News / Africa

Rwanda Marks 20 Years Since Genocide

Rwanda Marks 20 Years Since the Genocidei
X
Gabe Joselow
April 07, 2014 9:24 PM
In an emotional ceremony in the Rwandan capital, African leaders and foreign dignitaries paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. As VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame also took a swipe at the international community, following a diplomatic rift with France.
Gabe Joselow
On the 20th anniversay of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, President Paul Kagame paid tribute to the victims and also took a swipe at the international community following a diplomatic rift with France.

African heads of state and foreign dignitaries joined commemoration events in the Rwandan capital, beginning with a ceremony to light the National Flame of Mourning at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

April 7 marks the day 20 years ago when ethnic Hutu militias began a killing rampage targeting Tutsis and moderate Hutus who would not take part in the slaughter. Some 800,000 people were killed within 100 days.

Kagame honored the victims at a memorial event at Kigali's Amahoro Stadium.

“As we pay tribute to the victims, both the living and those who have passed, we also salute the unbreakable Rwandan spirit to which we owe the survival and renewal of our country,” he said.
People follow the proceedings of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, in Kigali April 7, 2014.People follow the proceedings of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, in Kigali April 7, 2014.
Thousands of people filled stadium seats to watch speeches, performances and a video to commemorate the anniversary.

Shouts and wails could be heard throughout the crowd as some became overwhelmed with emotion. Handlers in the crowd helped soothe those who had become distraught.

Current and former leaders from around the world also turned out for the occasion, but France withdrew its delegation in protest over comments from Kagame accusing France of having a role in the planning and execution of the genocide. France has long denied the claims.

France was the Rwandan government's main Western backer before the genocide, and trained its Hutu-dominated army.
 
  • Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide, is consoled by an unidentified woman while attending a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
  • Performers re-enact some of the events enter a public ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
  • Performers re-enact events at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
  • Two wailing women, some of dozens overcome by grief at recalling the horror of the genocide, are carried away to receive help during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
  • U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Jeannette Kagame and AU Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma participate in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
  • Rwandan children listen and pray during a Sunday morning service at the Saint-Famille Catholic church, the scene of many killings during the 1994 genocide, in the capital Kigali, April 6, 2014.
  • Rwandan worshippers attend the Evangelical Restoration Church, Kimisagara, one day ahead of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Kigali, April 6, 2014.
  • Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali, April 5, 2014.

While not directly mentioning the dispute, Kagame said Rwandans will continue to seek “concrete explanations" for the genocide.

“People cannot be bribed or forced into changing their history and no country is powerful enough - even when they think they are - to change the facts,” Kagame said.

The international community has been criticized for not doing enough to prevent the genocide, despite numerous warnings.

Speaking at the memorial event, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged these shortcomings.

“Many United Nations personnel and others showed remarkable bravery, but we could have done much more," he said. "We should have done much more.”

Ban said the international community still has more to learn from the lessons of Rwanda, noting the failure to stop the conflicts in Central African Republic and in Syria.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wilhelm Hesse from: Zambia
April 26, 2014 4:12 AM
Great article, indeed the shortcomings of the international community were also to blame for letting the violence spiral out of control. I remember very vividly as a teenager listening both to VOA and BBC radio services in 1993 about the tensions before the violence started and when the violence begun the appeals from journalists on the ground for more to be done to stop the violence. It was a terrible time, a feeling of helplessness, a lot must be done to stop this repeating itself, firstly democracy, real democracy is key to preventing hatred and vengence from festering in Africa and this is where African leaders must have the compassion within to do the right thing by governing in a transparent, tolerant way, caring for their people, with an ambition to really improve the lives of their people. Without a change in the mindset of the leaders and the people as well, we can have all the peacekeepers in the world deployed but the violence will continue. Change has to start from within.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs