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contribution 36 - GARAPON Antoine

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Reconciliation

Thomas KAMILINDI

transtlated version

During the topic impacts of judgement and sentencing, I would like to highlight something which has not been covered at all, and it is the emotional and psychological impact of a judgement. During the genocide and this is a personal testimony. At the time of the genocide I was a refugee I took refuge in a hotel in Kigali which has become a famous hotel, namely, the Hôtel Mille Collines. I am not a intellectual, but I’m not also a layman. But despite the little education I have acquired, during the genocide what I witnessed, in fact, I saw these killers like gods of evil like untouchables. I didn’t believe one second that justice will catch up with them.

And when justice, international justice, for that matter, opened its trials of those big fish, you have those big fish who actually unleashed those killers, I said that is something. At last. What I didn’t believe would happen is indeed happening, and this is unbelievable. It is amazing.

In short, I waited for those judgements with indescriptable patience. And the more time flies, the more it kills. So I am pleading that pre trial detentions be reduced in length.

When the Jean de Dieu Kambanda judgement was handed down I shed tears. It was so emotional. I said is it possible that he has been convicted, this all powerful man who unleashed killers to murder people at the Mille hotel? Justice has done its job, and I felt that a huge burden had a been taken off my shoulders. I have no words to describe what I felt, but I actually felt I had been freed or ridden of a burden which I have no words to express.

So the issue of emotional impact must be considered. Although I cannot assess its weight on a convict or a person found guilty, but I believe that for the victims, judgements are important. It heals them because it frees them of a burden. And to my mind, judgements must be delivered swiftly because by delivering justice, justice would recover what was taken away by the culprits and even mankind. So a swift action of justice also helps us.

A. GARAPON

Thank you for your testimony. Professor Réné Degni-Ségui.