Plane crash inquiry healthy for truth, reconciliation

The administration is taking important steps in researching the events of April 6, 1994, when a plane carrying Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi was shot down, killing all on board. That evening is the hinge of Rwanda’s history, the point of no return.

The administration is taking important steps in researching the events of April 6, 1994, when a plane carrying Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi was shot down, killing all on board. That evening is the hinge of Rwanda’s history, the point of no return.

It would be wise, though, to remember that, though on the surface the assassination seems to be the sparkplug for the 1994 Genocide, events from April to July were carefully prepared in advance, and if it wasn’t a plane being shot down, the Genocide machine would have found any other way to launch itself.

The importance of such commissions is that when truth is unearthed, it helps to heal wounds, and also stops baseless conjectures and posturings of many ‘experts’. But the most important is the healing, because the basis for forgiving lies in truth coming out first. As with Gacaca trials, truth is inconvenient, but it brings peace and acceptance.

The likes of the Mucyo Commission should therefore hurry up and present their findings to the nation. There might not be a lot in terms of bringing the perpetrators to justice; but proper knowledge of what happened during that traumatic time, though not exactly palatable to many, will help bridge gaps that will continue yawning should the tarpaulins be drawn permanently across the topic of culpability.

And that is why, many years after the event, it is not too late to commission an inquiry into it. As it has never been too late commissioning inquiries into the many thousands dead, still going on in Gacaca courts, or even the raking up of old wounds of survivors by exhuming and decently burying relatives who were gruesomely quartered and thrown into every available pit. 

The whole of the general Genocide Case will never rest until the whole truth is out.
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