Countries should follow in Belgium’s footsteps

WHEN, in 2001, Belgium began criminal proceedings against Rwandans living on its soil for their part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, there was hope that there would be no safe haven for fugitives in Europe. The misplaced conception was that other countries would soon follow suit and rid their streets of orchestrators of the most heinous crime of the century, but that spirit was slow to catch on as thousands continue to roam many cities. Subsequent trials between 2007 and 2009 were shrouded in technicalities, the accused were not charged with Genocide but rather War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. That is the mysteries of justice, as if Gencoide is not a crime against humanity.

WHEN, in 2001, Belgium began criminal proceedings against Rwandans living on its soil for their part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, there was hope that there would be no safe haven for fugitives in Europe.

The misplaced conception was that other countries would soon follow suit and rid their streets of orchestrators of the most heinous crime of the century, but that spirit was slow to catch on as thousands continue to roam many cities.

Subsequent trials between 2007 and 2009 were shrouded in technicalities, the accused were not charged with Genocide but rather War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. That is the mysteries of justice, as if Gencoide is not a crime against humanity.

This time around, Belgium has broken with tradition and announced the indictment for Genocide of seven other Rwandans living in the country. The Belgian authorities also announced that over 30 others are under their judicial radars and could also be subject to face trial.

It is inconceivable that 20 years after the Genocide, countries are yet to do the right thing and bring perpetrators to justice. It is not the resources that lack, nor the 

feeling of revulsion over the crime, it is the will to mete out justice that is missing.

As we remember victims of Genocide this season, it is time reluctant countries over come their fears or demons and tackle the issue of impunity once and for all. The victims deserve a better deal than they are getting.

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