As the 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi draws near, the government intends to engage more Rwandans abroad to be part of the drive in fighting against the promotion of genocide ideology and revisionism.
This was announced yesterday by Sports and Culture Minister, Julienne Uwacu, during a press conference to update the media on the state of preparations to honour the over one million victims of the Genocide.
Regardless of government’s efforts to rebuild a united nation—free from divisionism and ethnicity—some individuals, especially Genocide fugitives and their sympathisers, continue to promote genocide ideology across the world.
“This year, we want to put more efforts in engaging members of the Diaspora. We want to fight Genocide ideology, by engaging Rwandans and friends of Rwanda through our embassies to participate in commemoration events and to be part of this cause that undermines our pursuit for unity, reconciliation and the development of our country,” Uwacu said.
Under Rwandan laws, Genocide ideology is a crime that is defined as an aggregate of thoughts manifested by conduct, speeches, documents and other acts aiming at exterminating or inciting others to exterminate people based on their ethnic group, origin, nationality, region, colour, physical appearance, sex, language, religion or political opinion.
The crime of Genocide ideology can be committed through marginalising, laughing at one’s misfortune, defaming, mocking, boasting, despising, degrading, creating confusion aiming at negating the genocide, stirring up ill feelings, taking revenge, altering testimonies or evidence for the Genocide which occurred, killing, planning to kill or attempting to kill someone for purposes of furthering the ideology.
According to Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), even though most cases of Genocide ideology tend to occur in April during the commemoration, the tendency is always vivid in some Rwanda communities abroad; mainly by “fugitives who are still at large, some members of the international community—who might have had a role toward the Genocide and fear being implicated.”
In the last three years, 180 cases were reported in 2013, 138 in 2014 while 192 cases of genocide ideology had been reported to police in 2015, according to Bizimana.
But Bizimana added that Genocide ideology in Rwanda has dropped significantly by 84 per cent since 1994.
Trauma cases, during commemoration, are also reducing with time; as 1,515 cases were reported during Kwibuka 2015 as compared to 3,094 in 2014 commemoration.
“We seek to continue working hard, with the help of government policies and programMEs, to reduce the ideology to the lowest figures possible,” Bizimana added.
“We will always commemorate the Genocide and remember the victims regardless of the challenges we are faced with. We haven’t given up on letting the world know that there is a need to regard the Genocide against the Tutsi as a crime against humanity and help in bringing fugitives to account,” said Uwacu.
“As much as we have ensured that the Never Again slogan becomes a reality in Rwanda, Genocide ideology is spreading in other parts of the world…But we have to keep on fighting,” she said.
Tracking Genocide fugitives
Bizimana noted that regardless of the complexity in international laws, some countries are increasingly becoming aware of the magnitude of the Genocide against the Tutsi, hence cooperating with Rwanda in bringing fugitives to justice.
The cooperation between Rwanda and other countries, has enabled mapping of fugitives, arresting them and bringing them to courts.
“There is a good will of the international community in putting up laws that fight against Genocide ideology and revisionism. With continued deliberation in terms of diplomacy; we are certain that we could have more countries helping us to find fugitives and bring them to face the law,” he said.