KIGALI - The National Service of Gacaca Courts (SNJG) yesterday officially handed over the Gacaca Documentation Centre to the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG).
Domitille Mukantaganzwa, SNJG Executive Secretary, handed over the archives to Christine Tuyisenge, CNLG vice President, in a function held at the centre’s headquarters in Muhima, Nyarugenge District.
A moment of silence was first observed in remembrance of Prof. Celestin Musago Kanimba who has been the President of CNLG who passed away last week.
The centre contains dossiers of suspects tried the by the semi-traditional courts for their roles in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The files, in hard copy, are currently being scanned for proper record keeping. They are also being packed in boxes per district and sector in alphabetical order for easy findings.
Mukantaganzwa said that the centre is important for the country, but is still at its infant stage.
“We hope this commission (CNLG) which has taken over will grant it the value it deserves”.
She added that the Gacaca secretariat has been receiving many visitors who wanted to know much about Genocide and the tribunals and added that this centre will now serve this purpose.
“I have no doubt that this centre will continue developing. What we did was to put together all the documentation written by the Gacaca judges and making audio-visual documentation of those who were tried. But we had not reached a level of archiving them, which I believe you will work towards,” Mukantaganzwa said.
During a recent visit to the centre, Prime Minister Bernard Makuza had requested that the centre be shifted to another safer area.
The documentation centre, currently is at risk in case of fire, but Tuyisenge said that once they get a big enough budget, the first priority will be to have all records digitalized and continue working with security agencies to protect them.
Currently, the documentation centre is not provided for in the 2010/2011 budget since everything including scanners, making of audio and visual of the tried cases was sponsored by donors, according to the officials.
Tuyisenge who commended Gacaca courts for the work done said that CNLG has a task to work with different organizations to get the required funds for the centre to accomplish its objectives.
“This centre has come in addition to the duties of CNLG to fight Genocide and we call all the organizations to help us achieve its targets,” Tuyisenge said.
Daphrose Mukakigeli, an official from the Ministry of Justice who presided over the event appealed to both CNLG and SNJG to work together to realize the targets of the documentation centre.