Rwanda 20 Years Later

by Jacqueline Murekatete

Jacqueline Murekatete is a New York-based attorney, a human rights activist, and a Women’s Media Center SheSource Expert. She is currently working on a book about her genocide experience and prevention work as well as starting a human rights organization through which she plans to continue her advocacy and raise support for genocide survivors. The following is cross-posted from the Women’s Media Center, where it was first published on July 2, 2014.

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A remembrance ceremony for families killed during the genocide. photo courtesy of GAERG (a Rwandan-based survivors’ organization)

About three years ago, I returned to Rwanda for the first time since the 1994 genocide. Upon returning to the village where I grew up, I was both saddened and angry as I realized there was no sign my family ever lived there. Yams and cassava were growing in the same spot where my family’s home once stood. Horrific memories came flooding back.

From April to July of each year, Rwanda and the world commemorate the genocide. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the genocide. But for those of us who lived through it, in some ways, it may as well have been yesterday. Even today, I am deeply troubled by the memories of those 100 days in which neighbor turned against neighbor, friends became enemies, and even priests and nuns actively participated in the killing of those who sought refuge in churches.

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France vs the rest of the world – who is right?

 by Paul Bradfield

On 26 February, the highest court in France, the Court of Cassation, overturned a ruling given by an appeals court last year which had approved the extradition of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana to Rwanda to stand trial.  It also upheld a ruling which had rejected the extradition of Laurent Serubuga.

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Claude Muhayimana (L) and Innocent Musabyimana (R), the two Rwandan men accused of taking part in the massacre of ethnic Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, wait outside a courtroom after their extradition hearing at the courthouse in Paris (Photo: AFP)

Muhayimana is accused of taking part in the massacre of Tutsis in the western town of Kibuye, while Musabyimana is alleged to have been involved in the killings in the north-western province of Gisenyi. Serubuga was Rwanda’s deputy army chief-of-staff at the time of the genocide.

In essence, the court ruled that the men could not be tried retroactively for crimes which were not legally defined at the time it was allegedly committed. Continue reading