Speech of HE Amb. Dieudonné Sebashongore during the commemorative ceremony of the victims of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 at the Secretariat of the OACPS (29/04/2022)
- Excellency Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of the OACPS;
- Excellency Dr. Daniel Emery Dede, President of the Committee of Ambassadors of the OACPS;
- Excellency Mr. Daniel EVINA ABE’E, the Dean of OACPS Ambassadors in Brussels;
- Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to the OACPS;
- Fellow Rwandans;
- Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to first and foremost thank the Secretary-General and his team for hosting us today. The last time we held such a ceremony, 3 years ago was on the occasion of the 25th commemorations of the Genocide against the Tutsi. We note with appreciation that the OACPS Secretariat has been able to join us for the last 18 years.
I also want to thank my fellow Ambassadors and High Commissioners, as well as the representatives of OACPS partners here present for their support today, some of you were already present at the Remembrance Stèle on the 7th of April, a gesture which we deeply appreciate as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In April 1994 and for 100 days, more than one million Tutsi were massacred for the sole reason of being born Tutsi. For the 28th time, we remember the lives of those who were assassinated. We come together as one to honour their memory, build ourselves up, and renew ourselves. Genocide is not an isolated incident; it is a carefully planned act to eradicate every trace of the existence of a group of people. The Genocide against the Tutsi, like other genocides, are atrocities beyond our comprehension. To understand, we need to look at the lives of each victim. Genocide has many faces and layers, to understand it fully, we need to first listen. Listen to those who carry on the physical and psychological consequences of Genocide.
I truly applaud the courage of the survivors. But their courage will be vain if concrete steps are not taken. The first step we need to take is to bring to Justice those responsible for this crime of crimes. As of today, 28 long years later, many of those suspected of committing Genocide are still at large. The Government of Rwanda, therefore, appeals to Members States present here today to fight the culture of impunity and bring to Justice the perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Rwanda is willing and able to try them by itself in a court of law, as it is the case for Jean-Paul MICOMYIZA, who was recently extradited from Sweden for alleged crimes of Genocide, complicity of Genocide and crimes against humanity.
Justice alone is not enough. The second step that we must take, is to allow no tolerance for those who still deny the reality of the Genocide against the Tutsi. The international community in its large majority has recognised the specificity of this crime and the targeted group. This was emphasized by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 2150. In addition, we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by the deceptive methods of Genocide deniers, who often accuse the victims of being perpetrators. There should be no hiding place left for such ideology. Therefore, the Government of Rwanda appeals to Member States of the OACPS to put in place laws to punish the crime of negation and denial of Genocide in general and the Genocide against the Tutsi in particular.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
International organisations played a powerful role in bringing peace to the world during the second half of the 20th century. They promoted cooperation over confrontation, bringing together nations and people towards a common goal. The OACPS is a prime example of countries coming together toward a common goal, among which is promoting solidarity between its members, as it has been put in the Revised Georgetown Agreement of 2019.
However, most of the world has turned a blind eye to what was unfolding in Rwanda in 1994. Many failed to call the Genocide by its name, fearing that it would require to take action, with the exception of a few countries among which is Nigeria. We remain grateful for their courageous act. The international community’s inaction has led to events such as the April 11th massacres in the technical school of ETO in Kigali, where more than 2,000 Tutsi were left at the mercy of killers by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I want to conclude my remarks with a message of hope. It is unquestionable that Genocide broke the social fabric of our society. However, with time, Rwanda’s unity has been restored once again, and our people’s resilience has brought our country back from the ashes. Today, Rwanda is regarded as a beacon of stability, a model of good Governance, and has great prospects for growth. This journey has been long and we have a lot still to do. Nevertheless, our journey is an example that when there is a will, there is always a way.
As we leave the ceremony today and go back to our daily lives, I invite you to keep the victims in your thoughts. Let us all carry the flame of Memory, to make “never again” a reality.
Thank you for your kind attention.