Today (Tuesday) is the 15th anniversary of Rwanda's 1994 genocide which
saw hundreds of thousands of mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus killed over a
hundred day period. Some political observers believe the assassination of
former President Juvenal Habyarimana led to the massacre after his plane was
shot down. Current President Paul Kagame's government has vowed not to relent
until all the perpetrators of the genocide are brought to justice, a move that
has been embraced by the international community.
Rosemary Museminari is
Rwanda's foreign minister. She tells reporter Peter Clottey that the country is
determined not to have a repeat of the situation that degenerated into
meaning of today is number one we remember over one million Rwandese who
perished in the genocide, but we also take time to think about those who
survived, but also call on the world to do all that is possible to prevent such
a catastrophe happening to any other people in the world. So, we think that it
is very important to remember the worth of those people and because of what
they meant to our country. But also to combine our forces with those who
survived this and then remind the world also that the world needs to really
have responsibility," Museminari pointed out.
said Kigali would want the world to take responsibility after refusing to help
those who needed help and leaving them at the mercy of the perpetrators of the
we will be at the spot where those who were abandoned at that time by the
United Nations forces were killed by those who were hunting them having been
abandoned by those who were supposed to protect them. So, we see it as a day
that the world needs to really take time to reflect, what we need to do better
so it is a combination of many things," she said.
said although Kigali has been successful in its efforts to bring to book those
behind the genocide, there is more room for improvement.
for one, we have had our own justice system whether through the ordinary court,
through the Gacaca Court and we have also had few cases being tried in Arusha
(Tanzania), but we feel there is still a long way to go because as we talk you
hear them (perpetrators) talk on radio and on various airwaves and we think
that is not correct. We also know that some of them are busy organizing and
sending out hate messages, busy trying to change history to deny the genocide.
So, we think that to some extent we have succeeded, but there is still a long
to go," Museminari noted.
said President Kagame's government aims to ensure through its policies that the
dangers of that led to the genocide would be avoided in the future.
Kagame's government has been busy putting in place institutional mechanisms,
putting in place laws to ensure that really what is pronounced as political
messages and what is pronounced as wisdom out of our leaders really get imbedded
in these laws, gets imbibed in institutions to follow through to ensure that
people do not bring out these kinds of hate messages. So, it is imbedded
through the legal system and entrenched in our constitution and indeed in the
kind of institutions that we have to dare develop," she said.
said Rwanda is determined to move on despite the human losses to the genocide.
you recognize today's theme, we are remembering our loved ones we lost in the
genocide, but we are also reminding the world that it should stop the denial.
And also reminding people that while we went through all that there is hope for
those who survived because of what Rwanda stands for today," Museminari pointed
Kigali carefully chose a symbolic location to
commemorate today's anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi minority and
highlight what President Kagame's government described as the bankruptcy of
humanity during the 1994 massacres.
national ceremony is expected to take place in Nyanza, a hill in Kigali where
thousands of people were slaughtered on April 11 after the Belgian U.N.
contingent that had been protecting them pulled out leaving the people at the
mercy of the perpetrators of the
Political observers believe it took an army of exiled
Tutsi Rwandans, led by Rwanda's current president Paul Kagame, to stop the
killings. Kagame's government has vowed that a Rwandan genocide will never
happen again. It's a policy that has reportedly had a tremendous impact on the
whole region, especially in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
President Kagame's government has
often accused the world of not doing enough to bring
to justice genocide perpetrators still at large and particularly accusing
France of failing to acknowledge its role in allowing the killings.
A French judge blamed
President Kagame who at the time was the leader of the Tutsi rebel group and
some of his closest associates for masterminding and carrying out the rocket
attack which brought down the plane assassinating former President Habyarimana.
But President Kagame has sharply condemned the accusation as a sham accusing
the French of abdicating its responsibility in the genocide after it trained
militants who reportedly carried out the 1994 attacks.
Kagame maintains that the
genocide was the work of Hutu extremists in order to provide a pretext to carry
out their well orchestrated plans to exterminate the Tutsi community, which
they describe as cockroaches.
The accusation and counter
accusation between Kigali and Paris has led to a frosty diplomatic relationship
with Kigali severing diplomatic ties with France until recently.
Hundreds of suspects
sought for their involvement in the killings are believed to be living in
countries such as France, Belgium, Canada, Kenya and Congo. Kigali has vowed to
bring them to justice no matter what it takes.