The Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Sindiso Ngwenya, has praised the Gacaca judicial system, saying that it has registered success where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has failed.
Ngwenya’s remarks were contained in a speech read for him yesterday by COMESA’s Public Relations Officer, Mweusi Karake, at the opening of the second review workshop for civil society and private sector organizations at Bon Sejour hotel.
“Your Gacaca system of justice, despite lack of financial and other resources has been able to achieve more in providing justice as enhancing peace and reconciliation to the Rwandan people than the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has been able to do despite millions of dollars at their disposal,” Ngwenya said
ICTR has since its establishment in 1994 convicted 40 persons at a time the Gacaca justice system has rendered justice to close to two million people.
Ngwenya commended government for a strong and visionary leadership which he said has come up with ways and means to heal the wounds that were created by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“The old adage that --where there is a will there is a way, is demonstrated by Rwanda’s achievements in peace and security,” he added.
Quoting former French leader Napoleon Bonaparte’s words that ‘Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets,’ Ngwenya called on delegates to look for workable strategies aimed at enhancing greater media involvement on COMESA issues.
He revealed that COMESA and the East African Community (EAC) are in the process implementing a conflict prevention, management and resolution strategy for eastern and southern African region.
The guest of honour, Commerce and Industry Minister, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, reiterated that peace and security are prerequisites for benefits that accrue to regional integration, like infrastructural development, and free movement of persons.
The minister also emphasized that the media is a powerful tool in promotion of peace and security, adding that it can either be used positively or negatively.
The two-day workshop also aims at seeking ways of actively engaging the media in COMESA’s programs as well as discussing the role of civil and private sector organizations.