CNLG, Cranfield University in partnership to preserve Genocide remains

KIGALI - The National Commission for the fight Against the Genocide (CNLG) has finalised plans to enter a partnership with Cranfield University which will see the UK-based institution work with the commission to conserve remains of genocide for at least 150 years.
Martin Muhoza (R) and Ildephonse Karengera of CNLG talking to The New Times yesterday (Photo; J Mbanda)
Martin Muhoza (R) and Ildephonse Karengera of CNLG talking to The New Times yesterday (Photo; J Mbanda)

KIGALI - The National Commission for the fight Against the Genocide (CNLG) has finalised plans to enter a partnership with Cranfield University which will see the UK-based institution work with the commission to conserve remains of genocide for at least 150 years.

CNLG officials travelled to the UK, in November, to view the state-of-the-art technology that the university will install to properly conserve the remains of remains of Genocide victims and the history of the 1994 Genocide against the Tusti.

According Ildephonse Karengera, the Director of Memory and Prevention of Genocide at CNLG, the project is part of the plan by the government to conserve the remains which continue to diminish at a high rate due to lack of proper conservation technologies.

“What we want to do is conserve some of these memories of genocide including bodies, clothes of the victims, weapons used during the genocide, photos and other documents as a way of preserving the history of the genocide,” Karengera said.

“We have been talking to many experts in this field and so far Cranfield University has offered us the best options. They came here and assessed the situation and we also travelled to the UK to see the technology that the experts from UK want to employ,”

Karengera, who travelled to the UK with Martin Muhoza who is in charge of conservation of Genocide remains at CNLG and MP Evariste Kalisa, said that the technology includes a state-of-the-art mobile laboratory, power retrieve machines X-Ray machines and scanners which preserver the remains.

The mobile laboratory is a sophisticated lab where bodies of the victims will be preserved before being placed in air-tight casings that can last over 150 years without any deterioration.

The Power Retrieve and the X-Ray Machines analyse and identify the methods used to kill victims and the weapons used, the damage caused and whether the victim died in a desperate attempt to fight off the murderers.

“What these machines basically do is to retrieve the basic information on how these people were killed and give us an idea of how each individual died. They do not give the full details but at least they will guide us on what each victim went through before being killed---and that will be a major breakthrough,” Muhoza said.

According to Karengera, the conservation process will target the five major memorial sites in the country and later move to districts memorial sites until all memorial sites are covered.

“We certainly cannot cover the whole country immediately so we will do it in phases. It’s a long and costly process and we are looking between 20 to 25 bodies conserved at a time. We are hoping to begin before next year’s commemoration,” Karengera said.

Also to be acquired is a super scanner which will be used to scan documents, photos and any other documented history of the genocide, including Gacaca Archives for back up purposes.

“We are aware of calamity that could strike and we lose all these documents in a flash but once we have them scanned, we will back them up in a database for security purposes. The scanner is a sophisticated one and brings out everything in its clarity, including old and obsolete documents,” Muhoza explained.

The first phase will cost Rwf300m but according to Karengera, the commission is not yet fully funded to carry out the exercise countrywide. The money for the project will be disbursed by the Government.

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