By Florence Mugarula, The Citizen Reporter–Sunday, 10 April 2011
Dar es Salaam. As Rwanda marks 17 years after the genocide, the Rwandan Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Fatuma Ndagiza, said yesterday that what happened in her country should be taken as a lesson by whole world. Speaking during the commemoration day, Ms Ndagiza said Rwanda was now a new country that upholds human rights, equality and democracy. She said the 1994 genocide should be taken as a lesson and that other countries should understand the price which was paid as a result of embracing ethnic conflicts and promoting discrimination.
“I urge my fellow Africans and the world at large to understand the price of genocide… Rwanda has suffered a lot but from the ashes we are still alive and we are setting a good example for others to follow,” said the envoy. According to Ms Ndagiza, the Rwandan government realized where it went wrong, and now its people were committed to working together as a patriotic and united country.
She said the government also had realized the importance of working closely with the international community and including the East African Community, as well as supporting military operations in different countries, including Sudan.Earlier, presenting a paper on the causes of the genocide, Professor Gaudens Mpangala of the University of Dar es Salaam said ethnicity in Rwanda was created by a colonial system.
However, Professor Mpangala suggested that for Rwanda to maintain its peace and bring development to its people there was a need for new policies and strategies to dismiss ethnicity and promote human rights and dignity as well as people-centered democracy. The spokesperson of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UN-ICTR), Mr Roland Amoussouga, said April 7 must forever be remembered in mankind’s history with regret and remorse for the mass killings of about one million people in only 100days.
He said ICTR’s experience of Rwanda genocide should spur all people to a more broad-based response to such crises.“We must supplement it with preventive and restorative justice, our first duty being to strive to prevent the occurrence of such tragedies,” said Mr Amoussouga.
According to recent information obtained from the ICTR communication unit, the court had a total of 92 accused people in the 1994 genocide, 82 have already been arrested, 10 are fugitives and 21 are detainees on trial.Also, one is awaiting trial, 10 are on pending appeals, eight have been acquitted, nine have been released and two died before the judgment. The total number of detainees in Arusha is 34.