Genocide survivors ask for relatives’ remains

Friday May 10 2019


Survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are calling for more efforts to pressure perpetrators who are still reluctant to give information on whereabouts of remains of their relatives.PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA 

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Survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are calling for more pressure to be put on perpetrators who are reluctant to provide information about where the remains of their relatives are buried.

There is also concern that some perpetrators still roam free even when mass graves are found on their properties.

The survivors say they want perpetrators who are found to have properties or houses where mass graves are discovered to be held accountable as some are evading justice.

For instance, Nargisse Mukamugisha was rescued from a pit at two years old, after her parents and other relatives were murdered and thrown into the pit.

She spent three days in the pit and was only rescued when her aunt came to check if anyone had survived. Mukamugisha’s aunt, Florence Murebwayire told Rwanda Today they want the government to follow up on those that were found to have withheld information about burial sites.

“We only want justice so that when the remains of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are found in any perpetrator’s land, they are held accountable,” said Ms Murebwayire.


Other survivors that Rwanda today talked to expressed the same sentiments including Emanuel Nduwayezu the president of Ibuka at Rusororo sector.

According to Jean Damascene Bizimana the executive director of National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNRG), some perpetrators have provided detailed confessions as a sign of their remorse while other remain the same.

“Currently there are still loopholes in the law that do not hold to account perpetrators who refuse to give information.

They cannot be imprisoned because of refusing to give details about burial sites of victims,” said Mr Bizimana.

Minister of Justice Johnston Busingye recently said in a speech at the Nyanza memorial site that, “We are reviewing the law to see whether it needs to be amended so that even those withholding information can be brought to justice.

“If we can still exhume over 84 thousand Tutsi killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi from one district after 25 years it is an indication that the perpetrators have not yet realised their role in reconciliation,” he said.

However, he assured survivors that anyone whose property is found to have the remains of genocide victims buried in it will be brought to justice.

“We understand that it is disturbing to hear about the discovery of mass graves because the victims deserve a fitting burial,” said Mr Busingye.