A research conducted by the umbrella body of Genocide survivors, IBUKA, has named 265 individuals, including foreigners, in recognition of their role in protecting Tutsi victims during the 1994 Genocide.
The individuals, referred to as “INDAKEMWA”, were yesterday, revealed by the team of researchers from the National University of Rwanda (NUR), and enlisted by IBUKA to conduct the research.
‘INDAKEMWA’ is a Kinyarwanda word that was suggested by the researchers to imply ‘moral credit.’
In his presentation, the team leader, Prof. Jean-Marie Kayishema, said the research was conducted in 240 cells across the country, two in every district. He added that the research also looked at the role of moderate Hutus in protecting Tutsi’s during the Genocide.
Kayishema, added that the research, which started in July last year, studied various possible reasons for some Hutu members’ decision to save their fellow Rwandans who at the time were being hunted.
He said that many respondents said they based their actions on friendship, compassion/mercy for the victims, respect for human rights, opposition to racism, and blood relations with the victims.
“We initially had a total of 372 in the surveyed areas but in the process 107 were disqualified after it was established that despite saving people, they killed, robbed or injured others,” he said adding that only 265 “INDAKEMWA” were qualified following testimonies from those who survived under their protection.
He also explained that the justification of their social status was based upon their heroic actions by risking their lives to save the targets at times.
However, he noted that those who later denied or demonstrated genocide related sentiments were removed from the category as they lacked moral justification.
Kayishema added that the research was a pilot one that needed extension and that most of INDAKEMWA came from farmers with low levels of education whereas very few came from the elite group.
In his remark, the IBUKA chairman, Theodore Simburudari, said the research findings would help the government efforts to promote unity and reconciliation and urged members of the public with related information to forward it to IBUKA or researchers.