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contribution 39 - NGARAMBE Joseph

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Reconciliation

Joseph NGARAMBE

transtlated version

I will try to be as concise as possible in my statement, especially as my fellow countrymen have taken the wind out of my sail. And I agree with my compatriot when he states that the hangmen of 1994 took themselves as gods, and they believed they would go in impunity after committing those crimes. But today we are satisfied. The number doesn’t matter. Some 30 or so have been tried. Irrespective of the circumstances, it is a strong signal. It is a source of appeasement. But the road is still long, the road to reconciliation.

Do we have faith in the future in Rwanda? We have concerns, because if the signal that has been sent by trying the 30 or so persons, as well as those whose trials are ongoing, I would say that is a beacon. It’s a signal displaying the fact that the international community has turned its back on the impunity which obtained in your countries. But also we should take note of the fact that impunity is reigning and it is in power in Rwanda.

Contrary to what my other compatriot, Jean Haguma has stated, in Rwanda we are led by a president who has been accused for committing crimes against humanity but who enjoys immunity. Eleven generals are being prosecuted in Spain alongside 40 senior ranking army officers for crimes against humanity and acts of terrorism. They cannot set foot in Europe. That is the fact in Rwanda. We are governed by persons presumed to be criminals. And stating that convicts have to serve their times in Rwanda is good enough, but provided Rwanda is a democratic country, a country which is at peace and which has turned its back against human rights violations, and which is far from the mark.

I am a refugee. I was a refugee when I was six. From 1963 to 1969, because my mother was a Tutsi and my Father had fled the country before the revolution of 1959, I had been exiled under the Hutu government. And today, while the Tutsis are in power, although they give a lame and hypocritical defence, I have been in exile for 15 years and I can’t set foot in my land.

Now claiming to tell prisoners that everything is good in my country. I can’t say that. We have a long way to go. Today I am going to bring up something. There is a law that has been enacted. Has a lesson been learned my country? Not at all. In 2001 the law of division was enacted, and it only applies to the Hutus. As though that was not enough, there was a law enacted about the original genocide. That law was denounced by Human Rights Watch and other human rights defence groups. That law seeks to terrorise any dissenting voice or opinion from government today.

One or two weeks ago, Human Rights Watch condemned a law in respect of sterilising mentally challenged persons, like during the Nazis’ time. And that occurred exactly two weeks ago. And that is my country.

Have we drawn lessons from our past, what happened to us? I would say there’s a glimmer in respect of reconciliation, but the way is still long, and there is a risk that we will once again relapse into violence. Thank you very much.

A. GARAPON

I have only three statements to take before we move on to the tribute to Alison Des Forges. I have Adama Dieng, Amoussouga and Ms. Fadugba.

Briefly, please.