Ensuring justice is a responsibility for all

Desire Munyaneza was on Friday convicted by the Quebec superior court in Montréal under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes Act that was enacted in Canada a few years ago.

Desire Munyaneza was on Friday convicted by the Quebec superior court in Montréal under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes Act that was enacted in Canada a few years ago.

Munyaneza who was described by the Judge Andre Denis as an educated son of a bourgeoisie family from Butare has been living in Canada since 1997. However the case is not yet closed as the sentencing will be done in September.

This means that the case is still Sub judice. Indeed the court released a brief press release without going into details noting that it would be inappropriate as the case is still open. This then makes it difficult for one to comment on this particular case as it may be deemed contempt of court.

In this regard it would be appropriate to have a general look into the role of international organizations and foreign countries - hence their municipal courts in dealing with serious crimes like genocide and crimes against humanity.

Foremost, it will be recalled that in recent years the United Nations proclaimed the responsibility to protect principle. When countries all over the world decide to prosecute crimes not necessarily committed in those countries, they are giving justice to the people that were wronged and in a way protecting such communities from the possibility of such criminals repeating the crimes they committed before.

If somebody sets out to destroy an ethnic group and he/she manages to exterminate some people, but is stopped mid way, he/ she will continue with that mission if not restrained by authorities in future. And being punished for such crimes is a way of protecting such communities from his future actions.

The genocide ideology is being propagated by those who conceived it in the first place and did put it into action then. At the moment they continue to propagate the ideology out there. It is sad that they are being assisted by scholars and other people who would be regarded as opinion leaders in the developed world.

Some ‘respectable’ members of the international community have authored articles in international newspapers and magazines talking about post Genocide Rwanda. Some have taken issue with the situation in the country.

I would not want to repeat some of their allegations as many are baseless or even what they regard as the norm in their countries, is out of context when applied to the situation of countries like Rwanda.

What such leaders of global international non governmental organizations ought to do, is to remember that what happened in Rwanda in 1994, was done by people some of whom are still at large and still bent on doing what they did before.

To advance such human rights agendas as they purport to do, they may do a great service to humanity by advocating for the prosecution of Genocide suspects that are still at large.

Another important point is that many who were targets of the genocide, and lost their loved ones do not see justice to be done when cases are prosecuted in foreign courts.

It would be prudent if the people who killed in Rwanda are extradited to where they killed from, and justice is seen to be done-literally- by those who were affected by the crimes of the Genocidaires.

Rwanda’s judicial system has made a lot of progress since 1994, and it is in position to meet what is termed as “international standards”. This is one of the reasons some foreign courts have advance as a reason for denying requests to extradite some of the genocide suspects.

On such occasions one wonders what international standards the Genocidaires were following when they carried out their crimes. But such are the ways of the world.

In any case it is obvious that whereas the process of finding justice is painfully slow and sometimes people loose hope as it takes years to resolve some of these cases.

What is more important in my view is to guarantee the security of those who were targeted for extermination and ensuring it never happens again.