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thirtieth anniversary |  Rwanda commemorates the Tutsi genocide

thirtieth anniversary | Rwanda commemorates the Tutsi genocide

(Kigali) Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced on Sunday, marking the 30th anniversary of the Tutsi genocide, that the international community “failed us all” during the Tutsi genocide.H The anniversary of the massacres whose shadow still hangs over this country located in the African Great Lakes region.


Official commemorations began on Sunday, April 7 – the anniversary of the first killings that became the last genocide of the twentieth century, which left 800,000 dead, mostly among the Tutsi minority, but also among moderate Hutus.

The international community has been severely criticized for its inaction before and during the genocide.

“It is the international community that has failed us all, whether through contempt or cowardice,” Paul Kagame declared during a speech to several thousand people at the PK Arena, a modern multi-purpose hall in the capital, Kigali.

“No one, not even the African Union, can absolve itself of its inaction in the face of the history of foreseeable genocide. Let us have the courage to acknowledge it and take responsibility for it.”

Paul Kagame – who has ruled the country with an iron fist since the end of the genocide – gathered in the morning, along with foreign dignitaries, before a wreath and lit a memorial torch at the Gisozi Memorial.

At the end of the day, thousands of people participated in a night vigil at the 10,000-seat BK Arena, candles in hand.

“Today is a bad day for all Rwandans,” Ernestine Mukambarushimana, 30, says gently. She says that this party benefits her. “I don't feel alone.”

Photo by Louis Tatou, AFP

Former US President Bill Clinton (center) attended the memorial ceremony.

Among the attendees was Angie Christian Kwizera, who was seven years old when Hutu militiamen killed his parents in Mbilizi Diocese (southwest). He became a history professor to help “ensure that another genocide never happens.”

American President Bill Clinton, posted at the Maison Blanche during the massacres, the French Minister of Affaires, Stephane Séjourné and the French secretary at the Mer Hervé Berville, near Rwanda, helped further. a party.

“Responsibilities”

On the occasion of this anniversary, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed in a video clip broadcast on Sunday that “France assumes everything and this is exactly in the terms it used” on May 27, 2021. While traveling to Kigali, he said afterward that he had reached a “recognition” of “responsibilities.” France.

Paris, which maintained close ties with the Hutu regime when the genocide began, has long been accused by Kigali of “complicity.”

“We have all left hundreds of thousands of victims in this hellish closed session,” he added, explaining that Paris was “not complicit” with the perpetrators of the Hutu genocide. Macron did not apologise, while saying he hoped for forgiveness from the survivors.

“I have no words to add, and no words to take away from what I told you that day,” he said on Sunday.

On Thursday, the Elysee reported that, according to Emmanuel Macron, France could have “stopped the 1994 genocide” in Rwanda “with its Western and African allies,” but it “did not have the will.” Words that the head of state did not say on Sunday.

After decades of tensions, which reached the point of the collapse of diplomatic relations between Paris and Kigali between 2006 and 2009, rapprochement became possible between the two countries after the formation of a committee by Emmanuel Macron that concluded in 2021 that France had “conducted heavy campaigns.” “And grave responsibilities.”

US President Joe Biden announced that the repercussions of the massacres “are still being felt throughout Rwanda and around the world.” He added: “We will never forget the horrors of those 100 days.”

massacre

In Rwanda, music will not be allowed in public places or on the radio for seven days. Sports events and films will be prohibited from being broadcast on television, unless they are related to celebrations.

The killings broke out in the spring of 1994 the day after the attack on Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane, in a wave of hatred fueled by virulent anti-Tutsi propaganda.

The massacre ended when the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) insurgency captured Kigali on July 4, displacing hundreds of thousands of Hutus into neighboring Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Thirty years later, the exhumation of mass graves continues.

Rwanda is implementing reconciliation work, notably through the establishment in 2002 of community courts, called “gacaca” where victims can hear the “confessions” of their executioners.

Justice has played a major role, but according to Kigali, hundreds of people suspected of participating in the genocide remain at large, especially in neighboring countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

For his part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, urged “countries around the world to redouble their efforts to bring all suspected perpetrators still alive to justice.”


Read “The Tutsi Genocide: A Massacre Off the Cameras”

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