Global conference on genocide opens in Kigali

A three-day international conference on genocide opens today at Parliament in Kigali ahead of the 20th Genocide anniversary on Monday.

A three-day international conference on genocide opens today at Parliament in Kigali ahead of the 20th Genocide anniversary on Monday.

More than 200 delegates, among them parliamentarians, policymakers, scholars and media personalities, are expected to take part in the forum that will run under the theme, “After Genocide: Examining legacy, taking responsibility.”

According to organisers, it aims at assessing Rwanda’s responses to a situation unprecedented in recent human history – the complete destruction of a society and nation. 

“It will be an opportunity to discuss enduring challenges of justice, education and reconstruction with experts from around the world,” a concept note says.

It will also discuss prevention initiatives undertaken against genocide by national parliaments around the world, such as ad hoc commissions.

The conference is also expected to examine the repercussion of the international community’s reluctance to intervene to stop the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Despite repeated warnings, the international community stood-by–capable but unwilling to intervene to prevent the killings.

Idelphonse Karengera, the director of Memory and Prevention of Genocide at CNLG, said the forum seeks to provide an opportunity to reiterate the fact that the fight against genocide is an international community’s obligation.

“The purpose of this conference is to expose genocide and its impact to the world, so that it never happens anywhere else. It will also provide an opportunity to mobilise the international community for support of Genocide survivors,” Karengera said.

The first day of the forum will focus on the effectiveness of post-Genocide justice with the role of traditional Gacaca courts in focus.

Delegates will look at how the homegrown justice system contributed to new ways of managing transitional justice in line with reconstruction of society.

Tim Gallimore, former ICTR spokesperson, will moderate the discourse, with panelists, including; Justice minister Johnston Businge, Andrew Wallis, a researcher, Alain Gauthier, an activist, and Vagn Joensen, president of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The forum will also assess Rwanda’s responses to unprecedented situation in human history, involving complete destruction of society and nation.  

Other discussants expected at the forum are; Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo; Dr Gregory Gordon, a professor of International Law at the University of North Dakota; Linda Melvin, a British author; Mukesh Kapila, a professor at the University of Manchester; and Andrew Mwenda, a Ugandan  media manager and columnist.

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