30 years after: Amnesty International seeks justice for Rwanda genocide victims

AMNESTY International has said that justice for the Rwanda genocide victims was more urgent than ever as the country will tomorrow, April 7, mark 30 years of remembrance.

Amnesty International in a statement on Saturday, April 6, called on the international community to urgently renew its commitment to ensure justice and accountability for the victims and the survivors.

The ICIR reports that the Republic of Rwanda will, on Sunday, April 7, begin the 30th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.


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An estimated 800,000 people were killed, including Hutu and others who opposed the genocide and the extremist government that orchestrated it.

Many perpetrators have been tried before national and community courts in Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and courts in Europe and North America under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Recent developments underline the urgent need to pursue justice.

However, Amnesty International Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Tigere Chagutah said that justice delayed is justice denied.

“The confirmed deaths of several of the most-wanted genocide suspects before they could face justice, and the indefinite suspension of the trial of another indictee due to age-related illness, show the importance of maintaining momentum to deliver justice for survivors and relatives of victims in Rwanda.”

“To honour the memories of the victims of the genocide and to deliver justice for survivors and victims’ families, we urge states to recommit to the tireless and timely pursuit of justice, including through prosecuting suspected perpetrators through universal jurisdiction where appropriate,” Chagutah added.

Between May 2020 and November 2023, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) Fugitive Tracking Team confirmed the deaths of four of the most wanted fugitives indicted by the ICTR.




     

     

    These included Augustin Bizimana, minister of defence during the genocide; Protais Mpiranya, commander of the presidential guard; Phénéas Munyarugarama, commander of Gako military camp and the highest-ranking military officer in the Bugesera region during the genocide.

    In August 2023, the trial of 90-year-old alleged chief genocide financier Félicien Kabuga, who was caught after 26 years on the run, was suspended indefinitely due to age-related illness.

    According to Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Wole Soyinka, the shade of Rwanda hangs over Nigeria as a nation.

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    He had warned that the incessant killings by suspected Fulani herders across Nigeria could be likened to the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994, The ICIR reported.

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