The Rwanda National Commission for the Fight against Genocide recently organized a 2 day international conference on the 62nd anniversary of the Genocide Convention. The conference sought from stakeholders the liberal application of the term genocide by media and other groups and whether this liberal application serves a threat to its unique legal significance. In this context the organizers of the conference zeroed in on the UN Mapping Report on the DRC and Darfur as case studies. Fred Oluoch-Ojiwah of The New Times spoke to a cross section of journalists on the sidelines of the conference to get their views and opinions on the deliberations of the conference and the general situation within the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Rwandan journalist based in South Africa
The gathering was full of experts on this issue of genocide and the convention itself. One of the crucial things in my mind is that the convention which was adopted in 1948 seems to be outdated. We need to rethink more deeply on how this convention can apply to current situations and settings.
So I totally agree with the experts who called for adoption of amendments to the genocide convention so that the prevention of genocide can be strengthened. More so amendments should be instituted so that should genocide and other crimes against humanity happen, then measures that reflect current realities can be called into place to protect humanity against such perpetrators.
A journalist from Burkina Faso working for Journal Le Pays
The last time I visited Rwanda was in the late 1990s and sure enough the situation now is very different from that time. Closely related that I must say that the security situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa can be seen to have improved. However, the general situation is still fragile. The political situation that impacts on the security situation is still held hostage by various competing forces some of whom do not have sustainable peace and security as their main agenda. As Africans we have to be more vigilant against such forces if we are to tackle the issue of security within society. Having said that I am convinced that the UN Mapping Report has a very high likelihood of threatening peace in the region.