Top Dutch official calls for arrest of Genocide suspects

A top official in Dutch government has called on countries habouring Genocide suspects to bring them to book. Siebe Riedstra, the secretary-general in the Ministry of Security and Justice, said Genocide period was terrible, calling on countries that host perpetrators of the pogrom in which more than a million people were killed in just 100 days to help bring them to account.
Riedstra (C), Amb. Maria de Man (R) and Kalihangabo (L) lay wreaths in honour of Genocide victims at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre yesterday. / Frederic Byumvuhore.
Riedstra (C), Amb. Maria de Man (R) and Kalihangabo (L) lay wreaths in honour of Genocide victims at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre yesterday. / Frederic Byumvuhore.

A top official in Dutch government has called on countries habouring Genocide suspects to bring them to book.

Siebe Riedstra, the secretary-general in the Ministry of Security and Justice, said Genocide period was terrible, calling on countries that host perpetrators of the pogrom in which more than a million people were killed in just 100 days to help bring them to account.

 

The Dutch official was speaking, Thursday, after a delegation from the Ministry of Security and Justice in the Kingdom of Netherlands, visited Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Gisozi, to honour Genocide victims.

 

“This memorial keeps a good sight of how terrible the year 1994 was in Rwanda. The whole world should be responsible enough to bring suspects to book for their crimes,” Riedstra said of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

 

Ironically, Riedstra’s comments came just a day after it emerged Dutch parliament had petitioned their government not to implement a court’s order to extradite two Rwandan men who are wanted back home for their alleged role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The visiting Dutch delegation declined to comment on the development, preferring to restrict themselves to the official purpose of their visit. Riedstra said Rwanda and the Netherlands have lessons to learn from each other.

He said the delegation learnt more about the Genocide and how Rwandans forged unity and reconciliation in post-Genocide, especially through local mediation committees (Abunzi).

“We visited mediation committees and experienced how they solve problems out of court. This is a lesson to our government,” Riedstra said.

Exchange of views, ideas

The Dutch minister said the visit to Rwanda allowed the delegation and the Rwandan Ministry of Justice officials to share views, and insights on how to strengthen partnership, especially in the justice sector. 

The delegation was in the country for a second bilateral roundtable discussion in Kigali under the theme, “Together for a participative and affordable justice,” with Rwandan Justice ministry officials. The meeting ended yesterday.

They discussed various topics, including the constitutional role of judges, the role of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in the legal process, and the role of victims in the legal process.

The delegation was accompanied to Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Gisozi, by Amb. Frederique Maria de Man, the Dutch envoy to Rwanda, and Isabelle Kalihangabo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice.

At the memorial, the delegation watched a documentary film on the Genocide. They then laid a wreath on the tombs there and observed a minute of silence in honour the victims.

The tour continued inside the building, where information about the Genocide against the Tutsi is archived.

They were briefed about the Genocide, from preparatory plans to execution.

Kalihangabo commended the Kingdom of the Netherlands for its support toward Rwanda’s reconstruction.

“The partnership between Rwanda and the Netherlands has been in place since the Genocide against Tutsi was ended, and they have been supporting the Government of Rwanda significantly. It was necessary for them to come and experience the current situation in Rwanda,” Kalihangabo said.

The visit aims at strengthening partnership and helping us to advance justice we deliver to Rwandans in terms of unity and reconciliation, she said.

“The Netherlands is helping us to build a court in Nyanza for international cases. We share advice and knowledge on how we can improve justice,” Kalihangabo said.

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