Rwandan president decries reluctance of certain countries to arrest genocide suspects

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame (L) and first lady Jeannette Kagame light the Flame of Remembrance for the 27th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, on April 7, 2021. The central African nation on Wednesday began the annual national commemoration for over 1 million victims that lasts for three months, including a mourning week at the beginning. More than 500 Rwandans, friends of Rwanda, members of diplomatic corps gathered in Kigali's indoor sports complex, Kigali Arena, for the ceremony, which invited fewer people than previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Xinhua)

 

Rwandan President Paul Kagame (L) and first lady Jeannette Kagame light the Flame of Remembrance for the 27th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, on April 7, 2021. The central African nation on Wednesday began the annual national commemoration for over 1 million victims that lasts for three months, including a mourning week at the beginning. More than 500 Rwandans, friends of Rwanda, members of diplomatic corps gathered in Kigali’s indoor sports complex, Kigali Arena, for the ceremony, which invited fewer people than previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Xinhua)

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Wednesday decried the reluctance of countries, such as France, to bring Rwandan genocide suspects to justice, during a ceremony marking the 27th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

According to Kagame, Lies and falsehoods about Rwanda motivated by petty resentments do not define the country and will not determine the country’s fate.

“My friends, you can tell any lie about me; you are free to do so. You can pile up tons of lies; it won’t change me, absolutely not. It won’t change this country to be what you want it to be. It doesn’t matter how many lies. That I can promise you,” he said.

He further decried that some genocide suspects are granted safe haven and Rwanda’s extradition requests were refused in several countries including France, Kagame said, adding that some cases have gone on for about 15 years in European and African countries, without being prosecuted.

“We talked to the countries hosting them, but the answer was we don’t have extradition treaty with you, we don’t trust your courts, we don’t trust your laws,” said the president.

There are more than 1,100 genocide fugitives still at large in countries like France, the United States of America, the Netherlands, and Canada, according to Jean-Bosco Siboyintore, head of Rwanda’s Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit.

Kagame also  recognized countries and representatives who played a role when the United Nations had a problem with terming the events as a Genocide.

The countries, Nigeria, Czech Republic and New Zealand, he said, stood for what they believed was the truth adding that Rwanda will always be grateful to them.

“One of them is an African country that we shall always be proud to call a good friend, represented by a man I remember, called Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria. Nigeria stood out and said no. There is a problem and we must call it what it is. Professor Gambari was there, and we shall always be proud of Nigeria. Then there was the Czech Republic, there was New Zealand,” he said.

The Head of State revealed that in the third week of April, Rwanda will also release its findings on the French involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, noting that the findings were in line with the Duclert report.

“The important thing is to continue working together to document the truth. This is the truth. The decades-long effort by certain French officials to cover up their responsibilities has caused significant damage,” he said.

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