Editorial: There can be no closure in the absence of bringing Genocide suspects to book

A ceremony was held this week at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

A ceremony was held this week at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

73 years down the road, the Genocide against the Jews is still fresh simply because it was kept alive by preserving memories, hunting down perpetrators and meting out justice.

Even to date Nazi suspects are still being brought to trial, especially in Germany, though most are at very advanced age and in most cases are let off lightly on compassionate grounds.

Rwanda’s struggle to bring closure over the more than a million people who died during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is still on. The hunt for suspects has never waned, but sometimes lady luck plays in its favour.

That was the case of Joseph Ntawangundi, who in 2010, landed in Kigali accompanying Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, head of a foreign based opposition group that had links to FDLR , a terrorist outfit based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ntawangundi possibly thought that his political credentials would shield him or that no one in his dark genocidal past was still alive: Bad call. Today he is serving a 19-year jail sentence.

That is also the case for Dr. Jean Damascene Kabilima who this week had his life sentence reduced to 25 years in jail. He came to the country in 2011 to attend the high profile annual National Dialogue. Someone recognized him and that was the end of the story.

As Rwandans join the Jewish community in commemorating their dead, they should pick a leaf from their books, there can be no closure in the absence of justice and Genocide suspects should not be given a breather, wherever they are.

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