Rwanda’s recovery and reconciliation process after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi offers necessary lessons to help future peacekeeping operations, senior military, police and civilian officials from different African countries said.
The officials made the remarks at the conclusion of a two-week course on Genocide, mass atrocity crimes and transitional justice in peace support operation, at the Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze District, last week.
The participants especially hailed Rwandan Government and people over reconciliation efforts and unity after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Michael S. Kargbo from Sierra Leone Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “I have learnt how to identify early signs of Genocide and mass atrocities and quickly bring it to the eyes of relevant authorities to make necessary decisions. I have also learnt how reconciliation can work. Rwanda is a clear example of how people can come together despite all atrocities that happened.”
He also said the course enhanced his knowledge on how the military, police and civilian components need to work together in peace support operation and how they need to put protection of civilians at the centre of their mission.
Senior Superintendent Evelyn Njeri Mbugua from Kenyan Police said that Rwanda is a very good example of reflection on how conflicts begin and how Genocide can occur.
“Rwanda is a good example for other countries to learn how forgiveness and reconciliation are possible, how victims and perpetrators of Genocide can live together in a peaceful society for the betterment of the nation,” she said.
She underlined the role of inclusiveness of military, police and civilian components to restore peace in conflict areas.
Col J.K Mukasa from Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) said “the course was an eye opener for most of us to know about war crimes and crimes against humanity and why they are different from the Genocide.”
He said he should take lessons learnt from the course to apply them on field where he may be deployed to support peace.
The course was closed by the Director of Rwanda Peace Academy Col Jill Rutaremara together with the Ag Deputy UK High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ms Gemma Thompson.
They both expressed need for continued close co-operation between the UK Government, British Peace Support Team East Africa and the Rwanda Peace Academy.
Ms Gemma Thompson said the UK is committed to continue working with its African friends to develop the capacity of the peace support personnel from African continent.
The two weeks course was organised by Rwanda Peace Academy in partnership with the British Peace Support Team, Eastern Africa (BPST-EA). It was attended by 24 senior military, police and civilian officials from seven African countries; Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Rwanda, according to a statement.