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Justice and Truth: The Call to Action from Human Rights Observers

Justice and Truth: The Call to Action from Human Rights Observers

In the wake of tragedies that have marked modern history, the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in 1994 remains a gaping wound in the global collective conscience. As the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and its residual Mechanism continue to navigate the turbulent waters of post-conflict justice, voices are rising to question the full realisation of their mission.

Despite the considerable efforts deployed by the ICTR to establish the truth and bring to justice those responsible for the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in 1994, serious gaps remain.

Human rights observers, alongside many Rwandans, highlight that the Tribunal has not fully met expectations of justice and reconciliation. The Chief Prosecutors of the ICTR have also sounded the alarm, denouncing political obstacles and systematic hindrances to their work emanating from the Rwandan government. These damning testimonies raise fundamental questions about the ICTR’s ability to fulfil its mandate under conditions of total independence and impartiality.

In addition to these testimonies, criticisms have emerged from defence lawyers regarding the situation of the acquitted and those who have already served their sentences. They are unable to return home due to the uncertain assurances that the Rwandan regime can provide, nor can they reunite with their families who are already established in third countries facing diplomatic pressure from the Rwandan not to welcome them.

Even more troubling, recent diplomatic correspondences from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union shed light on persistent difficulties in fully recognizing the scope of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis. Ignoring the complex dimension of this historical tragedy only prolongs the suffering of the victims and hampers the quest for truth and reconciliation.

In this context, it is imperative for ICTR Judges to rigorously reassess the flaws and injustices that have marred their work. The time has come to take concrete steps to rectify past mistakes and ensure fair justice for all parties involved.

The Rwandan people deserve to see the light of justice shine on the shadows of their painful past. It is incumbent upon guardians of human rights and dignity not to remain silent in the face of unfinished justice perpetuating a culture of impunity.

Let this collective voice resonate loudly: the quest for genuine truth and reconciliation in Rwanda cannot be ignored or indefinitely postponed. It is time for the United Nations Security Council to answer the call of history by meeting the expectations for justice and reconciliation.

Alain Inema

Coordinator of Jambonews, Information and Communication Technologies

References :

World Report 2003 – Rwanda – Human Rights Watch: Defending Human Rights https://www.hrw.org/legacy/french/reports/wr2k3/rwanda.htm

The Political Instrumentalization of International Justice in Central Africa                     https://www.cairn.info/revue-tiers-monde-2011-1-page-65.htm

Carla Del Ponte sidelined against her will                                               https://www.lalibre.be/international/2003/07/30/carla-del-ponte-ecartee-contre-son-gre-HJU3SXNQTNH4HKAA3ELPYW3OII/

International Justice – Kigali’s campaign at the UN paid off, Annan removes Del Ponte from the Rwanda dossier                                                                                                                              https://www.lesoir.be/art/%252Fjustice-internationale-la-campagne-de-kigali-a-l-onu-a-_t-20030731-Z0NDLV.html

Showdown between Swiss magistrate Carla Del Ponte and Rwanda


Carla Del Ponte, towards the end of a Rwandan story                                              https://www.letemps.ch/monde/carla-del-ponte-vers-fin-dune-histoire-rwandaise



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