Remains of over 7,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were accorded a decent burial at Kibungo Genocide Memorial in Ngoma District on Saturday.
The remains had been previously buried in the Remera Genocide Memorial in the same district, but it was in a bad state and it compromised the dignity of the victims.
Beatrice Mukankuranga, a Genocide survivor whose deceased relatives are among those that were relocated, thanked the district authorities for the initiative.
“These are our parents, siblings, friends and companions, we are grateful that they are now buried in a befitting place,” she said.
Mukankuranga also welcomed the move to centralise memorials at the district level, saying that it was a challenge to move to different memorials to pay tribute to relatives burried in the various smaller sites.
“Having our people buried in one place is good for us. For instance, we could be here at Kibungo for commemoration and then another day at Remera and Kabarorondo. It is, therefore, good that they are all brought at the same place, it will help us a lot,” she added.
Prof. Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu the president of Ibuka, the umbrella body for Genocide survivors’ associations also backed the idea of having the memorial sites at the district level.
“Commemoration is the way to know more about the Genocide that took place in our country. It is where we draw new ideas and courage of ensuring a bright future for our country,” said Dusingizemungu.
Dusingizemungu said that more efforts are needed to defeat genocide ideology manifested in different acts in the country and abroad.
“There is no doubt that genocide ideology has no place in the Rwanda we live in today, but the few elements that habour it must be completely defeated,” he said.
He added that the law that punishes genocide ideology and other related crimes should be revised to broaden the scope of what constitutes the crime and also ensure a legal framework that punishes sternly those convicted of habouring genocide ideology.
Currently, the penal code provides for a jail sentence of between five and nine years for anyone convicted of genocide ideology.
He added that courts should also be cognizant of the complex nature of adducing evidence to be able to convict someone of Genocide ideology especially when one uses the conventional elements that constitute a criminal offense.
Following the burial of the 7,000, Kibungo Genocide Memorial is now home to 30,000 victims.