The Rwandan Government envoy to the International criminal tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Aloys Mutabingwa, has said that the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda would never have occurred had there been the will by the international community to stop it.
He said this in Arusha, the seat of the tribunal, during a ceremony to commemorate the Genocide. The function was organized by the ICTR in conjunction with the Rwandan community.
“The Rwanda case was a preventable genocide…it only happened because the world preferred not to prevent it or at least stop it when it started,” said Mutabingwa.
He said that some of the most powerful states remained indifferent and unwilling to save the lives of innocent Rwandans saying that the inaction from the international community was an encouragement to the killers.
“Those criminals who disguised themselves as politicians used their political powers to plan and execute the Genocide at the highest speed in the history of humankind,” he said.
During the function that was also attended by the Chief Prosecutor of the tribunal, Hassan Bubacar Jallow and the Registrar Adama Dieng, Mutabingwa said that the UN troops who were on a peace-keeping mission in Rwanda did little to avert the killings.
“They were seen patrolling Kigali and its outskirts with confidence and readiness, yet they did not intervene to save the innocent souls,” he added.
The Rwandan envoy also said that the international media’s reluctance to use the word genocide in explaining what was taking place in Rwanda fuelled the killings.
“The international media was reluctant to explicitly report the involvement of the interim government, army and the Government militia, yet the role of most of the leaders was so much self-evident on the ground…they repeatedly described it as a civil strife despite the documented evidence that was on ground,” said the envoy. This was the first time the UN tribunal has jointly organized the event with the Rwandan community.
The ICTR, which was instituted to try key architects of the Genocide that claimed over a million Rwandans has completed over 30 cases among them one for former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda who is serving a life sentence in Mali.