NYAMAGABE -The visiting Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), John Hocking, has described the Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre as one of the most traumatic sites he has ever visited.
He described the site where the remains of over 55,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are buried, as “terribly, terribly sad”.
“It is perhaps one of the most traumatic sites that I have seen in my life. It is very disturbing,” said the ICTY Registrar after visiting rooms containing some of the remains of victims, preserved with the help of lime.
He observed that when one talks of hundreds of thousands of people killed in the most brutal of ways, it is incomprehensible for many people in the world.
“This is a danger because it makes it difficult for people to believe, all the more reason why memorials such as these are important even though it may be extremely disturbing for people to see such things,” said Hocking.
“I fully support the work of the government in that regard, and for doing everything to ensure that none of us deny the past. Hopefully we will learn from this”.
Hocking said that in over 13 years spent at the ICTY, he has sat through testimonies where people describe horrific events that happened to them or their families.
“We are all susceptible to this as human beings; the more reason why all of us, particularly governments, must take up our responsibility and always be wary to prevent bigotry taking over from what should be respect for human life,” he added.
The ICTY official, who is in the country to study how Rwanda has managed to preserve the memory and records of the 1994 Genocide, said he was particularly impressed by the ICTR documentation and information centre in Kigali.
“They are impressive and could well serve as a blueprint for the work that we at the ICTY will want to do in the former Yugoslavia,” Hocking said.
Hocking also visited the National University of Rwanda where he held discussions with officials at the University’s Centre for Conflict Management. He was accompanied by Pierre Galinier, the ICTY Legacy Administrative Officer,