FONDATION HIRONDELLE – HIRONDELLE NEWS AGENCY IN ARUSHA
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA
Arusha, 8 April, 2009
Hassan Jallow, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has stated that it is an indisputable legal fact that genocide took place in Rwanda in 1994 and dismissed negationists who try to describe the tragic event otherwise.
Quoting a UN Appeals Court decision of 16 June, 2006, Justice Jallow said that there was no reasonable basis for anyone to dispute that during 1994 there was a campaign of mass killings intending to destroy in whole or at least in very large part Rwanda’s Tutsi population.
Jallow was addressing the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Arusha, Tanzania, organized by the Rwandan community, at Naura Springs Hotel. Arusha is the seat of the UN Court trying key suspects of the heinous killings.
Although the exact numbers may never be known , the great majority of Tutsis were murdered and many others were raped or otherwise harmed. Jallow further quoted the Appeals ruling, adding that the Rwanda genocide is a part of world history, ascertained as any other as a classic instance of fact of common knowledge.
This decision, he explained, legally met the threshold of genocide beyond dispute. He further underscored that it has provided the legal answer to those who negate the genocide or seek to describe it otherwise.
The Prosecutor noted that at the political level with the United Nations and other organizations, the occurrence of the genocide was already accepted and beyond any doubt. Nonetheless, we have to continuously retain memory and remembrance of the tragic event in order not to give negationists any room and enable us to reflect constantly on ways to prevent recurrence of genocide, he emphasized.
The Arusha Regional Commissioner, Isidore Shirima, who also attended the occasion, said that genocide would not have taken place in Rwanda had the international community acted in a timely way. The effects of genocide committed were felt and are still being felt in the region to date, he said.
The Special Representative of the Rwandan Government to the ICTR, Alloys Mutabingwa, said that the whole world regrets its indifference and the shame caused by its inaction.
The entire community of nations is recounting the horrors that resulted from such a level of indifference, he told the gathering, which also included members of diplomatic corps and top level ICTR officials, among others.
During the solemn occasion, the Vice Chairperson of Rwandans in Diaspora, Ms Leonie Rutanga, launched a “One- Dollar” campaign to raise funds for orphans of genocide. She said the money collected would go towards construction of a hostel and training centre for about 500 orphans in Rwanda.
The campaign will last 100 days, the same duration of the 1994 killings, which according to UN estimates, claimed the lives of about 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The commemoration was punctuated with prayers, choir singing and candle-lighting.
Adapted from a report of the Hirondelle News Agency.