Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama, yesterday assured a delegation from Burundi that Rwanda was prepared to provide any support towards the creation of a unity and reconciliation commission in Burundi.
Burundi is preparing to set an institution with the aim of developing ways and means to restore and consolidate unity among Burundians who were affected by long-standing ethnic civil wars from 1993-2005 which claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.
Members of the technical committee in charge of setting up the commission are in the country on a fact-finding tour. They will also visit several other countries to borrow their experiences and knowledge on how to set up the body.
Rwanda is the first country they have visited, according to the members.
Addressing the media after meeting the delegation, Karugarama acknowledged that the two countries share a lot, adding that there is nothing that Rwanda cannot assist Burundi since they are brotherly nations.
“We are ready to lend a hand to Burundi. It’s important to look at Burundi as natural ally. Their peace is our peace, their stability is our stability; therefore, we shall support them in terms of ideas based on our own experience,” he said.
“We share the same language, same culture, politics and social togetherness and we are neighbours,” said Karugarama, as he listed reasons why Rwanda should support Burundi.
He updated the visitors on the progress of initiatives like Gacaca courts which were put in place to strengthen reconciliation drive after the 1994 Genocide.
Karugarama urged them to be innovative in adopting home grown solutions to their problems and sensitise their nationals to be patriotic and use truth as a way towards reconciliation.
Ambassador Laurent Kavakure, a senior advisor in charge of political, diplomatic affairs in the Burundian president’s office led the delegation.
He commended the minister saying that they had acquired good lessons from the country. He added that his committee was ready to utilise the knowledge to form their commission.
“We have passed through many political conflicts and we need to put up a reconciliation commission. We therefore thought that Rwanda would be the right country to acquire more practical information,” said the Burundian official.
The delegation also intends to visit other countries including Togo, South Africa among others.