the aftermath of genocide.

Running under the theme, Preserving Memory, Championing Humanity, the conference will examine perspectives of a post-genocide generation, focusing on the realities of a generational shift in society that has experienced genocide, looking at the lessons learned, challenges, and threats.

Delegates will also deliberate on the role of the State, the Church, and the media in the propagation, polarisation, and disintegration of Rwanda’s social fabric, and how this set the stage for a slaughter campaign that claimed the lives of over a million people in a hundred days!

Most importantly, the meeting will examine issues of justice and accountability in relation to the Genocide and how this has impacted on reconciliation and nation-building.

The meeting comes just days until the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi and 70 years after the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Twenty-five years after the world abandoned Rwandans in their greatest hour of need – leading to the execution of the fastest and cruelest slaughter ever recorded – there is little to suggest that the world learned from past mistakes.

Politicians across the world increasingly incite ethnic tensions and hatred, with far-reaching consequences.

While organisations like the United Nations and the African Union are good at holding remembrance events in memory of genocide victims little has come out of these ‘talkshops’.

A quarter-century after the Genocide against the Tutsi the world needs to start walking the talk and bring to account all the perpetrators and deniers of genocide – including those behind the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and its growing denial – to send a stern warning to all those with similar ideologies that the community of nations will not idly sit by as they wreck havoc on innocent civilians because of how they were born, or trying to rewrite the history of genocide.