The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) on Thursday tabled its 2014/15 annual report before Parliament citing the need to increase the budget for the digitisation of Gacaca archives and robust intervention in rehabilitating dilapidated Genocide memorial sites.
Presenting their achievements in the last fiscal year, the commission’s chairperson, Dr John Rutayisire, outlined the activities on which they embarked, including commemoration events, the campaign to fight the Genocide and playing an advocacy role for Genocide survivors, among others.
However, Rutayisire said their budgetary allocation has inhibited their activities, especially preserving the archives of Gacaca semi-traditional courts.
The commission, during the past year was allocated slightly over Rwf2 billion by the national treasury and also received Rwf117 million from different donors.
The digitisation of Gacaca archives involves gathering all court case files and other supportive materials and keeping them in soft copies to ensure safe storage and easy access.
“Several activities have been ongoing. They include a feasibility study, securing premises for the documentation centre and scanning some of the documents, but we will need extra budget to have it completely up and running,” he told lawmakers.
The Gacaca documents, which are stacked in hundreds of thousands of boxes, are currently at the premises of Rwanda National Police headquarters in Kacyiru.
Meanwhile, Rutayisire said they also face challenges in countering genocide denial, revisionism and trivialisation, which is mainly orchestrated outside the country.
Rutayisire told the joint session of parliamentarians that through regular sensitisation programmes, the commission managed to reach out to a number of institutions including correctional services, training centers, schools and universities.
“After the field visits, we also managed to air at least 72 radio programmes besides other information communication exchanges that aimed to respond to emerging issues,” he told lawmakers.
The commission’s chairperson further stressed that they managed to engage different stakeholders in and outside the country to deter deniers with fabricated information on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
“On top of public lectures, the commission vehemently rebutted the BBC’s ‘Rwanda Untold Story’ documentary and we engaged countries in the Northern Corridor to support the fight against genocide denial and revisionism across the region.
“With respect to researchers and lecturers in universities abroad, we have seen some improvement where in countries like Belgium, France, US and Australia, some lecturers are teaching the actual truth on what happened in Rwanda,” he added.
While previously the commission was tasked to closely monitor and facilitate construction of memorial sites at the district levels, Members of the Parliament wondered why some sites are in a sorry state.
MP Marie Therese Murakatete called on the commission to devise more strategies that will ensure memorial sites at district level are safely maintained.
“A lot has been done to keep these memorial sites in a good state. In the district of Musanze, for example, there will be need to do a follow-up on its memorial sites maintenance,” she said.
In response, Rutayisire noted that Musanze District officials were fully aware of the situation and that they had agreed to prioritise the rehabilitation of memorial sites.
Rutayisire told Members of Parliament that in the current strategic plan, the commission has aligned major rehabilitation works that will see the memorial sites of Nyarubuye, Ntarama, Murambi and Nyamata overhauled completely.