Commemoration of the 1995 Massacre in Kibeho: Remembering the Victims and Calling for Justice

When Kagame’s troops opened fire on people who tried to flee the Kibeho Camp for internal refugees in southern Rwanda on April 22, 1995, the rest rushed back inside. This is the photo that inspired Kanye West’s fashion show. – Photo: Paul Lowe

On April 22, 1995, a grave tragedy unfolded in Kibeho, southern Rwanda, where over 8,000 Hutu displaced persons were massacred under the regime of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame. This incident, marked by profound loss and unresolved grievances, is commemorated annually on this date by the United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), a Rwandan opposition political party.

The FDU-Inkingi, alongside numerous Rwandans and international allies, honors the memory of the victims whose lives were lost in this harrowing event. The party emphasizes the ongoing issue of impunity for the individuals in power in Kigali, who are yet to be held accountable for their actions.

The Kibeho massacre stands as a stark example of the broader issues of ethnic violence and human rights abuses in the region. Observations over the past 30 years in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo illustrate a disturbing pattern of civilian attacks based on ethnic origins, perpetrated by the RPF and affiliated groups such as M23.

Investigations by various independent entities including Robert Gersony (October 11, 1994), Roberto Garreton (April 2, 1997), and the comprehensive Mapping Report (August 2010) alongside research by Judy Rever, have compiled compelling evidence of the genocide against Hutus. These findings have prompted calls from the FDU-Inkingi for the international community and particularly the UN Security Council, to take decisive actions to ensure that those responsible are tried in a credible and independent court.

The FDU-Inkingi remains committed to the recognition and remembrance of the genocide against Hutus and advocates for justice and protection for the victims. They continue to work towards establishing a political framework in Rwanda that upholds peace, security, and justice for all Rwandans, promoting a society where every life is sacred and protected.

The declaration was made in Brussels on April 22, 2023, by Placide Kayumba, president of the FDU-Inkingi, reaffirming their dedication to the Rwandan people and their resilience in seeking truth and justice for the atrocities committed.

This annual commemoration serves not only as a reminder of the past horrors but also as a call to action to prevent future atrocities and to strive for a peaceful and just society in Rwanda and beyond.