We are not truly safe. Not for us. Not for anyone.
Speaking at AIPAC, President Kagame made an important call for ‘renewed global solidarity against the relentless efforts to deny genocide and trivialise the victims.”
Both Rwanda and Israel experienced Genocide, and have seen failure of international community to protect civilians.
On the inaugural International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide, a day to pay tribute to the memory of the victims and a reminder of our collective responsibility to stop mass atrocities , former UN Secretary, Ban Ki-moon said “Governments must act on this imperative by investing in prevention and taking preventive action.”
He added,“On this new international observance, let us recognise the need to work together more concertedly to protect individuals from gross human rights violations and uphold our common humanity.”.
As the response to the failure of preventing and stopping the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, the international community endorsed the principle of ‘Responsibility to protect’ (R2P).
Responsibility to Protect says that sovereignty entails a responsibility to protect, thus first and foremost a state is responsible for protecting and prevent its citizen from genocide and mass atrocities. And, if a country fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocity crimes then the international community must act.
Despite, R2P existence the international community continues to fail countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic and others.
Ahead of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention, Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) called upon different countries to bring to justice genocide perpetrators.
“Problems relating to the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi remain — they are a result of the inaction and lack of political will by global leaders to carry out justice.” CNLG Executive Secretary, Dr Bizimana Jean Damascene remarks “The same inaction and lack of political will have also meant that many suspected genocidaires residing outside Rwanda remain unpunished — the concept of universal jurisdiction remains empty when host countries do not have sufficient legal measures or determination to prosecute them before their national courts or extradite them to Rwanda for trial.”
For a country like Rwanda that experienced a genocide and is still dealing with its aftereffects — impunity of the genocide perpetrators can only mean ‘continued denial’ — of the genocide. Until the world comes together to confront genocidaires and their ideology, as simply put by President Kagame “our world is not truly safe. Not for us. Not for anyone.”
The Responsibility to Protect principle, certainly, should be extended to include protecting survivors as genocide doesn’t end when killings stop. Therefore, identifying and prosecuting genocide perpetrators gives to victims of genocide and mass atrocities a voice, a hope and a chance to heal — justice is the best way to ensure future free genocide.
In his New Times column Lonzen Rugira writes, “A genocide survivor, for instance, will be interested in understanding why a morally repugnant crime like genocide does not evoke the kinds of sentiments and attendant moral outrage that often follows acts of terrorism.”
He is reminding us that as we uphold our moral and legal responsibility to protect populations against the genocide, every person of conscience should share in the grief of those affected directly.“It speaks to a shared humanity.”
It is through genocide victims voices and stories at our disposal that we can understand how ‘outrageous’ a genocide is and also, allow us to remember, learn, prevent and provide justice to them.
Listen and share survivors testimonies
Read President Kagame Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference
Read Lonzen Rugira Column: When does a genocide survivor lose it all?