ALEXANDERPLATZ - The 15th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was marked in Germany and was organised by the Rwandan Embassy.
It was hosted at the historic Berliner Congress Centre in Alexanderplatz, and was attended by ambassadors, journalists, academics, the Rwandan community and other friends of Rwanda living in Europe.
The conference which was opened with an address of solidarity from Rabbi Dr. Tovia Ben Chorin, from the Jewish Community, had ‘fighting trivialisation and negationism and building the Rwandan nation’ as the theme. The large audience heard four key presentations.
Esther Mujawayo, a survivor and founder of AVIVA, spoke of the current need to support widows and orphans.
Emmanuel Cattier, a French member of the pressure group Survie that campaigns for the end of his country’s neo-colonial policies in Africa, analysed the responsibility of France and the need for that country to admit its role in the Genocide and face up to its past.
Andrew Wallis, journalist and researcher called for the International Community to appreciate the traumatic past the Genocide has left, to show a new empathy in its dealing with Rwanda and to end the hypocrisy that has left many wanted genocidaires free in Europe to continue their hateful revisionist views while Rwandan diplomats such as Rose Kabuye have been arrested.
Kabuye was arrested last year in the German City of Frankfurt over allegations by French judge Jean Louis Bruguiere that she had a role in the shooting down of a plane that was carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana.
Eugene Gashugi, from IBUKA, an umbrella body of Genocide Survivors’ associations, highlighted on the need for the International Community to face up to its responsibilities to ensure dispensation of justice by arresting those who still live comfortably in the West despite the terrible crimes they committed in Rwanda 15 years ago.
Several indicted fugitives continue to live in Germany including the top leadership of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an outfit largely composed of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide.
The conference then heard moving testimonies from two survivors, Mathilde Muhongerwa and Dr Wolfgang Blam and concluded by the head of the Rwandan Embassy in Germany, James Ngango.
Also in memory of the over one million victims of the Genocide, a church service was held at St Hedwig’s Cathedral.
The address was given by Rev Dr Volker Faigler, the Plenipotentiary of the EKD Council to the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union, and a testimony from Jacqueline Blam, a genocide survivor.