Pursuit of justice: French, Swiss lawmakers press for trial of genocide fugitives 

By The Inspirer staff

Members of Parliament (MPs) from France and Switzerland have pushed for effective mechanisms to bring to book all genocide suspects, who have been attempting to escape justice, so that justice be done and the convicts receive punishments they deserve.

They made the appeal and commitment in Kigali on Monday as they spoke to the media after paying courtesy call to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Donatille Mukabalisa.

They had come to Rwanda chiefly to pay tribute to the victims of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in line with the 25th Genocide commemoration.

MP Hervé Berville, who was heading the delegation of four MPs from France, said that strategies should be put in place to prevent trivialization, revisionism and denial of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

“The fight against negationists and revisionists, who want to deny the reality of what happened – the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi – is also France’s  strong commitment,” he said adding that the country has put in more efforts including financial and human means in its court to ensure that justice is done.

“[That is intended] to act in such a way that impunity is broken [both] in France, and Europe, and that all the genocide suspects be dully taken to court,” he said.

He said that such a commitment is also a in line with the request by Ibuka – the Umbrella organisation of genocide survivors’ associations, which consisted in that aside from remembrance, and history, there should be decisive actions against genocide impunity.

Berville said that the first objective of their visit was “to show all our friendship, solidarity and compassion to the Rwandan people, the survivors and their families which were massacred during the genocide against the Tutsi.”

It was also intended to convey the message on behalf of France, of our French compatriots who also want to testify and pay tribute to all those lives that were claimed, he added.

While making a presentation during the beginning of the 25th commemoration of the Genocide on Sunday, Jean-Damascène Bizimana, Executive Secretary of National Commission for the fight against genocide (CNLG) said that some Governments harboring genocide fugitives are still reluctant to bring them before the justice, with a pretext that they have acquired nationality.

“This is not convincing,” Bizimana said.

Marina Carobbio Guscetti, the President of National Council of Switzerland, who was heading parliamentary delegation including seven MPs, said that they are going to champion legal action against genocide fugitives both at national and international level.

“We express our solidarity against the crime against humanity – the genocide which was committed. It is important for Switzerland that justice procedures be followed as it should,” she said indicating that Switzerland is known for observing human rights.

“Switzerland is always engaged in international tribunals against the genocide so to judge people who have committed such grave crimes. And it is both on the level of the government of Switzerland and international level that we will deal with such a concern,” she stated.

Appreciating Rwanda’s reconciliatory progress

Guscetti said “We are very impressed by the reconciliation efforts [in Rwanda] which are important to avoid the recurrence of similar situation.”

Berville stated that “[we wanted] to really salute, from the bottom of heart, the reconciliation that has been brought about, the manner in which Rwandan people, the Government of Rwanda, President Kagame have been able to make such a work after that terrible tragedy.”

The next step, Berville said that should focus on working together, remember, pay tribute to victims and after, continue partnership through two parliaments, society, entrepreneurs, sportspeople, cultural realm and work on very concrete, and common issues which help the two countries to make progress.

Since the establishment of the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit in 2007, the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) has issued 1,012 indictments and international arrest warrants against Genocide suspects in 32 countries in Africa, Europe, North America, Canada and New Zealand.

Figures from NPPA indicate that foreign jurisdictions have so far tried 22 suspects in their domestic courts, while Rwanda has received 19 fugitives up to now (some have been extradited, others transferred or deported).

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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