Deal with justice, Rwanda advises Kenya

April 6, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – Rwandan envoy George Kayonga has said Kenya needs to deal with justice first for true reconciliation to be achieved following the post 2007 election violence.

Mr Kayonga said Rwanda was able to achieve reconciliation after the genocide that killed close to a million people in 100 days because they involved the community in seeking justice.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, the envoy said the underlying causes of such conflicts also needed to be resolved to achieve reconciliation.

“Justice does not necessarily mean that somebody is put in jail for a lifetime or sentenced to death. But if the community is involved in determining a crime and then the party that performed the crime also accept that they did it, this is called restorative justice and is essential in healing,” said the envoy.

Mr Kayonga was speaking ahead of the 15th official commemoration of the Rwandan genocide to be marked on Tuesday, where he said Rwanda’s bitter past and experience should be a lesson to all to put forward unity, reconciliation and peace and shun tribalism and hatred.

“All over the world there will be events to mark the commemoration and for the next 100 days over which we will commemorate the genocide, the Rwandan Diaspora will be engaged in a ‘one dollar campaign’ whose purpose is to raise funds to build houses for the orphans of the Rwandan genocide,” he added.

The envoy said the world should fight genocide ideologies – dangerous ideas that propagate hatred – and work towards a common goal of protecting the human race against genocide threats.

“Today, Rwanda is forward-looking and full of hope, but the past cannot be forgotten,” he said.

The Rwandan massacre against the Tutsi and moderate Hutus happened as the world watched in 1994 but 15 years on, hundreds of suspected perpetrators are still at large according to AFP.

They include many of those on the wanted list of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and they (suspected perpetrators) are presumed to be living under false identities in Belgium, Canada, France, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

After the massacre of the Tutsi minority many Hutu militants fled the troops of Rwandan President Paul Kagame to neighboring DRC, still holding on to their weapons.

Felicien Kabuga, who allegedly financed the massacre, is claimed to have sought refuge in countries like Kenya, which has been accused of failing to apprehend him.


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