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Rwanda Seeks Justice for Genocide Victims

  • Peter Clottey

FILE - Performers re-enact events at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, April 7, 2014.

FILE - Performers re-enact events at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, April 7, 2014.

Rwanda’s attorney general said the government in Kigali is working with international partners and organizations to continue to pursue perpetrators of the country’s 1994 genocide.

About 800,000 mainly minority Tutsi were killed during the country’s 100-day massacre.

Attorney General Busingye Johnston said the government will not relent in efforts to ensure victims and survivors of the genocide receive justice.

He said Rwanda is working with international partners, including the International Tribunal for Rwanda, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, and Interpol, to locate and prosecute the fugitives he said played key roles in the genocide.

“Those people have a case to answer and they have been out there on the run. Some of them are in places we think there are others. We don’t know their whereabouts, but we have got a number of indictments out there,” Johnston said.

“We have asked the international community to track them down, because these are people who have got probably the biggest offense in mankind’s [history] on their hands and they are all over the world. These are people who should be tried where they are or be extradited to Rwanda to face trial,” he added.

Life sentence upheld

His comment came after a high Court in Rwanda upheld a life sentence appeal from former justice minister Agnes Ntamabyariro for her role in the genocide. She was found guilty of involvement in the death of Jean Baptiste Habyarimana during the massacre.

Johnston welcomed the court’s decision, "My reaction is simply to accept the verdict of the court.”

But critics of the government said the administration in Kigali often uses the genocide to attack opponents of President Paul Kagame in a bid to silence dissent at home and abroad.

Johnston disagreed. He said there is evidence against those who played key roles in the genocide and escaped abroad to run away from justice.

He cited cases against individuals in countries including the United States, Belgium, France and the Netherlands who are accused of roles they played in the massacre.

“It’s only fair to say whoever has something to say let him say so with evidence. The genocide happened in 1994 and the people who are being pursued now, until now, have got evidence that have been gathered not only by Rwanda but by the International Criminal Tribunal and by other countries,” Johnston said.

“I don’t believe that Rwanda is working with all these countries across the world to pursue political opponents, that’s not the case," he added.

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