EDITORIAL: What is holding back compensation of Genocide victims

At the height of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, lives were not the only precious things lost; property was also targeted.

At the height of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, lives were not the only precious things lost; property was also targeted.

Most of the property that was appropriated by the killers was done out of sheer greed or as spoils of war. But there were also tales of malice of the highest order; houses would be razed to the ground and even the foundations and tale-tale signs like cement floors completely done away with.

 

What the actors wanted was to remove any sign that a family once existed, they wanted to remove all traces. Many of those who survived came and found empty lots that once held their homes. They had to start from scratch in rebuilding their lives.

 

When some of the perpetrators were caught, tried and convicted and even ordered to pay damages, sometimes the orders hit a brick wall; some of the convicts had nothing to pay with.

 

In some communities upcountry, they came up with ingenious solutions of paying through manpower hours in lieu of money. The convicts would work for the victims for a certain amount of time until they had exhausted their debt and both parties were satisfied.

But it does not make sense when a convict who has assets fails to pay damages and sometimes even offloads them before it is seized. This is an indication that some local leaders are involved in perpetuating injustice by helping convicts hide their assets as deserving survivors continue to wallow in vulnerability.

People should not have to wait for twenty years to receive justice that is due to them, speeding up compensation should be a matter of priority. We owe that to survivors of the Genocide in the very least

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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