On the international day dedicated to the fight genocide and to remember all who perished, the Rwanda Truth Commission takes this opportunity to remember all victims of genocide across the world. At a time when there is increasing discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion, this day ought to be a reminder to us all to fight racism and discrimination, which are the core tenets of the ideology of genocide.
The Rwanda Truth Commission wishes to remind all states and justice systems all over the world that they have a moral and legal responsibility to prevent genocide and punish its perpetrators.
With regard to Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Africa, the international criminal justice system has not impartially fulfilled its obligation. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has pursued, prosecuted and punished many who were the perpetrators of genocide against Tutsi, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICTR has committed a fatal mistake by deliberately refusing to exercise the same responsibility in investigating, prosecuting and punishing many in Rwanda’s current military, formerly a rebel army of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who are responsible for similar crimes they committed against Hutu in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is now public knowledge that the investigations that were being carried by Ms. Carla Del Ponte, ICTR’s Prosecutor at the time, on Rwanda’s RPF’s rebel army, came to a halt due to the interference by Western powers which were, and still are, protective of the current Rwanda regime.
With regard to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a United Nations Mapping Report investigating such crimes (1993-2003) provided sufficient evidence that acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed against Hutu. Many millions of Congolese people have died at the hands of Rwanda’s brutal direct and proxy wars, fuelled in part by geostrategic interests of Western imperial powers.
Whether in Rwanda or the Democratic republic of Congo, the ICTR and its international sponsors have been biased in favour of the Rwandan victors of the 1994 civil war. The consequence is a victor’s justice whose negative implications in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region is the vicious cycle of impunity and violent conflict.
The Rwanda Truth Commission calls upon all states and the international justice system to correct this blatant injustice and bring to justice those in Rwanda’s Government who are responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against Hutu and Congolese people.
Only through a fair and unbiased application of international law will prevention of genocide be possible.
Only through such a committed responsibility to prevent and punish genocide will the remembrance of victims and solidarity with survivors cease to be a mere ritual.
Only then will “Never Again” be within reach.
9th December, 2017
Rwanda Truth Commission