Rwanda: Kwibuka22 to Focus On Fighting Genocide Ideology
By Eugene Kwibuka
March 13, 2016
Events to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, dubbed Kwibuka22 from the Kinyarwanda word that means ‘to remember’, will be held across the country next month with a focus on fighting Genocide ideology, Sunday Times has learned.
Officials from the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) have said during interviews with this newspaper that the government has decided to keep the focus on fighting genocide ideology to respond to constant attempts by Genocide deniers to undermine the slaughter.
“The main reason why we continue to focus on genocide denial and ideology during the commemoration is because the issues remain a big challenge.
As we move past the Genocide, more people, especially the young, need to be told about it so that they can have adequate knowledge needed to counter those who deny it,” said Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of CNLG.
Under Rwandan laws, the Genocide ideology is a crime that is defined as an aggregate of thoughts manifested by conduct, speeches, documents and other acts aiming at exterminating or inciting others to exterminate people based on their ethnic group, origin, nationality, region, colour, physical appearance, sex, language, religion or political opinion.
Whether it’s in ‘normal’ periods or during war, the crime of Genocide ideology can be committed through marginalising, laughing at one’s misfortune, defaming, mocking, boasting, despising, degrading, creating confusion aiming at negating the genocide, stirring up ill feelings, taking revenge, altering testimony or evidence for the Genocide which occurred, killing, planning to kill or attempting to kill someone for purposes of furthering the ideology.
Cases of Genocide ideology tend to occur in April during the commemoration and figures vary. In the last three years, 180 cases were reported in 2013, 138 in 2014 while 168 cases had been reported to police by July 2015.
“We have to admit that we still have cases of Genocide ideology. Some forms of Genocide denial are still around such as in cases where people question why we commemorate it or don’t join others in the exercise during the commemoration week in April,” said Dr Jean-Damascène Gasanabo, the Director-General of Research and Documentation at CNLG.
This year’s commemoration is not very different from last year’s focus, which was specifically about ‘fighting against Genocide denial and revisionism’.
In line with last year’s theme, Dr Bizimana said, a number of achievements have been made such as in building an international network that challenges Genocide denial through research and documentation as well as public speaking on the topic of the 1994 Genocide.
The network is made up of experts at CNLG, international researchers on Genocide, journalists, as well as Genocide survivors’ organisations mostly based in Europe and America.
“It’s an important to build the network and we will continue to strengthen it,” he said, singling out exchange of information and field trips to Rwanda among other mechanisms to strengthen the network.
Rwandans and friends of Rwanda every year come together to pay tribute to over one million who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
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