The Rwandan Community in Ethiopia and officials at the African Union, on Thursday, observed a moment of silence to mark the 17th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Diplomats and dignitaries held two sessions; one in the morning, at the Plenary Hall of the AU Commission, and in the evening, a candlelight vigil by Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from the East African Community (EAC).
“Your response to the invitation of the AU and to our own invitation is a sign of strong solidarity and support during this difficult period of sorrow and remembrance,” Rwanda's ambassador to the AU, Joseph Nsengimana told the gathering.
The envoy underscored that as Rwanda and its friends commemorate the Genocide, there are still pertinent questions that still need answers.
“As we take stock of what happened to over a million innocent and defenceless men, women and children, we will strive to preserve our new found unity and dignity which the genocidaires sought to destroy.”
He noted that since 1994, Rwanda has registered tremendous successes in various areas, including, security, political, economic and social sectors, good governance and poverty reduction, all attributed to the visionary leadership and determination of the Rwandan people.
Nsengimana noted that the international community needs to do a lot more when it comes to granting justice to the victims of the Genocide.
“We ask that justice be granted to the victims and to those who mourn them. We await full accounting of the crime that occurred and the prosecution and punishment of those who carried it out. Cooperation from countries harbouring the perpetrators is paramount,” he said.
“The extradition of the culprits for trial in Rwanda is a necessity as it affords us healing and ownership of the process. This is basically the underlying reason why our Government is demanding that as the ICTR closes its tribunal, archives of ICTR be transferred to Rwanda.”
Julia Dolly Joiner, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, said: “If we must say “Never Again” then we must make every effort to go beyond the talk and meaningfully embrace the novel concepts and ideologies fashioned by the African Union”.
“We should be prepared to tackle the root causes of conflicts and political ineptitude in Africa,” she said.