Rwandans have been urged to document facts about 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in order to defeat denial and trivialisation today and in the years to come.
Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), made the call during the launch of two books by two Belgian authors about the Genocide against Tutsi, at the National Library, in Kigali on Wednesday.
Both books are written in French and bring a significant contribution in the fight against genocide denial by revealing facts and support the existing documentation, according to. Bizimana.
“It is good that some foreigners are writing the true story of our history and Rwandans are increasingly documenting the Genocide to fight against its denial. We encourage more Rwandans to join the battle through research to keep the memories of our history and leave that legacy to the next generation,” he said.
Philippe Brewaeys, a Belgian journalist and author published “Rwanda 1994: Noirs et Blancs Menteurs” (Black and White Liars) and jointly with Albert Toch, former Belgian police officer, they published “Traqueurs des Génocidaires” (Genocide trackers).
Toch is a Belgian who holds Rwandan nationality.
He came to Rwanda first in 1995 working with the United Nations to reconstruct Rwandan judiciary systems and the national police.
In 2000, he joined the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where he served 11 years as a member of the Genocide fugitives’ tracking team.
“Westerners were the first to document the Genocide against Tutsi immediately after it was stopped in July, 1994 but today, Rwandans have also started publishing works, including books and films based either on research or their experience of the Genocide. This is the best way to preserve our history,” Dr Bizimana said.
He added that CNLG hailed the two books as they reaffirm that Genocide is an international crime which did not only afflict Rwandans, but also foreigners who value humanity and strive to protect human rights.
Brewaeys and Torch said the shock from the rampant genocide denial cases led them to document the true story of the Genocide against Tutsi in order to defeat the false assertions.
“As a lay humanitarian and a journalist who reported on many court cases of Genocide culprits, I want to participate in the battle against the denial through research to preserve the memories of this country’s history. In this regard, I will also start, next year, preparing a documentary to show the implication of the 1994 Belgian peacekeepers who forsook the Tutsi at Ecole Technique Officiel Don Bosco, at Nyanza, in Kicukiro District,” said Brewaeys.
Toch stated in Traqueurs des Génocidaires the challenges that the ICTR tracking team faced in arresting 85 Genocide fugitives and how many countries are protecting Genocide fugitives.
He cites the Kenyan and Zimbabwean governments which protected Felien Kabuga and Protais Mpiranya respectively, when the tracking team was almost arresting them.
“This book is to testify about the cases of the people we were able to arrest and the challenges we faced as some governments are protecting Genocide fugitives and how the crooks seeking money were giving us fake information, then use a long time in examining their information, slowing down our work,” he said.
Toch said the government of Rwanda should keep putting pressure on the countries hosting fugitives through United Nations, adding he is optimistic that all Genocide fugitives will be arrested over time.