Arusha, 8 April, 2009 (FH)- The Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR),  Justice Hassan Jallow, has stated that it was indisputable legal fact that genocide took place in Rwanda in 1994 and dismissed negationists who try to describe the tragic event otherwise.

1 min 50Approximate reading time

Quoting an UN Appeals Court decision of 16 June, 2006, Justice Jallow said that there was no reasonable basis for anyone to dispute that during 1994 there was a campaign of mass killings intending to destroy in whole or at least in very large part Rwanda's Tutsi population.

He was addressing at the commemoration of the 15th genocide anniversary in Arusha, Tanzania, organized by Rwandan community, on Tuesday night at Naura Springs Hotel.  Arusha is the seat of UN Court trying key suspects of the heinous killings.

"That campaign was to terrible degree successful, although the exact numbers may never be known , the great majority of  Tutsis were murdered and many others were raped or otherwise harmed," he further quoted the Appeals ruling, adding that Rwanda genocide was a part of world history, ascertained as any other, as a classic instance of fact of common knowledge.

This decision, he explained, legally met occurrence of genocide beyond dispute. "It has provided the legal answer to those who negate the genocide or seek to describe it otherwise," he underscored.

The Prosecutor noted that at the political level with United Nations and other organizations, the occurrence of genocide was already accepted and beyond any doubt.

"Nonetheless, we have to continuously retain memory and remembrance of the tragic event in order not to give negationists any room and enable us to reflect constantly on ways to prevent recurrence of genocide," he emphasized.

The Arusha Regional Commissioner, Isidore Shirima, who also attended the occasion, said that genocide would not have taken place in Rwanda had the international community acted timely.

"The effects of genocide committed were felt and are still being felt in the region to date," he said.

The Special Representative of Rwandan Government to ICTR, Alloys Mutabingwa, said that the whole world regrets its indifference and the shame caused by its inaction.

"The entire community of nations is recounting the horrors that resulted from such a level of indifference," he told the gathering, which also included members of diplomatic corps and top level ICTR officials, among others.

During the solemn occasion, the Vice Chairperson of Rwandans in Diaspora, Ms Leonie Rutanga, launched a "One- Dollar" campaign to raise funds for orphans of genocide.

She said the money collected would go towards construction of a hostel and training centre for about 500 orphans in Rwanda.

The campaign will last 100 days, just the same duration of the 1994 killings, which according to UN estimates, claimed lives of about 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The commemoration was punctuated with prayers, choir singing and candle-lighting.


© Hirondelle News Agency