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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid