Lawmakers on Friday brainstormed ways to ensure justice is served against those that deny, revise or trivialise the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, even when they do so beyond the Rwandan borders.
They made the resolve after activists warned of consequences that could arise out of the continued campaign to deny the Genocide in which over a million people died in 1994.
In a general assembly of parliamentarian forum against the Genocide, legislators from the two chambers were asked to consolidate efforts to counter Genocide denial and revisionism through all means including legal actions.
The assembly, which resolved to gather and share all information regarding Genocide denial and revisionism across the world, also tasked general members of the forum to sensitise citizens on sequences of Genocide at all its stages.
Presiding over the assembly, Bernard Makuza, the President of the senate challenged lawmakers to devise means and strategies in countering revisionists who through some countries have been vehemently negating the truth of what happened in Rwanda.
“We need to implore the will of sourcing our own capacity in finding home grown solutions; remember Gacaca jurisdiction and how it helped us tackle unity and reconciliation, how it expedited justice and how it healed wounds of the survivors;
“The same applies to how we need to tackle the issue of genocide denial and revisionism, we can’t wait for answers that will come from elsewhere,” he said.
Makuza further stressed that the role of international community that looked on as over a million Rwandans were killed should not be relied on to counter the deniers, but rather, Rwandans must take it upon themselves.
“If we don’t stand firm no one else will do it for us, they (international community) might do it in their style which does not respond to our concerns accordingly,” he said alluding to the fact that some of the countries decide either to cooperate with revisionists or serve a sole cause that suits their own interests.
Makuza’s call was supplemented by MPs Constance Mukayuhi and Ignatienne Nyirarukundo who called for more strategies to fight genocide revisionism mostly outside the country.
“We will need to heavily engage our own embassies and members of the Diaspora to help us deal with these dangerous ideologists who continuously spread the wrong messages using different channels,” said Mukayuhi.
“We also need to engage legal experts on modalities through which we can seek legal action against individuals involved in denial and revisionism of the Genocide against the Tutsi especially in countries that have laws governing such,” added Nyirarukundo.
Members of parliament who raised concerns of partisan international justice bodies, also agreed on network extension and information sharing in a drive to unearth the truth on the genocide, which mostly is dramatized through international media.
In response to this, genocide researchers and activists said that some countries have been showing the will to help Rwanda tackle the issues but the journey is still long, especially on states that have proven to be safe haven for genocide suspects.
According to Tom Ndahiro, a researcher and activist against genocide denial and negation said countries like Tanzania have recently adopted laws criminalising ethnicity, racism, xenophobia and similar acts that are related to genocide denial.
“The law that came into force this month, for example in articles 18 and 19 bars racism; xenophobia; and genocide related crimes,” said Ndahiro, adding that such tools should be used to bring to book revisionists.
Ndahiro further urged parliamentarians to collaborate with agencies both national and international to take the fight far with a view of dismissing and annihilating powers of genocide negativists.
Sequences of genocide according to Prof. Francois Masabo, an academic at the centre for conflict management at the University of Rwanda reminded the legislators of the seven stages of a genocide; classification; symbolisation; discrimination; dehumanisation; organisation; polarisation; preparation; persecution; extermination and denial.